Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mushy Brain

I watch a lot of tv while I sew. I really love to watch an entire series because then I don't have to figure out what to watch next.  For graduation, my aunt gave me a one-season (4 dvd) series called Moonlight.  If you are into vampires (sorry Team Jacob), go get it.  The main character is no Edward Cullen, but I do love him anyway.  Even if he, like Edward, won't turn his female counterpart into a vampire.  Take Twilight, add some action, and there you have it, it's Moonlight.  Vampires are so cool.  (And much better looking than zombies)

I posted this picture originally from  Am I allowed to post it if I give them credit and don't claim it as my own?  If you're an experienced blogger, do tell.  I'm too pretty for prison.

Another series that I loooooove is Weeds.  Yes, I watched all five seasons.  And I have no idea where this photo originated or where I found it.

This series is about Nancy.  Nancy's husband dies before the first episode, and to help her remain in her upscale suburban lifestyle, she resorts to selling weed to keep her family afloat.  I'm not endorsing drug use.  Just say no!  But I am endorsing this quirky show.  You'll laugh, and  you'll want more.  Season 6 (the next one out) will be the last season.  I watch Weeds online through Amazon Video On Demand, which means I log on to my Amazon account, pay for the series (about $15 or $20 per season), and then they are in the library on my account, to be accessed from any computer.  If I ever get the new ipad, I see this as the way to go for watching video.  Anyway, I love it, but the video is a little jumpy.  Not sure if it's my computer or if it's because I'm streaming (can't log on & watch a show about selling drugs at work as a public school teacher or I'll be on the news, so I can't figure what the problem is).

The other series I've watched lately is Greek. (Once again, no idea who has the copyright on this photo-- abc family, maybe?)

This show is pure college drama.  Am I college age?  No.  Do I go to wild parties?  No.  Am I living vicariously through them? I reckon so.  They're my little college friends on tv.  I want them to have fun yet keep their grades up and not neglect their responsibilities.  I worry about their futures.  And I love the way the main character's best friend dresses-- she's a fashionista (and sometimes a train wreck).  Anyway, there are three seasons out, and I watch this on  for free.  Yes, that's right, FREE.

Do I watch other shows?  Heck yeah, but not while I sew.  I watch Glee, Nip/Tuck, and Big Bang Theory.   I watch nothing with any redeeming value.  All brain mush.  Please don't tell my students.  Have I mentioned I'm a teacher of gifted & talented students?  If they were to read about what shows I watch, they'd think I was a fraud!  K, well, I gotta go catch up on my dvr because I'm auditioning some some MTV shows that I think I can add to my smut repertoire.  Pray for my soul.

Two Steps Forward

Because my blue stash is out of control, I decided to make a scrappy blue quilt.  After finding the pattern that was just perfect for a quick little quilt, I ran to the fabric store to buy four yards of Kona (have no idea what the color is) to go with my scraps.   And then I started cutting and cutting and cutting strips of medium blues. (I can't follow directions, so I just start cutting and stop when I'm out.  Consequently, I never know what sizes my quilts will be.)

This quilt is from February's American Patchwork & Quilting, and I knew exactly who needed this quilt, one of my good friends from high school who just moved back to Texas from NYC.  This quilt will complement one of his paintings perfectly.  You know how I said that I never know what size a quilt will be because I quit sewing when I run out of fabric?  Well, this is the first time I've ever asked someone what size they'd want.  And now I know why.  You guessed it.  King size.  Why not.  It's not like I don't have a ton of blue fabric and a ton of time on my hands.

So guess what I've been doing lately?  I've been sewing these blocks for almost a month (not exclusively, mind you).  And I'm so tired of blue.  Tonight, though, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  My calculations were almost accurate.  I started to celebrate as I squared up the last of my needed 150 blocks. and realized I only had 145.  I was too defeated to sew the remaining five tonight.

The good news is that these are the only strips I have left.  Just enough to finish the quilt.  Oh, and the four yards I bought to use up my stash (yes, two steps forward, two steps back)?  I only have 2/3 yard left- hopefully enough for a binding:-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Valentine Love

My mom is headed to her retreat in Kansas this weekend.  Her bee meets monthly to sew, and I finally was able to join her group a couple times last summer since they coordinated with a couple trips to see her.  They are going to hang out in their jammies, eat quiche (well, that's what my mom's bringing anyway) and sew for three days.  It reminds me of last weekend.  Except I was at my house, in my pajamas with my friend Kim.  Of course, we took frequent breaks to shop and dine (the food alone is another entry), but otherwise, we had a retreat experience.

Check out this heart bulls eye that we made.  Actually, we made two-- one for each of us.  I can't wait to get it quilted, bound, and washed up so that it will get raggedy.  It was so much fun getting to sew with a friend, particularly one who is as obsessed as I am.  She already has her 10th quilt planned out, and she's only on #3.  I love it.

And speaking of blogging friends, Donna (If you haven't stopped by her blog to check out her service project Hearts 4 Haiti, you should:-) stopped by my blog last week to tell me about a shop in New Braunfels that is amazing, Quilt Haus.  Ladies and Gents, this place was to die for.  If ever a shop was completely my taste, this was it.  Amy Butler (who knew she made solids????), Hope Valley, Anna Maria Horner, Kaffee Fassett, etc.  This is where I want my ashes spread.

Until then, I'll keep quilting with my best quilting buddy, my son, who drew me this quilt last weekend.  See, he already knows how much I love squares.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

creativity unleashed

I have all this extra time on my hands, and I am loving it.  I have the machine figured out, and I feel like I needed a little something to help get me pointed in the right direction to grow as a long armer.  I used to teach writing, and one thing I can tell you is that more writing doesn't lead to better writing.  Can we say it's safe to say that more quilting doesn't lead to better quilting?  Especially the kind I'm doing.  I need a goal instead of just "doing better" or "avoiding scribble scrabble."  So, I stumbled upon an online class at MQresource called Quilt Whisperer.  The objective of the class is for us to be able to look at a quilt and know what it needs.  Sounds good to me because I really don't have the answers.

So I registered for class and gathered my supplies,

cleaned off my sewing table,

emptied my quilt frame

and my trash cans,
loaded my ipod,

gathered some toys to keep a little someone occupied,

and then I was ready to work.  And look what I made.

Okay, so this is my first doodle.  Ever.  Actually, that's not true.  I doodle squares and/or straight lines.  When I'm feeling really creative, I draw lots of squares.  So, for my first doodle, I'm impressed with myself.  I never would have thought I could have done this.  Something about switching from paper & pencil to black paper & white gel pen unleashed something in me.  I like most of this, but I can't wait to do my next doodle to see how much better I can do this.

In all honesty, I was apprehensive about paying so much for an online course when so much information is free.  But then I realized $40 isn't much when you take into account the price of the machine if not utilized to the best of my abilities.

Monday, January 11, 2010

DeDe's Puppy Love

My first customer's quilt.  Okay, well, she's hardly a customer.  Instead, she's my best Friendswood friend, my son's godmother, my former partner in soup-making, my bunko buddy, DeDe.  But that is hardly enough to describe DeDe.  She's my friend that loves me the most.  Everyone needs a DeDe. 

This is DeDe's second quilt, and she asked me to quilt it.  In case I didn't mention it, DeDe is a perfectionist, so I was terrified quilting for her, but I do love the result.  My second quilt did not look like this.  Nope.  My second quilt was probably a log cabin with huge strips.  or maybe a four patch.  Not intricate piece-work like this.

She appliqued, embroidered, and had three dimensional pieces.

DeDe made this for her only grandchild, Rhys, who will be two before she knows it

 and is even cuter than all these puppies, if you can believe that.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scribble Scrabble

Finally, I have done some quilting that I really like.  My son said it looks like scribble scrabble (translation: it looks like someone scribbled all over it).  He might be right, but I love it anyway.

 I tried a variety of techniques, like McTavishing (although it hardly looks like it's supposed to!).

and echo stitching

and swirls (see border)

and a stipple for the background.

Although I'm not where I want to be, I still love the end result.

even if it does look like scribble scrabble.

But most of all I love my cute little quilt holder.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Twisting Turning 20

To get some basic quilts ready for the long arm, I threw this quilt together with fabric in my stash, mostly left over from other projects.  The light fabrics came from Quilt Market in Houston, several years ago.  P&B had a booth where you could buy bundles of 10 coordinating fat quarters for $6.  Yes, I bought all I could carry!

The pattern is Twisting Turning Twenty.  I think I was quite possibly the last quilter to make a Turning Twenty quilt.  What a great way to use up fabric, too.  I'm glad I made this to practice on, though, because it was only my second quilt to long arm, and my work is less than stellar.  No way I would pay someone for this craftsmanship.

The quilting design is basically a loop-de-loop pattern.  It's pretty basic, and since this quilt, I've played with some variations of this, which I like much more (stay tuned!).

Also, I got a new camera for Christmas, and boy can it zoom!  It takes pretty good pictures up close, so I did a little research trying to figure out how to take better photos of quilts.  Now, I'm pretty defeated  because apparently I need a camera with some letters (SNL? SLR? STS?), which will cost about $450 or more.  And then I'll need umbrella lights or will have to make something that will work (not likely).  So, here's the short version-- it's not going to happen.  I'll just have to work with what I have.

The photo of the entire quilt was taken in my classroom (Thanks, Anonymous Students for holding it up, which I have since learned is the WRONG way to photograph a quilt.) because I was trying to see if florescent lighting would help with my mad photo skills.  Nope.  I know I should take it outside, however, it's way too cold out there.  It must be 55 degrees, which I know isn't much to you guys, particularly Mom in KS or my in-laws in the Ozarks where it's going to be -10 degrees tonight, but to me, it's cold.  I prefer temperatures over 70.

By the way, did you notice the backing peeking out underneath the corner in the last photo?  I snagged that Hoffman for $5 a yard in Salado.  Love it!  So, what about you and your shopping?  Hit any amazing fabric sales lately?  What did you get?