Monday, June 30, 2008

A Fabulous Weekend of Sewing

First, you know I've got to get some Insane Ramblings out of the way. It just wouldn't be a blog post of one of mine without them!

I want to quit the Post Office.

Yeah, you heard me right. It's sort of like the Friends episode where I think it's Chandler and Ross who want to quit the health club and then when that isn't successful they try to quit the bank in an effort to not have to pay for the health club membership. So yes, I wanna quit the post office. I changed our address three different ways. Jen Maiden Name, Jen Married Name, Mike Last name. I specifically didn't change the "FAMILY" because I'm so tired of getting junk mail for my Mom, Dad, Mike's Dad, etc. to our address. Sure, I got married seven years ago but last year our mail woman decided to not deliver anything with my Married Name, everything I got was crossed off with my maiden name written on it, and things got returned to sender. So here I was, trying to cover all bases. Sigh. Now again I'm getting mail only under my maiden name and Mike isn't getting any mail at all. Mind you, I've now gone through the change of address process three different times online. And, do you know they charge you $1 per pop? It's not about the $1, it's about the fact that although you're paying to prove you are who you say you are; they're not keeping records of this for you to check on your status a few weeks later.

Now, this move...I've switched counties. Milwaukee to Waukesha. Guess who got a summons on Saturday to appear for Jury Duty in July in MILWAUKEE COUNTY. You can go online and fill out your Juror Questionaire and you can read all the FAQ's about being a juror but no where does it cover the question of; what if I no longer live in the county. I've tried calling a few different phone numbers that have been listed but am getting no where. My luck, I'll end up having to appear on 7/28 only to be sent away and then losing a day of work and pay because of it. Can I also note that this is my third time being called in 10 years? I realize you can get called every 2-4 years but seriously....3 times? Mike hasn't been called YET. My mom hasn't been called in this amount of time either. In fact, I only know a scant amount of people who have even been called in that amount of time; muchless THREE times.

Then Mike tells me about an annoying person that we both know who turns out lives a few doors down from us. I'm immediately horrified. I emailed with a few of my cousins and although they're horrified right along with me, they're all laughing their a$$es off and thanking god that it's me and not them. Sigh. Cousins....gotta love 'em!! It's a nightmare...really it is.

Ok, moving onto the weekend. Mom and I did some shopping trying to find an additional bookcase for Quilt Studio East. We had a difficult time finding one to match the ones we already had.

Saturday I went to work and when I got home to start sewing I just couldn't get going. I was supposed to make an apron for Chelsy's graduation gift but the directions are screwy. I've emailed the pattern company to ask for clarification. I feel really silly doing so but I just can't wrap my head around how the pattern pieces are supposed to be laid out for cutting; I have a page that has the same info on each side. Then I played with my shower curtain for a bit and ended up not sewing that together. Finally I settled on a project. I decided that Holly needed a bandana to wear to help cheer me on for the Quilting competition I'm starting with Moneik and Jill.


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Next I started cutting for my Fresh Squeezed Wallhanging that will go in the kitchen.


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Mom started cutting a Yellow Brick road quilt that one minute was going to be a Lap quilt and the next thing I knew she decided she was going to make a shower curtain too. It was around midnight when she went home and she came back Sunday afternoon and we sewed until around 11.

Mike and I hung the first two things in our new digs. A calendar and clock in my studio so I can record my competition hours.


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Tonight I came home from work and got right to quilting. I finished assembling my Fresh Squeezed Wallhanging.


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Then I decided to do the side seams for the sheers I'm making for the living room. I left the material in one big chunk. Now I can cut it apart and do the top and bottom hem's. Here's a wrinkly picture of my sheer fabric.


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It's after midnight now and I'm still typing this crazy entry. Part of me just wants to sew something for about 15 minutes so Jill and Moneik wake up in the morning to see that I already have put time in on the competition. The other part of me says, go to bed and start fresh as soon as I get home from work tomorrow!


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Oh, and I've got to say. I can't believe how much time Holly spends with me in my quilting studio. I thought for sure she'd ditch me for her daddy and she's not! Hmm, she must like that I folded up a quilt and put it on the floor for her.


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Sunday, June 29, 2008

2006 - Double Pinwheel Revisited

A few years earlier I had made a few double pinwheel quilts for gifts and then I started a blue one for our bed. By that point it became a job to make it. It was boring. I LOVED the pattern but couldn't see making up the amount of blocks that I needed. In the end, I made a lap quilt for my cousin April, a twin sized for myself, I harvested a bunch of the strips to make 2 Project Linus Quilts and there's STILL enough left over to make another twin sized quilt.

April's:


April's Double Pinwheel

April's quilt was given to her for her High School Graduation. I came up with this cute label to show that it was really truely meant to be used and abused!

Quilt Label


Mine:

Double Pinwheel Quilt




Saturday, June 28, 2008

2006 - I got a new machine

And then I really became a force to be reckoned with!!!

My first quilt on my new machine was Eleanor Burns' Underground Rail Road Quilt. I ordered my machine on a Saturday and I went directly to Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick out "ugly" fabrics that looked like Civil War prints. I really had no idea at that point that Reproduction fabrics existed because I wasn't into Quilt Stores yet. I cut all my fabrics and put the pieces for each block into separate baggies so that once my new machine arrived I could sew up a storm.


Underground Railroad Quilt


Of all the quilts I have ever made; this is the one that I am the most proud of.


Friday, June 27, 2008

2006 - Pedal Play

This was such a fun quilt to make and talk about a challenge!! Well, it was a challenge because I made it one...by screwing up repeatedly and needing to find a new way of doing things.

It was the first time that I used fusible bias tape. That was the easy part. Once that was ironed down I needed to applique the edges of the bias tape. I used a narrow but loose zig zag. I took an applique class around the same time so it took me a while to learn where to make my turns and if the needle should be in the tape or in the fabric. I also decided to make the quilt an extra row and since it was a kit, I didn't have enough of the bicycle fabric. I ended up having to go online and find a yard of it on ebay. I also used my scraps to make a verigated binding. By the time I was done, I had learned a LOT.

Pedal Play



Thursday, June 26, 2008

To Prewash or Not to Prewash...that is the question

Now, this is my opinion and this isn't all encompassing it's just regarding 'convenience cuts' of fabric.

In my opinion, Convenience Cuts are not meant to be pre-washed.

What do I mean by convenience cuts? I'm going to go ahead and call the following convenience cuts: Fat Quarters that are purchased specifically for a pattern that calls out fat quarters, Jelly Rolls (2-1/2" strips), Charm Packs (5" squares), Layer Cakes (10" squares).

When you buy a 'convenience cut' it's to save yourself time or effort in the quilting process. You don't have to choose your colors, you don't have to have all kinds of small yardages cut off of 20+ bolts. You can buy a pattern for one of these convenience cuts, go home cut your fabric up and start sewing. Yet, I'm reading on some message boards that people are trying to find the perfect way to pre-wash these cuts, if anyone has found a way to pre-wash them without creating a mess. And, Oh No! Now it shrunk and I don't have enough fabric to cut for this pattern!!

Now, I'll admit, I don't normally pre-wash. There are some things I'd consider washing but washing convenience cuts? Not at all. If you're a die hard pre-washer then convenience cuts are just not going to be for you and stop stressing out about them. Save your sanity. The vendors are not 'out to get you.' If your pattern is for 2-1/2" strips and you wash and dry your pre-cut strips and they're now shorter and narrower you may need to re-figure your math to make the pattern work. As quilters working with cotton, we know that it's going to shrink. If you pre-wash and dry your fat quarters for say a Turning Twenty quilt and they've shrunk, check ahead of time that they're still a viable size. If not, you may need to add some more pieces of fabric to make up for it. If I'm not mistaken, the pattern even tells you not to pre-wash for this very reason and offers ideas for if your pieces are no longer the correct size.

Pre-cut convenience packs are not for everyone. Just like Pre-Washing or hand sewing is not for everyone. Use what you like to use and do it in the method you like to do it in. If the convenience cuts make you unhappy, move on to something that does make you happy.

Well, I believe it's time

That I get my butt back in gear and start posting regular blog posts again. So much has happened and I didn't know where to start so that took me longer to say enough is enough and get going.

Tuesday the 17th, Mike, my cousin April and I went to the Brewer game. It wasn't a very exciting game so I spent time pointing out all the hideously ugly guys I saw and saying, "Hey Ape, how about that one?" Other things like, "See the guy over there with the big beer belly and no t-shirt? NOW there's a hottie for you." And then I'd giggle. Her, not so much. Eye rolls...can you believe it?? In defense here, had I seen a hot guy in her age group I would have pointed him out...there just happened to be NONE!

Then last Friday Mike got some really awesome Brewer tickets from a vendor. By awesome I mean we were sitting directly behind the on deck circle. Like 10 feet from the ON DECK CIRCLE!! FIVE SEATS down from the owner of the team and his special flat screen monitor. SEVEN SEATS down from the DUG OUT. FIRST ROW BABY!! Close enough that you could see the muscles and VEINS in Gabe Kapler's forearms. Holy Carp!! That man is ripped! I never knew that! We took a good number of digital shots that I still haven't gotten uploaded to the computer. I also thought this would be a good chance to pull out my 35mm SLR camera. Yeah...I snapped through 4 rolls; one of 100ASA, one of 200ASA, one of 800ASA and then a 400ASA Black and White.. It's funny...I've been using a digital point and shoot for only about a year and I pick up my 35mm SLR, I take a shot and I immediately look at the back, like I'm going to get to see a preview or something. DUH. I made the horrible mistake of shooting almost one full roll before I realized that the date stamp was being burned in to each dang picture. I've NEVER made that mistake before. The date stamp is one of those things that irks the living heck out of me. I know why it's there...but to me it just ruins a picture. I was shooting manually cause that's my 'thing' and it had been so long since I used my camera that I couldn't at first figure out how to change the aperture, only the time. I bet I made it through the first roll before I remembered the tiny little button I had to push. I'm sure we were on camera quite a bit...of course you'd only be seeing Mike's face and a giant zoom lens in front of my own! I haven't gotten my pictures developed yet. I'm dying to. But, as long as they are in the can I can imagine them looking fabulous. Once I see them printed that's a whole different ball game. When you're shooting like that you can really only expect to get one good shot out of every roll. So I don't develop because I'm fearful of what they're going to turn out looking like. I still have film in the fridge from a friends wedding years back. It was the first time I tried pushing the speed. I used 800ASA and pushed it to 1600ASA. I'm so very afraid to see how that worked that it's still in the fridge.

Taking my 35mm SLR to the game really reminded me how much I LOVE shooting. Of course it would be more economical in this day and age to get a digital SLR. I was toying with selling my SLR on eBay and buying a digital with the proceeds but man...I just don't want to part with it so I guess things will just stay the way they are for now! I do think that I'm going to list some of the filters that I bought and never got around to using in all these years...it's time.

Saturday was one of those days where nothing I touched went right. But things were looking up later in the day and I did go to Chelsy's graduation party with Jen and Julie and I got to hang out with my cousin April while I was there.

Mike and I went to another Brewer Game. When we got home we spent a few hours unpacking the kitchen. Then we decided we'd order a pizza for delivery. We always go pick our stuff up, why we thought delivery would be a good idea I don't know. He called it in at 7:12 and was told 40 minutes. They took our address even. By 8:10 we were STILL waiting. Mike gave them another 10 minutes before calling and asking where our Pizza was. Oh it was sitting on the shelf waiting for us to come pick it up. WHAT? So Mike said, make me a fresh one and I'll come for it. You wouldn't have asked for my address had it not really been for delivery. In the end, we had Qdoba!

The fabulous news of the weekend is that we finally removed all the blankets and curtains from the stairs and Holly is now able to run up and down and not freak out with the best of them! Yeah!!!

Monday, we unpacked another box or two.

Tuesday on a whim I decided to stop at Hancock's to see what they had in the lines of fabric for my living room curtains. I just wanted something for a bit of privacy, nothing too formal and it's a giant window. Now, our Hancock's...well you never go in there unless you're willing to lose an hour of your life even if you're just trying to get in and out with a 'quick' spool of thread. That place has been a pit for the last 10 years. I walked in and my jaw dropped. My immediate thought was that aliens had invaded. The entire store has not only been re-arranged, it appears to have been completely gutted, re-done and is totally organized and dare I say; beautiful? It's actually a store I'd be more willing to shop in now. At this moment in time, it's even more organized and pretty than Jo-Ann's. Keep in mind, I'm comparing big box stores here, not quilt shops. They had a 1/2 off sale on a lot of their decor fabrics so I bought off white sheer type fabric that has a little swirl and flower. I bought enough to make four panels. A whopping $6 a yard. If this goes well, I'd like to buy something similar for the bedroom. Again, just for privacy. The sewing studios I will probably just do valances.

After dinner I worked on Studio East with my Mom and I spent some time in the basement looking for boxes that might have quilting stuff in them. Funny...I ran across my iron bag in a box that had other odd things in it. I opened the bag expecting to find my iron in the bag where I had last put it. And funny...it had been packed in a Rubbermaid tub and was now in a cardboard box. Imagine my surprise when I opened my iron bag to find the Mary Ellen's best press but no iron. No, the bag was filled with miscellaneous JUNK and a can of static guard without a cap. I didn't even know we owned Static Guard. The minute I opened the bag, I got sprayed in the face and mouth. Still no idea where my iron is. Mike was a little too quick to say he'd buy me a new one so I suspect foul play. I may call foul myself and take a golf club hostage. Now...if only I could figure out which club is used most often. The putter would be too obvious of a choice. It's really not even about the newness of the iron or the cost of a replacement that irks me. It's the idea that it was a gift from my Mom for my 30th Birthday (Hey, it's an iron for quilting...it's not an appliance!) and it's vanished off the face of the earth...out of it's protective bag that I made for it. Something just smells fishy. Sniff Sniff...

I've done a scant bit of sewing. I sewed a button on a pair of capri's. I've been working on a coiled rug for the 1/2 bath. I'm only about 75 feet into it and I ran out of THE PERFECT THREAD COLOR. I just got a cone of it on order so maybe I can continue that project next week. While I was at it, I also picked up a fall colored cone of thread so I can continue with my 'coiled bushel basket' as my mom has named it.

Last night Jen (no, I'm not talking about myself in the third person...but she IS my Wisconsin Evil Quilting Twin where Jill is my Ohio Evil Quilting Twin) and I went out to a new resturant for dessert. Well, first we had salads because it made us feel better about dessert! I had a chopped salad with blue cheese and blue cheese dressing. OMG it was so good and that's saying a lot because I'm NOT at all a salad person. Then I had a some lemon bar brulee thingie...omg...yummy and zingie. Zingie...is that even a word? Today it is...I nominate it. Anyway it was fabulous. This place is called Claim Jumper. They have this Eclaire that I think 6 people would have to split...it's huge. It's gotta go about 7 inches high, 12 inches long and about 6-7 inches wide....for $8.95. Now if you look at how many people it would take to consume said dessert, that's a great price! I think we pay $2-$3 here in the bakeries for a decent eclaire and those are just standard sized ones.

Well, you've made it this far into my post, how about a little further? I now have 2 quilt studio's. One holds the Gracie frame, the other is where I'll do my regular sewing, have a tv, ironing board (speaking of ironing board...I haven't seen that anywhere either), cutting table, extra table for sewing friends, etc. My rooms need names. Got any suggestions? I've been tossing around things such as: Cre8tive Studio West, Cre8tive Studio East, Cre8tive Quilting East & West, etc. So throw your ideas out there and then I'll put it up for a vote.

2006 - a Patriotic Quilt for Myself...not

Just as I finished it my Grandma was in the hospital for some reason so I took her a quilt to use. She glamed onto it. I mean she did turn me onto quilting so who was I to say, "Can I have that back?" I can always make myself another some day!!


Red, White & Blue quilt

I didn't even get a picture when it was completed. It was that new! I quilted big 5 pointed stars in the cream areas.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2006 - And yet MORE baby quilts

Only, I stopped taking pictures! I only have a picture of this green and yellow one. I made an additional two quilts that were yellow and lavendar leftover from the log cabin extravaganza. These are ragged edged 'Devil's Puzzle' quilts. This particular one is for Aiden.


Aidan's Baby Quilt




Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2006 - Way too many Babies

In January of 2006 I realized that we had 7 friends/family members that were expecting. Not knowing girl or boy for some of them, I just decided to make 4 girl and 4 boy quilts. I did all log cabin, all same colors just put them in different settings.

How I did it, I don't know, but I missed taking pictures of 2 of the boy quilts. One is still in my possession waiting for a home. All I know is that I made enough log cabin squares to make 2 Queen Sized Quilts.


Baby Quilt





Baby Quilt





Baby Quilt




Holly's Quilt





Baby Quilt





Baby Quilt

And then I realized, with all the Log Cabin Quilts I've made, I've never made one for myself so I made this monstrosity. I named it Rainbow Bright.


Rainbow Brite Log Cabin

Like I said...I don't know why!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

2005 - A Family of Quilts

In the beginning of January 2005, Maddie was born. I wanted her quilt to be bright and cheerful.




Maddie's Baby Quilt

Once it was made, I was freaked out about how bright it was and how well it would be received. This was for our friends Mike & Elizabeth's little girl.

Not three weeks after her birth, big sister Kaycey was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Cancer. Being at a loss for what I could do, how I could help, I made a comfort quilt for Kaycey.

Again, Sort of afraid of the brights once they were together but it was LOVED. I orignally had orange in this quilt as well...and I just could not do it. I yanked all the blocks with orange in them.



Kaycey's Quilt

Not to be left out, big brother Cal needed a quilt. He picked the colors of his.


Cal's Irish Chain





Sunday, June 22, 2008

2003 - A Wedding Quilt gone amuck

I'm not naming names here. Let's just say this was a wedding gift for another neighbor and leave it at that. Let's just say that I haven't spoken to this neighbor since her son was born and I sort of think it's because I didn't come with a baby quilt in hand.

A bit persnickty of sorts. A tad non-quilt worthy. So in my world, kind of funny that I'm first realizing NOW that one of the blocks is in their backwards. Subliminal teaching of humility perhaps?

We'll leave it at that.


Jackie & Tony's Log Cabin - Wedding Gift



NO, you didn't blink and miss something. The next installment of "This Old Quilt"will be coming to you from 2005. As I said earlier...the pictures from a few years are MIA.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

2003 - Abby's Adoption

Mike's Brother and sister in law adopted a baby girl in 2003 from China. Being the over excited expectant aunt, I made TWO quilts.

The first one matches my little cousin Alli's.


Abby's Baby Quilt



The second is a trip around the world....


Abby's Trip Around the World Baby Quilt


Noooooooooo, really it is...can you tell there's a story here? Abby's nursery was done in red and white and black (Panda Bears) since red is a strong color to the Chinese. There's also a Chinese Proverb that says:

Chinese wisdom tells us that certain peopleare destined to come together in this
lifetime. When people are so destined, nothing - - not geography, not age, not
circumstance - - will change that destiny. These people are thought to be
connected by A Red Thread.


So first of all, it's pieced with red thread. Second of all...I really didn't intend for it to look like a flipping four patch so you can imagine my look of horror when it finally dawned on me. I even sewed the strip sets together as you would for a trip around the world....lots of intense thinking...T-O-H-A-V-E-I-T-L-O-O-K-L-I-K-E-A-F-L-I-P-P-I-N-N-I-N-E-P-A-T-C-H. Can you tell how thrilled I was? The "Trip around the World" pattern was to represent her actual trip here, to her family. Nine Patch, Nine Patch, NINE PATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I quilted it through the white squares so it would give it the AROUND appeal. Yeah no, looks like a NINE PATCH.

Sigh.

Friday, June 20, 2008

2002 - In Memory

I finished hand sewing the binding of this on the morning of 9/11/2002. It really needs no additional words...


September 11th 2001 Wallhanging



Thursday, June 19, 2008

2002 - What one neighbor sees...the other falls in love with

So I made another Double Pinwheel quilt for my neighbor's Mike & Kate for their wedding gift.


Mike & Kate's Double Pinwheel - Wedding GIft

Around this time I started a double pinwheel for our bed. It never got finished in that manner! I love the pattern but it's got to be THE most BORING quilt on this planet to make.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2002 - Leftover Pinwheel Blocks

Become a baby quilt for a neighbor!


Beth & Al's Baby Quilt - Double Pinwheel




Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yummy Kitchen....

Sooooo, I'm dying to get unpacked and sewing up a storm so I can outfit my home in quilty things. I need to put a binding on a quilt by Saturday so I'll be digging for that fabric when I come home from the Brewer Game tonight. A few weeks back I picked up the pattern and fabric kit to make the Fresh Squeezed wallhanging. My dishes are blue and yellow so it will really perk up the joint.

I picked up these orange and lemon towels at Kohl's. Won't they just match perfectly?
Then I ran across this table cloth; also at Kohl's. It looks so fun on my table.
Then I was browsing some more and I saw this wallhanging:
I totally 'get' how it's put together so I bought some yardage and I'm going to make it to put in another area of the kitchen.


Our Kitchen is going to ROCK!!


My even better news?? I ordered the machine for my Gracie II frame!! I finally saved enough from my PT job to order it!!! I called Brad during lunch to tell him I was ready to have it ordered. It's the Babylock Quilter's Choice Pro with Grace Sure Stitch. So now my Janome 6600 can stay in Quilt Studio West and my Babylock QCP can stay in Quilt Studio East.


I've already named my machine in case you're wondering. His name is going to be Bud. My quilt frame is named after my Grandma, so it's Arlene. My Grandpa's nickname was Bud. Grandpa had an upholstery business for years and years and he had an industrial machine. I think Arlene and Bud will be a perfect match.


You know what this means don't you? Watch out, I'm ready to be super productive come July when I take on Moneik and Jill in our Out Cut, Out Sew, Out Quilt - Survivor Challenge. We're ready to go with the tickers for tracking our hours on our blogs. We're each going to put up a prize and winner takes all. I'm not sure what my prize is going to be yet; I'll have to come up with something good. All three of us are really looking forward to this challenge; each is determined to win.