August Quilt

So… it’s still August, right? I mean, I made it with… 4 days to spare. Yeesh. Good thing I like this quilt enough to leave it up through September!

I got the idea when I found this fabric on eBay from a seller that I was purchasing some Dora fabric from to make Bloomer a dress. Since it wasn’t any extra shipping, I bought it. That’s how all the best fabric stashes start, I’m sure – the popular saying amongst quilters is that “She who dies with the most fabric wins”. So far my MIL is beating me, but I keep depleting her stash for my projects (to keep her grandchildren clothed!). She’s also fond of saying how happy I’ll be when she dies because I’ll get all her fabric. That seems morbid, so of course I have to protest. Plus, she’s a decent cook (of ham, anyway – Thanksgiving turkey can be a bit dicey).

HA!

I kept the fabric for several months before I wandered into my local quilt shop and saw a quilt on display as part of their Customer Trunk Show. A woman had purchased a kit that included similar fabric, only in blue instead of red, and it was GORGEOUS. Of course I didn’t need a kit since I already had this piece of fabric, but I did need coordinating fabric, which I conveniently found on clearance online. Of course, to get free shipping, I had to purchase a little bit more fabric to bring my total order up to $35. Into the stash!

Since it’s red, it made perfect sense to make it up for my August quilt since it’s Grama Eddie’s favorite color and this month she turned 100. Yes, Brief’s birthday is also this month, but he’s got airplane curtains in the office and I don’t really want Airplaneapalooza in my living room. Neither do I want cheesy pumpkins for October’s quilt.

Anyway, here is the finished product:

The motto for this quilt is “Measure twice, cut once”. You’ll notice it hangs a bit below the back of the couch, so I have to rig up some stops to put behind the couch to prevent it from being pushed back and pinching the quilt. But I’m pleased with it. Just wish I didn’t have to take it down next Tuesday to show my quilt group – I’ll hang it back up on Wednesday, though.

Lemonade, Redux

Last week I got to give my good friend Sean and his wife a quilt for their new baby (these are the quilts I gave their old dusty twin sons, born a couple months after Bloomer). I also gave them a onesie that said “New!” on it, because I thought it was funny, and also they live on the equator now and it’s never not humid and sticky, so it didn’t matter what month it fits the baby. Anyway, now that they are safely on the other side of the planet again and I believe that he’s finally shown it to his wife, here is the quilt!

Lemonade Redux

To refresh: Sean is of Irish descent, so the center piece is a Celtic knot and the rest of the pattern is an Double Irish Chain. I believe their 3rd son will be named Gigantor, as he must grow into this quilt that turned out WAY bigger than I anticipated. Seriously, it takes up almost my whole couch. On the plus side, Sean tells me that his 3 year olds use the quilts I made them to built forts, so at least Son #3 won’t have an inferiority complex about his fort as it will be the size of Ranikot (thank you, Wikipedia, for the answer to “world’s largest fort”!)

Here’s a close up of the center:

Celtic Knot Detail

I got the pattern for the knot here, and blew it up to fit a center block of about 20″. It was fusible appliqued, and the quilting was done around each piece of the knot. It looks really neat from the back, which I conveniently forgot to take a picture of before I gave it to him. Whoops.

To keep it a little fun and not completely sappy, see if you can figure out the mildly creepy black fabric:

Irish Chain Detail

Monster eyes! Sure to give the poor child nightmares for YEARS. The quilting in the rest of the body of the quilt is just a simple meandering pattern in gray. The back of the quilt is a gray fabric with a small dot and line pattern, called “Zen Sticks”, I think. So at least if the boy freaks out about eyes on the walls and voices talking to him, they can flip the quilt over to the “zen” side.

My New Quilt Hanging Contraption

Quilt Hanger

Basically, I found an 8 foot unfinished drapery rod, painted it the color of the wall (which I just painted this blue color- it’s not quite so vivid as it shows up here), and hung it up. I used some suspender clips that were marketed for pacifier clips so it wouldn’t damage the quilts, and made some 1″ wide fabric loops to hang it from the rod.

I knew that my Christmas quilt would be 80″ x 65″, and I plan on that being the biggest one I’d hang up here. This particular quilt I saw in a quilting magazine with the fabric sold as a kit, and I fell in love with it. Here’s a close-up of the center panel.

Patriotic Quilt Close-up

I did a meandering stitch for the center flag and the outer border. I did some diagonal running stitches on the squares surrounding the center flag, and did some stars along the eagle cornerstones. Stars and stripes! I’m so literal!

I hope to have different quilts to hang up throughout the year, and I knew this one would work for a June/July quilt. I’ve got an August-y sort of one planned already (hint: it’s RED), and have some ideas for a fall-ish quilt, too. Of course, I have to fit in finishing Bloomer’s bed quilt and the king-sized quilt for my parents by Thanksgiving, but since these would be smaller wall-hangings it should work okay.

Of course, I have some clothing projects to do for Bloomer and myself to fit in there, too, but at least all these things will keep me busy! I’ve always told myself I work better under pressure, and I suppose now I get to prove it again.

Daisy Cheese Chair

This week, I finally finished the reupholstery project I start a couple months ago. When Boxer moved into his Big Boy Bed, he got a re-furbed chair that we’ve since named the Denim Marshmallow, but since Bloomer’s Big Girl Bed is a full-size, it’s big enough to pile in and read books in. Thus, her new chair didn’t need to be as big. I picked up this on at the yard sale for Good Mews last year for $10. Of course I forgot to take the Before picture of it, so this is the best I could do:

Old Fabric

Note: it didn’t come with the writing on it. That’s what you do in the re-upholstery process. But the fabric was… odd. Cute, I’m sure, but certainly not within the decor of her room. And it was shredded in some places, which is merely the hazard of getting furniture from a yard sale with items donated by people with cats.

And here is Bloomer, enjoying her new chair (with Blanco Bear). This is one of MANY shots she had me take because she likes saying “CHEESE!”. I also have several of just Blanco in the chair.

New Chair

The skirt’s a bit poofier than I would like, but I think it will settle down once I steam it some. I like this size chair because it could work at a desk or a vanity for her, or it can just be a reading chair if that’s what she wants. I originally had planned to recover a love seat with this fabric, but I just didn’t want to tackle that project after thinking it over (and I hate working on the fussy shell-pattern back it had – ugh). That means, though, that I have quite a bit of fabric left over. Not a bad thing, since I inherited an old wood chest from my mom that currently has some plaid fabric on it that I can replace with this daisy print for her room (and add some safety hinges).

Now if we could only get her to sleep in her new room… (but I’m not complaining too much, such in the crib she’s contained at night!)

At Least I Got This Up Before She Turned Four

So, yeah. Bloomer had a birthday. Last month. And then I couldn’t find my camera cord. But then I did!

Royalty

These are the crowns I made for party favors. They have velcro in the back, since I figure not every child has a melon the size of my kids. Bloomer kept the pink one, of course.
Instead of the grand plan for tarps on the living room carpet for the kids to eat on, I ended up just doing up the table we normally eat at since the number of attendees was so small.

Party Face
Here she is partaking of some pre-party Princess Graham Snacks, about 8 of them all shoved in her delicate piehole. Notice the pink cake under glass. The plates and napkins are strategically placed over some spots on the tablecloth I didn’t have time to wash before the party started. We also had watermelon, as it was pink. Perhaps I should have had some ham out, too, but that seemed sort of weird.
Once the action got rolling with the cake and whatnot, of course I forgot to take pictures, although we do have some of her opening presents. She got her first Barbie, which came with a mommy dog and 3 puppies. Barbie has been sitting on the fireplace for a month now, and the puppies have been played with mightily and are scattered throughout the house. She also got the Memory game, with the 10,000 cards that you turn over in a grid and try to match them based on memory. Right now, it’s more of an exercise in matching them when they all face up in a pile on the floor, but she’s enjoyed it.
Up next, the long-awaited Pre-K Sweetheart’s Dance write-up!

Shelves of Doom: FINALLY

I’m sure everyone remembers waaay back in March when I blogged about how Brief had nearly chopped off a finger (or two) using the Table Saw of the Damned to make some adjustments to the shelves I had started while he was out of town earlier in the year. His fingers are fine now, aside from having not very much feeling in the middle one where it got mangled.

And then the summer dragged on and neither one of us was going to get near the TSotD, and then he finally got some thick gloves and finished up the last little bit. Then we had to jimmy the shelves in place and paint them and whatnot, and so now, here it is 9 months later and they are done! Hooray!

Shelves of Doom 1

Sorry about the weird flash effect here – the lower walls are actually a brick red and not pink. The shelves fit under the part of the kitchen counter that juts out into the breakfast area (you can see part of the chair on the very left of the picture above). There’s a couple pieces of masking tape to come off of the end there, but that’s going to require a razor to extract.

Shelves of Doom 2

I used a Deka curtain wire from Ikea for the curtains to hide the less glamorous looking sewing accessories like my serger, magazines, and other baskets and tidbits. Right now the kids are enjoying having their games in a new place, although they used to be on shelves right next to where these are now, but New and Exciting is always better apparently. The metal containers on the top shelf house Play-Doh and paint supplies so at least we can hear if they try to get them out and make a mess.

It’s good to have them done. They’re not perfect, but then, nothing is. I look forward to getting an extra cabinet from my parents over Christmas to put the rest of my sewing stuff up in so it’s not out all over the place anymore.

Why Yes, I Am Insane.

Ha! Just… HA! I’ve been up since 4am, you see. And while I had planned on getting up and hitting the stores a bit early, I wasn’t planning on FOUR FRICKIN’ A.M. early I had a small boy laying bed next to me, picking at my comforter and randomly touching me to see if I were awake.
So I did what any normal person would do. I pretended to be asleep until I had him convinced I was asleep and then I scared the poop out of him by putting on the Mommy Voice Of Doom and telling him to go to sleep and leave the comforter alone.
I tell you, the jump I got out of him make it worth being tired right now.
Anywho, while I was the warehouse club getting milk and normal non-Christmas gifts, the couple in the aisle next to me was purchasing the last Millenium Falcon scale model that I’d been drooling over every time we went to that particular store. At $140, however, I was content to pat it lovingly when we walked by. And also, I know if I did get it, I would have to share it with certain little boys who would not truly appreciate The Awesomeness That Is The Millenium Falcon. Much like I almost told that couple about their 8-year-old son for whom they were buying it.
So instead, I decided to make myself a Millenium Falcon / Star Wars quilt. It will be INSANE, I’m sure. It will work out nicely since I’ve decided to do some wall-hanging quilts for the living room to change out for the seasons/months, and perhaps I’ll decree all months that end in “y” or “r” STAR WARS QUILT MONTH.

Mo Blogging

Ha ha ha. No, not more blogging from me – I’m blogging about Mo!

Meet Mo:

Mo at the Ready

In case you haven’t figured it out, Mo is an alien, from the planet Yuron (joke complements of Brief, who will use that one at the drop of a hat – say it out loud and you’ll figure out why I might need special eye drops to lubricate my eyes from all the rolling they do).

Back to Mo: Mo is a gift for our grand-nephew for Christmas.

Sadly, as you can see from this picture, Mo’s rocketship has a propensity to fly awkwardly to the left due to a bum fin. As Mo is will likely be sacrificed to the Drool Gods shortly after his arrival in the Baby Galaxy, he’s not too worried. Baby drool has healing properties for aliens!*

I used this pattern for the rocketship. The original pattern calls for a wooden egg painted to look like an astronaut, but I didn’t have an egg and didn’t want to worry about paint chips in the baby’s mouth. And, I also can’t paint for crap, despite numerous efforts. So I used this pattern for the egg, omitting the secret pocket, although I could see where a secret alien podblaster could be a fun thing to stick in a secret pocket on Mo. I had some scrap alien-green fleece for his face and some black embroidery thread; normally I like my aliens a little more smug, but irony is frequently lost on 6 month olds.

* It is widely acknowledged that baby drool has no redeeming value to humans.

Things I’m Working On

Because I always work better under pressure (ha!), I am working on a number of Christmas gifts for people (both on “commission” and for me to give). I’m doing a number of totebags for people, but didn’t think that was appropriate for everyone on my gift list. For example: I’ve never seen my dad carry any sort of bag other than his toiletries bag and a laptop bag. I’ve never even seen him carry my mom’s purse when she’s toting something else (unlike poor Brief who has schlepped everything from diaper bags to Bloomer’s dainty pink purse). So a totebag seems unwise in that instance.

Here are some of the cute things I’ve found online that I’m going to work into my gift giving this year:

  • Rocket Man– perfect, I think, for our new grand-nephew.
  • Birds – Although this shows a mobile, I think I’m going to make some colorful ones for my grama in the spirit of the weird cat heads I made her as a kid.
  • Fabric basket – I need a couple of these for myself, but I may find some other uses for some as well – dressing up a gift card or making some other little gifties for the kids’ teachers.

Most of these I’ve found through the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog, which is having a “gifts for every recipient” series in November.

Laid to Rest

So if you follow my tweets, you saw that my sewing machine gave up the ghost, which is entirely appropriate given that it’s close to Halloween, although I’m not entirely sure I’m using that phrase properly. Anywho, after weeks of it making a loud “hwoaaaaaaaah” sound when I pressed on the foot pedal, and eventually “warming up”, it finally just made that funky sound all the time and would go any faster than I could handsew things.

I was given this machine by my Grama Eddie when I graduated high school which means it is 16 1/2 years old. Pretty good run, actually. It made random costumes in college, cat beds (got some nice paintings in my house as a trade for a custom leopard print cat chaise lounge), my wedding dress, my kids’ “baby” quilts (so quotated due to lateness of Bloomer’s), Halloween costumes for the kids, and lots of quilts for other people. It’s purely mechanical, and so the mechanic in both me and Brief thought perhaps we could fix it. After lubing up every conceivable thing we could find, and then taking it apart to find more stuff, we narrowed the problem down to the bearing in the motor.

Which is made in such a way that it’s a one-time put together motor assembly, which means you can’t unpack, lube, and repack the bearings without all the springs sproinging everywhere and making a giant mess. A replacement motor is $90 (not including shipping) if we do it ourselves, and I imagine it’s at least $125 to have someone else do it (and having someone else do it means that we have to shove all the little bits back into it and take it somewhere and hope they don’t wonder how that little square nut went that is now rattling around in the vent under my sewing table came off, because in that case, I am totally blaming one of the kids). So I waffled on whether to just pay the $90 and repair it, or buy a new one, leaning way more to being cheap and just fixing my old machine.

Until I used the loaner from my MIL (she has six machines, so just happened to have a spare handy I could use to finish up costumes and quilts and such this week). And it’s not that her machine is so stellar in function, but it’s so smooth and most of all QUIET. Love the juxtaposition of how I write “quiet” in all caps, like a silent scream.

That silent scream, I imagine, came from my old machine as it saw me do a seam and sit back and think, “Wow, if I got a new machine, I probably wouldn’t have to worry about waking up the kids when I sew after they are in bed. And Brief could actually watch TV when I sew without making his eardrums bleed from the volume!” So I think I’m getting a new machine.

The thing I hate about making a purchase such as this, aside from spending the money, is that doing research sucks. Not the actual researching, mind you, because I’m pretty good at that, but trying to make an informed decision taking into account the following things can drive you batty:

  • Reviews that were obviously written by orangutans, because they read like a bad text message. Example: “OMG this mashine sux and wont make leathur pants,”
  • Reviews that were written by people obviously expecting miracles but that have no talent: “As a first time sewer, I found once I took the machine out of the box and set it up that I had trouble sewing my exact replica in miniature Marie Antoinette diorama using real animal skins and satin” (satin is pretty aggravating to sew, trust me on that)
  • The mere fact that lemons happen- appliances, cars, sewing machines. To quote the bumper sticker, It Happens, and people that are disgruntled are more likely to tell the internet than people that happily chug along sewing their hearts out.

I think I have it picked out, and am ready to go get it since the store is close buy and has a decent return policy and if I have to look at another review I might stab my eye with a sharp stick. Or some mystery piece of machinery from my old machine.