Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another losing Battle: Bernina vs. Tracey

I'm 0 for 2 now. After the iron defeated me last night, today the Sewing machine decided to beat on me as well.

I did manage to finish sewing one of the surprise projects, and I'm very pleased with it. Then I went back to the project that I have made multiple mistakes on over the last two weeks. I figured out the problem I was having, and started to fix it, then my machine decided to start vomiting thread loops all over the place. Great. I can switch to another color thread and the machine will work fine. But I need to use that particular color thread.

My machine needs to be serviced, obviously. But why does it only ever act up when I'm up against a deadline?? Sigh.

Later tonight, I'll muster the strength to go back into the sewing room and hunt down another spool that color thread, keep my fingers crossed and try to finish my project, because it has to be mailed by Saturday.

But, barring that, I've got a backup plan (start a new project, fabrics and design are already picked out) which I'll implement tomorrow.

DH says its my own fault for procrastinating for so long. What is he talking about? The deadline is still 2 1/2 days away?? :-)

Idiot vs. the Iron

I think the iron is winning this battle tonight.

What is it with irons? I seem to kill an iron every couple of months. Either the soleplate gets all gunked up (yes, I guess I use too much spray starch) or I knock it off the ironing board and it dies.

Once upon a time I had a nice, pricey Rowenta, perhaps the only Rowenta on earth that did not leak. That iron was like mana from heaven. It was heavy, it made lots of steam and it lived for more than one whole year! But alas, one day I turned it on and it decided that it would heat no more. I miss that iron. I haven't had a good one since then.

Did I mention that I HATE the whole auto-off thing? For someone like myself who tends to piece a few dozen sections at a time, I need an iron that stays on and ready to flatten those pesky seam allowance when I want it to, not a few minutes after I shake it to wake it up again. That darn auto-off thing means that the iron is never hot when I am ready to use it. Nowadays, its nearly impossible to find an iron that doesn't have the auto-off feature (is a bad thing really still called a feature?). Until a few months ago, Black and Decker made a nice heavy silver iron called the Black and Decker Classic. It was reasonably priced at about $30 and sensibly stayed turned on until I turned it off. A few weeks ago, when I was in my local Wal-Mart attempting to purchase a new one, I noticed that the Black and Decker Classic now hails an auto-off feature. Time to find a different iron to purchase. No such luck, every single iron has auto-off now. I suppose that I need to get with the program and modernize my way of thinking and adjust to the auto-off. Sigh. I did buy a new iron, but I'm not thrilled.

AHA! In the Black Friday circular, I saw Home Depot advertising an iron, for only $7!! I had to go there anyway to buy some goodies for my DH, so I figured I'd check out the iron. Seven bucks sounds like a reasonable price for an appliance that I know I'll need to replace in 4 or 5 months.
Because honestly, seven bucks or 107 bucks, that sucker is going to be dead or gunky soon no matter what. I examined the box carefully. NO mention of auto-off. I even opened the box and read the hilariously translated instruction booklet. No mention of it there, either. Could it be? Iron Nirvana? Regardless, I bought three. A years supply of irons for the price of one.

Tonight I decided to try out my new iron. I whipped it out of the box, plugged it in, turned it on and sat down to sew on one of my secret projects (last minute, as usual). Swung my chair around toward the ironing board to press, and when I started to push the iron, it didn't move. No glide, just rubbing, as if it was sticky and gunky from Wonder Under. Hmmm... How is it that I didn't notice the PLASTIC COVER protecting the sole plate? Ah yes, thats why I smell melting plastic.

I give up. I know when I've lost the battle. I'm going to go to bed and try quilting again tomorrow. After I peel the melted plastic off of my brand new iron. At least if it doesn't come off, I have a coule backup irons on hand.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Weekend Wrap Up

So the extra loooong weekend is over. That's right, I stretched the Thanksgiving weekend from last Wednesday morning until this afternoon (Tuesday). LOL. Gotta milk it for all its worth, I guess!

A Summary of Thanksgiving. Ugh. LOL. We had turkey, stuffing (with giblets, sausage and apples), mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, jellied cranberry sauce, whole cranberry/orange sauce, rolls, pickles and olives. For desert, we had swedish apple pie and pumpkin pie. But one thing...

I am NEVER cooking a whole turkey again. NEVER. EVER. NEVER.

I mentioned last week that I don't even like the whole turkey dinner thing, and I cooked the whole turkey (which BTW took 5 hours at 350 degrees rather than 4 hours at 325 as promised on the label, and I didn't even put stuffing in it). Well, sure, I cooked the whole turkey, and all anyone ate was the breast. Not a single other piece was touched by anyone. So next year, I am only doing a couple of breasts. I have already written on my 2008 across the top of November....BREAST ONLY NO WHOLE TURKEY so that I won't forget.

Then on Friday morning, Thing Two and I left the house in the dark (and SNOW) at 5AM to go shopping. We trekked the 20 miles to Wal-Mart in search of my digital camera, which I got. I got home and turned it on, took a few pictures and turned it off. When I turned it back on, the screen was all fractured/pixelized looking. Ugh. I turned it off and back on and it seems fine, but now I don't trust it. DH said I shouldn't have bought a Polaroid, so it is going back tomorrow. I'll have to find a new one (and I've been instructed to get only a Cannon or Kodak).

The rest of the weekend, we just sat around and relaxed. I watched most of Season 2 and 3 of Project Runway, a few movies with the kids, and some episodes of Iron Chef America.

On the quilting front, I worked on my gift for ChookyBlues Secret Santa Christmas Swap. The thing I am making is pretty straighforward, something I've done before, but for some reason, I kept screwing up at nearly every step of the way. So the 'simple' project is turning into a mess. I need to keep plugging along to finish by Friday. Unfortunately, I can't share any pictues yet because I don't want to spoil the surprise.

I did manage to quilt two UFOs. One is a Crumb Quilt to donate, the other is my Tossed Salad Quilt, which I will be keeping. No pictures yet, they still need bindings (this weekend, I hope, once the surprise projects are finished).

Oh, and I am still waiting for three people to sign up for the pay it forward challenge. I posted last Tuesday about it, and so far I don't have any takers. If noone wants to play, I'm just going to have to make three gifts and randomly send them to some unsuspecting people! Does anyone want to play, or am I just so late in the game that everyone is tired of it??

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

So I'm going to be away from the computer for a few days...I need to start cooking, cleaning and shopping!

I'm having 7 people all together for Thanksgiving. I am the grudging hostess...I'm not a huge fan of Thanksgiving or the whole Turkey Dinner. I've also got 4 very picky eaters among the 7 guests, so I feel like I'm just wasting my time with all the preparations and cooking. For example, I know that Thing One will eat rolls, pie, cranberry sauce and olives. Thing Two will eat the rolls and the pumpkin pie.
It's a lot of work and a lot of coordination for a dinner that seems like a waste of effort.

Oh, and Thing One is sick. Which means that by Thursday, Thing Two will probably also be sick.

At least I get to go shopping on Friday! Unlike most people, I LOVE going out shopping early in the morning on Black Friday. I really don't have any shopping that needs to be done, maybe I'll buy myself a new digital camera. Other than that, I just go out and enjoy the crowds, seeing the frenzy and maybe picking up a few unexpected bargains for myself.

Sigh. No quilting happened at all this week. I need to work on my Christmas Swap and something else that I am working on to send out next week. I'll post pictures of those things when I can. Mums the word on those for the time being.

Pay It Forward

For a long time, the Pay It Forward swap idea has been going around Blogland, and I've wanted to play almost since I first saw the idea. However, I've never been able to get myself signed up within the first three. Today, was my day! Nadine posted about her participation, and I am among the lucky recipients of whatever she is going to make! Hurray!!!

Here is how it works (quoted from Nadine, so I don't mess something up!)

This is how it goes : it's the Pay It Forward exchange, based on the concept of the movie "Pay It Forward", where acts of kindness are done without expecting anything in return, just passing it on, hoping that the recipients will do the same and pay it forward, like a never ending chain of kindness...

How to proceed ?

I will make and send a handmade gift for the first 3 friends who post a comment to this post, requesting to join this exchange, and promising to pay it forward to 3 other persons, etc....

I don't know what my 3 gifts will be, and I can't make them in the next few weeks, but I can promise I will send them within the next 6 months .

What YOU have to do in return then, is pay it forward by making the same announcement and promise on YOUR blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dear Santa swapper....

Please don't post the pictures of my gift! I'm going to try very very hard not to open my present until Christmas. It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to do my very best not to peek so that I have a surprise under the tree on Christmas morning!
And hopefully, my gift from you won't be next to a vacuum cleaner, a set of pans or some other ridiculousness from my DH.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

BLOGLINES frustration


I'm so frustrated with Bloglines right now. Is it just me, or does this tool that is supposed to make my life easier drive everyone else nuts, too???

Sure, I subscribe to way too many blogs. But really, right now Bloglines is telling me that I have 6632 unread posts. Like an hour ago, I didn't have ANY unread posts.
Its showing that a huge percentage of the blogs I'm subscribed to have over 200 unread posts! Come on...

And why does it keep spitting the same posts back at me day after day??? There are a couple of posts in particular that keep popping up as new even though they are weeks old.

Is there another, perhaps better feed catcher out there????

What's on my design wall

Here is the project on my design wall at the moment.

About two weeks ago, I decided that I needed mindless sewing, so I grabbed something out of one of my (many) UFO bins. There were 5 blocks, along with triangle squares for 4 more blocks. So that afternoon, I put the 4 blocks together. Since then, I've made another 3 blocks for a total of 12. They've been on the wall for a while now, waiting.

When Thing One came into the room and looked at, she mentioned the thing that was obvious to me: the yellow block doesn't work with the rest of them. So now I'm going to make a replacement for it (another red one, I think). Interestingly enough, she noticed something that I hadn't. She said that she liked the way the warm and cool colors alternated. does she know these things? She does seem to have an inborn sense of the color/design thing on her side.

Once I get that block done, I guess I'll have her choose a border fabric for me! LOL.

I have also pulled my Knifty Knitter out of the closet and started making hats again. About a dozen over the last two weekends. Such fun!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

African-American Quilt Exhibit

Last weekend, Thing One and I went to a quilt exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont to see an exhibit of African-American Quilts called "Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Four Generations of African-American Quilters".

This exhibit showcased the works of four quilters from one family: Laverne Brakens, Gladys Henry, Sherry Byrd and Bara Byrd. There were only about a dozen quilts in the exhibit, but they were very nice. Well worth the trip. The exhibit will be there until Thanksgiving weekend if anyone is interested in going to see it.

Thing One was very intrigued by these quilts. She has been itching to have me teach her to quilt, and I haven't done too much with her yet because, well, I'm impatient with her and she is easily frustrated. However...she loved these quilts and told me that she likes the fact that these quilters didn't worry about matching seams, making even blocks, etc. And she said "THATS WHAT I NEED TO DO". So I think that I'll just teach her improvisational quilting from the get go (while I work on it myself!). Since Tanya is opening a new "class blog", I think that I'll have Thing One learn how to quilt Tanya's way. Should be fun, and hopefully not too frustrating for her.

Here are some pictures of the quilts we saw:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Busy Busy

Sorry that I've not blogged for so long! It is not for a lack of things to blog about, just that I've not had any time! I've actually been quilting quite a bit! I'll share some in this post, but I'll save the rest for another day!

Oh, before I forget....the challenge quilt from my previous post that was voted as Viewers choice was #2.

Today, Thing One began her adventures in Orthodontics! We've been beeing monitored by the orthodontist for two years now, and he decided that NOW is the time to have a space maintainer mounted into her mouth! We are holding some space open for permanent teeth to hopefull have room to grow in, and then in two years or so when the permanent teeth have all appeared, then he will put braces. But for now, just the space maintainer, which was put in today. Needless to say, she is unhappy and in some pain today. She's had lots of soup, ice cream, pudding, and yogurt because her mouth is sore.

Here is a picture of the things on Halloween. A normal night here: we had two trick or treaters at our house. There are several children on our street, but most of them trick or treat outside of the neighborhood. Children from other streets don't come here because there are not many houses and there is a BIG hill. They go elsewhere where the walking is less work!

The weekend before last, I made a donation quilt for one of my guild's projects. A member of my guild has been coordinating a project where the ladies who excercise at Curves donate their old 'fat' jeans. The members my guild use the denim to make rag quilts which are donated to a children's home in the area for kids 11-18 years old.
I've made about 8 of them over the last 3 or so years. While I'm making these quilts I'm always swearing about how much I dislike them (clipping all those edges drive me nuts and makes a huge mess!) but by the time the quilt is all finished and washed, I'm in love with the quilt and eager to make another one! This time I finally bought those special scissors, and it was MUCH easier. This is the one I finished most recently, and I am working on another one now. Hopefully I'll finish it this weekend. The first picture is the front of the quilt, the second is the back. You'll notice that I ran out of fabric for the backing, and had to make a subsitution for 4 of the squares. Try not to notice all the acorns and unswept leaves on the deck!