Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Aug 30, 2011

Orts in brief yet again.  Some week it may even be a singular ort!
  • Son Nick invited a few friends over on Saturday night to watch UFC fighting on TV.  Knowing how I hate boxing, he was happy to call out to me whenever there was a lot of blood or guys getting knocked out.  Ugh.
  • At his request I made Hamburger Soup, one of our favorites, running out to the store to get supplies but forgetting one main ingredient, canned tomatoes.  To the rescue was a HUGE heirloom tomato from a friend.  I think the fresh tomato was a terrific substitute.
  • Computer problems magically healed themselves at work, come Monday morning, but continued to plague me last night.  The Internet went down on my home computer.  I shut everything down after several attempts at fixing and trudged off to the bedroom to watch Design Star in a sulk.
  • My new favorite TV show is Roseanne's Nuts, starring Roseanne Barr, about her macadamia nut farm on Hawaii and her current life.  She's still very funny in the self-deprecating way she always was.  The show is a bit silly and occasionally strange, which is probably why I like it.  One of my favorite lines from her original standup routine was, "I have anorexia dyslexia.  I never think I'm fat enough."
  • At work on Friday a new patient walked in 2.5 hours late for her initial consultation (which is 80 minutes long) and gave multiple excuses as to why she missed her appointment, all of which she claimed were not her fault.  She did not once apologize for being late and still wanted to be seen that afternoon.  Amazing gall, don't you think?
  • The volunteer corn plant in the front yard is getting a tassel! And the poinsettia bush in the back yard is turning into an over six foot tree:

In a couple more months it will be ready for the holidays.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Aug 29, 2011

On my design floor today is the Wedding Quilt--DD Elaine's nuptials are only two months away!  I laid out the pieces for the remaining four rows of the quilt and got three of the already stitched rows sewn together.

The quilt will be queen sized.  The pattern (Natural Beauty from Winter 2010 Quilts and More mag) calls for a 3.5 inch border.  I may make it a bit wider but haven't decided yet.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Both of our August birthday offspring (above) have now had their birthdays.  Nick had his yesterday and was surprised by his girlfriend Alison with a skydiving adventure.  We thought we had him going a little on a red herring story but he confessed afterwards that the skydiving trip was what he suspected the surprise would be all along.  Happy 26th, son!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What a bust

And not just in the sewing department!  Another difficult week at work was capped off today by the Internet going down for the second time this week--and I could not get it back--it is still busted until the I.T. guy comes on Monday.   All this stress totally zapped me several nights this week.  I tellya, this management gig is wearing me out--especially since I didn't choose the job, it fell to me suddenly when the last manager was fired.  Can't say that I'm enjoying it much right now but I am grateful to have a job when so many are out of work, and I like the people I work with, which means a lot. 

Anyway....what little fabric interaction I had this week was confined to cutting.

Pieces for the Flowers for Nana Girl quilt, my new leader-ender project.  There's 190 2.5" squares and 160 4.5 x 2.5" rectangles in that little box.  Doesn't look like much, does it?  I did throw one pink flower in there to make up for a rather dull yellow I couldn't live with in this grouping.

I'm still trying to bust a UFO too.  My record for finishing UFOs has been poor these few months.  This is the backing for the August pick, which on my list is the Strawberry Fields doll quiltalong project.  I called mine Patriotic Fields.  This is the backing laid out on my cutting mat before being sewn tonight.

And here is the sandwich all together.  Originally I thought I would hand quilt this with fans but have decided against it given my lack of skills and the many many seams to stitch over.  A new quilting plan is necessary given the deadline approaching in days!  I'll probably machine quilt it in some simple way.

We have a volunteer stalk of corn in the front yard.  I'm pretty sure any harvest will be a bust since it is a lone stalk and not likely to get pollinated.  It's up to about 4-5 feet tall now though and has been amusing to watch!  Once it is cut and dried I'll have a homegrown fall decoration :).  Here's to some sewing this weekend--the wedding quilt needs major busting!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Aug 23, 2011

Another rushed edition of the Orts--I've had three phone calls from work saying the computers are acting up and are now DOWN!
  • Biggest laugh at the wedding shower was during the "how well do you know Elaine" quiz game.  The question was "What is Elaine's biggest pet peeve about Chris?"   One of her friends, I think it was Stacy, said, "What ISN'T Elaine's biggest pet peeve about Chris?" 
 Stacy won the quiz game.  (The answer to the question is that Chris turns all the damn lights on in the house and then comes and sits down on the couch.)
    Her sister Chelsea didn't win anything but had fun with the ring box game.
  • I like to read the real estate section of the newspaper on the weekend.  There was a very expensive house listed that was advertised as "Newly constructed--in 2008".  Um, isn't EVERY house newly constructed?  Next we'll read, "Victorian mansion, newly constructed in 1885."
  • Traffic rant:  As soon as the Fair was over and traffic around our office was expected to return to normal, the City began digging up the dang street again, closing off a main intersection and lanes DAILY.  Sigh.
  • My camera is frequently used and it does not have rechargeable batteries so I was going through them pretty quickly until I bought these:
I put these Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries in before our trip to Cincinnati in April and they just ran out of juice last week--so four months of use.  I think that is remarkable. 
  • And finally, the happy recipient of the Scrappy Trails/Hot Tamale quilt:
It was so good to see Anna's big smile after all she's gone through the last couple of months with a cancer scare.  Her thyroid surgery was successful and her scar is healing very well.  Our co-worker tried to convince her that the quilt is ugly and she didn't really want it, but Anna held firm that she loves it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Aug 22, 2011

There's nothing on my design wall/floor/table today but cutting for a new project has been happening.  This is a new leader-ender to use while completing the piecing of the wedding quilt.  I have wanted to make a quilt from the book I got for Christmas, Scrap Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett, and remembered a bag of strips from a long ago swap with the online group I belonged to, Quiltbuddies. 

I like so many quilts in this book and admire Kim's great brain for thinking up so many pretty ways to use 2.5 inch strips. These strips are 3 inches but that gives me an opportunity to trim them all to the same size.

Some stash fabric for the "leaves" of the flowers and scraps of creamy white for the flower centers and sashing.  I'm sure the hard part will be finding a border fabric but the hunt is always fun.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Real Hot Finish

Final handstitching of the binding on the Scrappy Trails quilt (pattern by Carlene Westberg) was completed today and it got its first bath.  I'm calling my version "Hot Tamale".

I like the mix of hot and cool colors together (photo clickable for a closeup if you like). Most of the fabrics were from the clearance aisle "Gypsy" kit I bought at JoAnn's a year ago, with a few additions from stash.  

Backing fabric was one of those 3 yard chunks sold prepackaged at JoAnn's.  It is a rather thin fabric but did not beard, thankfully, during the quilting.  Not sure I would choose it again, however.

Hills and valleys comprised the simple quilting, stitched with a walking foot.  I was able to use up four partial spools of variegated thread in different colors on this project.  It meant a lot more starting and stopping to wind bobbins and rethread the machine but it was nice to clear them out.  I hope my co-worker likes it!

A wedding shower for Elaine

It was a beautiful afternoon for the shower, hosted by Elaine's bridesmaid and future sister-in-law and held at her future mother-in-law's home.   Shasta and Sandy did a wonderful and large amount of work with the planning and executing of all the many fun and beautiful and tasty events of the day.  Many thanks to them both for sharing their talents and love.
Peach Bellini's, iced tea and lemonade, mini water bottles with specially printed labels with Elaine's name were provided at the beverage bar.

Shasta was creative with ribbon on the banister (sorry for the weird camera angle!)  I neglected to get a photo of the "E + C" banner which was posted on the front door.

The yellow and gray theme was carried out everywhere.  I loved the filled apothecary jars.

The long banner just fit on one wall of the living room.  We will reuse the banners at the rehearsal dinner.

Sandy is an excellent cook and we enjoyed the quiches very much, along with homemade poppy seed bread and banana bread, plus sausages and fresh fruit for luncheon.

"E" words were displayed around both rooms.

The gift bags here filled and waiting to be given out.

Elaine's grandmother being surprised as she won the "Left/Right" ring box game and earned some beautiful padded hangers.  Lots of laughter during this and a quiz game on Elaine and Chris.  Then we broke into teams of three for Elaine's favorite shower game, the Toilet Paper Wedding Gown competition, of which she was the judge.  My partners were Nicole and her daughter Olivia, soon to enter 6th grade.

We went with a halter style wrapped to the hip and accented with a veil....

....and a bouquet.  We had 15 minutes for our challenge.

The winning team designed the short dress with braided trim.  (Stacy was docked points for using her own belt as an accessory.)  I don't know where the team was going on the dress that my Mom is wearing but it was quite avant garde (and hilarious)!

More fun and laughter as the Bride-to-Be opened her gifts.

The lovely Shasta ferried them to and fro and saved pieces of each gift's paper and ribbon for a later project.  Elaine refused to break any ribbons so I guess that means no grandchildren.

Divine Red Velvet Cake.

Lemon Cakes with fresh raspberries. 

The gift bags were filled with some of Elaine's favorite things, including peanut butter filled pretzels and caramels from See's Candy.

Shasta, Elaine and Sandy in the afterglow of the party.  Many effusive thanks to the hostesses!

My mom and me with the lucky bride-to-be.  A wonderful day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What I've been up to

Secret projects make for boring blogging weeks!  But since today is the event for which the projects were made, I can safely post these photos now.  First up, the gift bags, the raw materials of which I showed on my previous post.

I made 12 bags from one yard of fabric and then had to have the shower hostess get more, once all the RSVPs were in, to make an additional three bags.

I had fun being creative with my photo subject :)   At the same time as more gift bag fabric was delivered, another project came along with it--two banners.  Printed flags were all ready to be inserted into the yards and yards of "string" I made from various prints the hostess, Shasta, purchased. 

I cut the strips 2" wide and sewed them together with diagonal seams, a la binding, and pressed them in half.  Then I opened up the strip and brought one edge to  the center and the other to about 3/8".  I inserted the paper flag, using a ruler and spacing them as I went, and stitched.  I used a larger needle to help with this (size 14).  The flags were about 8" across at their tops.

It went pretty quickly once I started sewing--the prep took the longest amount of time, of course!

Turned out pretty cute!  The other banner is about four times as long as this and reads "Elaine Loves Chris".  I hope to get a photo of it at the shower. 

On Monday I picked up my fair entries and ribbons--plus a check for $4.00 for winning the two second place prizes.  My dad wanted me to put them on my sewing machine as "campaign ribbons".  This photo is for you, Dad!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

Another edition of the orts this fine Tuesday morning.
  • Some HUGE stressors fell away last week workwise when we learned our co-worker does NOT have cancer after all--she will not need treatment besides the surgery she underwent to remove half of her thyroid gland.  We all felt she still deserves the quilt I made her for the terrific roller coaster she and her family were on these past six weeks. 
  • Another stressor was the coming absence of our back office assistant as she starts nursing school next week.  Our doctor boss--not a linear thinker--could not make a decision about what he wanted to do about this until it came down to the wire!  Finally, we decided to hire within our office staff and training has begun.  Good thing she already knows us all, and especially Dr. P's quirks.
  • Traffic rant:  I've ranted previously about drivers who look right at you and then pull out directly in front of you anyway without making any effort to speed up.  Over the weekend I experienced that in a department store.  A lady came out between racks onto a major walkway just as I stepped nearly to that spot, looked me in the face and turned in front of me at a one millimeter pace.  Screech!!!
  • Russell the dog needed his rabies shot.  Grant called a couple of vet's offices in our neighborhood and found the best office visit price of $39.  Of course the charges piled up and with medicines for an ear condition, steroids for itching, and an extra vaccine it ended up being over $200.  So much for bargain shopping!
  • The birthday girl received her Reese's cheesecake selection at the restaurant with a birthday message in chocolate syrup and some very bad singing by the waitstaff (and us!). 
Her fiance Chris read the message out loud as the plate passed him as, " 'Happy Birthday--No Sauce'??"   His bride-to-be gently notified him it actually read "To You". 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Aug 15, 2011

Over the weekend I completed the Scrappy Trails quilt for my co-worker.  I had a little hand stitching to do where I missed the edge when machine sewing down the binding and took the quilt upstairs so I could sit on the bed and relax while working.  I stepped out of the room for a minute and then this happened:

 Mini does always prefer a handmade quilt under her at all times.  I was tired anyway since it was 10 PM!

Next up, turning this pile of fabric into some gift bags.

Here's my mockup from some scraps.  I decided that using a double folded piece of fabric a la binding would make a nice finished edge for casing for the ribbon closure.  I turned under the ends to make feeding the ribbon in that much easier.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Insert Clever Title

That's right, I'm drawing a blank so make up your own title this time!  Lots going on except blogging lately.  DD Erica came home last weekend unexpectedly, driving out from AZ with a friend.  Always nice to have another chick back in the nest.  She unfortunately had to head home before the family event of the week, DD Elaine's birthday today. 

Here's the lovely birthday girl with her proud daddy.

We celebrated with dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, whose dinner menu is about 25 pages long and they have 30+ different cheesecakes on the dessert menu. Elaine had the Orange Chicken above; I stuck to my No Flour, No Sugar eating plan but indulged in low-carb cheesecake made with Splenda. It was yummy!

Son Nick brought his girlfriend Alison.  I bullied her into having her picture taken (and had to overexpose to correct bad lighting!)

The engaged peeps.  They also brought along Chris's mom but she declined photography. 

Some quilt related activity has occurred, though.  I made this mug rug last month from a leftover block from the blogaversary giveaway quilt and finally got the binding stitched down.  I love this fabric with the teapots and cups and am hoarding the remaining yardage.  The Scrappy Trails quilt was pinned into a sandwich late at night while listening to Erica and her friends in the other room watching 127 Hours.  Hopefully it will get quilted and bound over the next three days.  Now, off to bed!  TGIF tomorrow.

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...