Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Great North Woods

It’s finally time. My boyfriend and I will be heading up north tomorrow after a leisurely brunch at his house. At first I was indifferent to the idea of spending four days at the cabin. After 20 some years of cabin life, occasional weekends aren’t really things to get excited about.

Now as the trip draws nearer, I’m warming to the idea…I might even be excited by the idea! Perhaps I’ve come to appreciate the cabin in ways I just couldn’t when I was younger. Or maybe I’m just overwhelmed and I need some time away. Or maybe I’m just so excited to eat Thanksgiving dinner that it’s clouding my judgment?

Regardless, I’m looking forward to our mini-break and can’t wait to hop in the car tomorrow and start our 2-3 hour journey north.

I need to pack tonight and I plan to bring lots of fun things to keep me entertained. Like Laura's gift…I can finish it this weekend if I try. And the book I bought in Venice but forgot about until just recently: Venetian Legends And Ghost Stories: A Guide To Places Of Mystery In Venice . And Mansfield Park, which I’ve been reading for a while but can’t really get into. I think the plot is just about to pick up, though. And movies…like Rushmore and…well, that’s the only one I want to watch right now so…

And check this out, the world’s most beautiful quilting fabric by Tula Pink. It won’t be out until the spring, though. How will I possibly wait that long! I want to buy most of the 34 prints, make a quilt and then hoard the rest until my dying day. In fact, I should make my coffin liner out of it. Actually, I don’t think I want to be buried so I’m not really sure how I can incorporate this fabric into my death without cremating it along with my body…and that just seems wrong. Perhaps I’ll have to reconsider the burial at sea idea. It would be fitting in so many ways. I’ll get back to you on this.

For now though, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Maybe I’ll post from the cabin but my parents only have dial-up. The horror!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's the time of the season...

Pop Garden bow

I’m ready for the holidays to be over. I’m not trying to be a Grinch…it’s just that I’m not religious, I have no reason/desire to decorate my house and I’m sick of working on holiday gifts because I picked things that I thought would be easy to make but nothing I pick is ever easy to make because I’m cursed!

If only Thanksgiving was the end of the holiday season instead of the beginning. Or better yet, what if Thanksgiving was followed by…I don’t know…picnic season? I’m already planning this year’s picnic blanket, are you? Because every year it’s the same story…you think you have plenty of time to prepare for picnic season but it sort of sneaks up on you and suddenly it’s September and you haven’t picnicked at all! Don’t let it happen again this year!

How about this blanket with large squares and pockets in the corners for rocks (to keep the wind from blowing it around)? Or this one with bright red ties? Or this one because how could you not want this one?

Sigh…I wish it really was picnic season.

Tonight I need to finish preparing projects to take to the cabin this weekend and also finish the front of the Pacman pillow. If I can do this and pack some clothes for the weekend, I’ll be in good shape. I’m going to try really hard not to pick out fabrics for my picnic quilt.

So much soap!

Wow, looking for soap on etsy is even more overwhelming than I could have imagined. Pretty much everyone I know will be getting some handmade soap for the holidays this year and since I don't have time to learn how to make it myself, I need to buy it.

Things I’m looking for: all vegetable/nut fats/oils, pretty colors (swirls preferably), 4-5 oz for around $5, simple scents, cold processed (no melt and pour), additives like oatmeal or seeds for exfoliation.

I searched for an hour yesterday and came up with several products that met the above criteria. But then shipping was pretty expensive which made the dollar per bar cost more than I’d like to spend on a soap that I haven’t smelled in real life.

Then I realized I could just buy handmade soap right here in Minnesota! What a novel concept. I found one store that sells Dragon’s Blood scented soaps and that sealed the deal.

The shop has odd hours so I’m hoping to drive out there early next week. I’m optimistic they’ll have what I want. If not, I guess it’s back to etsy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fabric bookmarks!

I love fabric. I love figuring out how I can cover everything I own in fabric. I also love reading. It was only a matter of time until I tried to make fabric bookmarks.

fabric bookmarks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So much stuff, so little space.

Oh no! I forgot my lunch and I had just enough change to buy something from the overly expensive vending machines downstairs. It was a newfangled contraption and instead of pushing the code for a nut-roll, I accidentally bought a really humongous KitKat bar. Peanuts…that would have been just the thing to fend off hunger. But wafers? I’m doomed!

To take my mind off the sadness of this event, I’ll post pictures of my soon-to-be Ginger Blossom pillows:

ginger blossom pillows

I’m in the process of rearranging my house, namely the studio and the living area. As it is right now, I don’t have a living area. I don’t even have a couch! Instead, I have two studios…one for sewing and one for storing all the stuff I don’t use often.

I really need to get into the “storage” room and put everything away. In one nook I’d love to have a sitting area, in the other, a photo studio and in the last nook, a place to put my painting table. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? A place to curl up with some crochet and a movie? A photo studio that’s always ready for quick photo shoots? A place to sit quietly and paint? Is that really too much to ask?

Actually, yes, for me it is too much to ask. I’m trying to get better about putting things away after I use them, to stay organized. It’s hard but I’m already doing so much better. Having something to look forward to sure helps. That’s where these pillows come in.

ginger blossom pillows

I recently re-acquired my old twin bed frame and plan to set it up like a daybed…covered with mounds of pillows and quilts. I expect holiday gifts will take up most of my time from now until January but after that, I’ll be all about the cozy sitting area.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pixel Pillows

After a weekend filled with action and adventure (mainly the James Bond kind…the movie kind, not the real life kind), I finally got some time to sew.

My project? Christmas gifts for my family. Will they like them? I hope so because it took all day to make this for my dad:

pacman ghost pillow

The ghost is 10.5”x10.5” and is made up of .75” strips of fabric (the camera is crooked, not the block). It will eventually be a pillow approximately 20” square. I need to make pacman and, if I have time, three more ghosts…red, pink and orange. I have the red and pink fabric but couldn’t find the right orange.

pacman ghost pillow

I think he’s pretty cute but those tiny pieces were hard to work with.

For my brother I’m making NES Super Mario pillows. I’ve already started the Goomba and have a few pieces cut out for Mario. I think I’ll also make the turtle but I can’t find the right green or orange (Mario’s face and hands are orange too so I hope I find something soon).

nes mario charts

I really hope I get faster at making these blocks. I have at least five to make by Dec 18, preferably seven. Yikes!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bright colors for a dreary day.

I've come to terms with the fact that winter is here but I'm not ready to give up bright summery colors just yet. I think I'll topstitch this scarf this weekend so I can wear it with my new winter coat.

bright colors for a dreary day

I think it'll look especially nice on a grey day like today. It'll be all bright and cheery and maybe, just maybe, it'll remind me that we'll see the sun again eventually. It's been one long dreary week.

I hope everyone has a nice, sunny weekend (in spirit if nothing else).

hand embroidery and button!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's the punching-est!

I had the day off of work yesterday and it was snowing so I stayed in my pajamas all day and quilted.

orange and teal quilt

Three days of sewing and I only have 13 blocks! They’re fun to make but each one takes a long time to finish. 22 more to go.

I love to watch movies when I quilt or do crafts so on Tuesday I watched a million episodes of the 1954-55 tv version of Sherlock Holmes. If you haven’t seen this particular version and you’re a Holmes fan then I recommend you get your hands on a few episodes. Ronald Howard plays a young, fit, confident and good-natured Holmes while Howard Marion-Crawford plays a kind, likeable, non-bumbling Dr. Watson.

My favorite episode is The case of the Baker Street Nursemaids not because it’s about babies but because it’s the episode with the most punching. Most of the episodes have at least one good punch but this one…man…it’s the punching-est episode of them all! Good times.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New blog, new attitude, new quilt.

Hello and welcome to my studio away from home. I’ve never been good at introductions so let’s talk about projects instead.

One of my goals for the past few months has been to finish up unfinished projects...mostly quilts. So far I've completed one quilt and have one top mostly assembled. In addition to this, I've been on a fabric diet which has been good for me in many ways. I'm combining fabrics I wouldn't normally put together and I'm taking apart half finished quilt tops that I no longer like.

For example, on Friday and Saturday I started a new quilt.

quiet sewing

The orange pieces came from a quilt that I wasn't excited about anymore. Fortunately I hadn't actually put much work into it yet.

new blocks

The teal/aqua was already in my stash...some of it destined for another top, some of it waiting for the right moment.

new blocks

There were no rules except that each block start and end with white and finish at 10.5”.

new blocks

The plan is to alternate orange and teal blocks, five wide by seven tall.

new blocks

To finish at 50”x70” with a white boarder to make it larger? And a teal binding.

new blocks

I shouldn't need to buy more fabric to complete the top but I'll have to buy some flannel for the backing. Fabric to finish a project is not prohibited by the fabric diet.

And that's it for now. I work on many things at a time so expect to catch a glimpse of my varied interests here soon.