Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Hours in the Day, Please!

I believe that there may be nothing better than being wrapped up in a quilt and a sweatshirt on a cold fall day.  In case you haven't noticed, it's my favorite time of year.  Yes, I love Christmas too, but falling down because of ice, having the cuff of my jeans get wet from snow, and being broke from buying gifts does mark it down to maybe third place. 

Dax loves fall just as much as I do.  Probably because it means I'm more than willing to take him to the park to make new friends.

But, I promise that going to the park has not been the only thing I've been doing!  I've been mainly working on a wedding dress and birdcage veil for a friend of Husband's. She had her alterations done at a national wedding dress chain where she purchased her gown, and they did a horrible job "fixing" her dress.  I was amazed at what I saw when I took it apart! 

This is a (poor quality) picture of her birdcage veil in progress.  I drew out a 10 second sketch of what her floral lace pattern was, and re-drew it onto freezer paper.  That was then ironed onto satin, cut out, and sew onto muslin to give it stability. The end product was beaded to match her dress, and I'll post pictures of it after she, well, gets married!

I still haven't free motioned quilted yet.... yes, I'm scared. I think I may be too much of a perfectionist to just "go for it".  But, I'll keep practicing and let you know when I work up the courage to use it on a project.  

Here is a quilt top that Husband says looks like a pantone book:

I have to agree with him, and I like it that way. Gradating colors make me happy! I appliqued the circles on using a blanket stitch, and I've backed it with a piece of thick cozy fleece.  I want to try something that doesn't have as much weight as a quilt, but still has that quilt "look".

I think Dax approves.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To Sew or Not to Sew...

Lots of things get in the way of me being productive.  Things like family visits, lazy Sunday afternoons, naps, going to the park, and well, a host of other events that allow me to procrastinate.  I know I'm blaming all of the above, and that all of above can be avoided and/or rescheduled, but if I don't take time to do some good 'ole nothing, my projects suffer. I give you exhibit A:

In the past, in order to de-stress, I tried to crochet.  I decided that I would maybe take this approach this afternoon. I opened up my drawer of half-finished crochet projects and found this- evidence that crochet is rarely a stress-free activity for me.  I'm so focused on making sure it's square and even and has the right amount of tension that I tense up and it's not square, or even or loose.  On the right is what happens when I try to crochet and I'm not relaxed.  On the left is what happens after I've had a beer (or 3) and told myself that it's okay if it's not perfect.  

I'm not even really sure what to do with my NINE crocheted-so-tightly-I-could-hardly-get-a-hook-in-there squares.  Maybe I'll make Duncan a vest and give him more of a reason to bite my ankles in the morning. 

After seeing the squares and realizing that I was nowhere near being relaxed enough to go to war with a ball of yarn, I decided that maybe I would finally cut into this stash.  

I've been hoarding these fabrics for a few months now because I'm having a hard time deciding what I want the quilt top to look like.  And, I have a hard time cutting up any fabric that I really love because, well, then it gets used up and I don't have it any more.  It's like being 8 years old and eating all of your Easter candy in one night.  Guess who never did that and still had purple Peeps chickens come Christmas?  That's right.

But, I enjoy reading blogs in which I get to see projects come along, so I figured I would do the same. Plus, it gives me more motivation to move ahead and *sigh* cut up my tiny collection.

This is a quilt that is pleading to be finished and put up on Etsy:

I created the pattern myself, and I haven't decided how to quilt it.  I believe I may give my first try at free motion quilting, which I'm sure will include lots of prayers, cursing, and maybe a few tears.  I suppose I should go ahead and have a drink first too, because if my experience with free motion quilting is going to be anything like crochet, Duncan's getting a vest and a quilt.  Merry Christmas, Dunk-a-Dunk. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yay for Etsy!

Oh gosh. It's finally getting there.  My legs are on fire from my MacBook slowing roasting them while I have been diligently setting up my Etsy shop. It still has a way to go, but at least I have two whole quilts posted!  How excited am I!? If you absolutely have to check it out, my shop URL is: jellybeansoup.etsy.com.

On another note, guess who else was excited today?  Excited about nothing, that is. Who was running around, smacking Dax in the face, and then giving me the "chase me, I'm crazy!" look?

That would be our beloved Duncan Nonuts.  I wish that I could of gotten a picture of him with his crazy eyes and his ears down in a pre-pounce moment. Usually, you can find him curled up in his little bed, or on top of one of the couch cushions taking a morning nap (yes, my beloved fuzz butts often sleep the morning away).

He's quite a character, this cat. He used to sleep on my head at night.  And no, not just on my pillow - he would curl his body around my head and then lay his head on top of mine.  I didn't mind it much, actually I kind of liked that he wanted to cuddle up with me without force.  Usually he has to withstand me saying things that I know are stupid to him.  Examples include:
  • "Meowmers, kitty kitty"
  • "Meow-meow Dunk-a-dunk"
  • "kee-kee"
  • "Aww...King Duncan"
And yes, I know I sound like I should be committed when these things come out of my mouth, but look of disgust he gives me when I mix all of those phrases together makes it all worth it. 

He really gets worked up and hyper when I bring out fabric or I'm trying to sew.  He does everything he can to try to nonchalantly leap onto my sewing area or ironing board.  He knows that if he cries enough I'll let him wrestle with any scraps of fabric I'm not using until Dax steals them from him.  So if you can imagine, it was a wonder that I ever got these quilts done for Etsy.  

I made my own template for my "Bees and Blossoms" quilt.  I like Dresden templates, but I didn't want that many pieces, I'm not quite sure why.  If anyone is interested, I'd be more than happy to post tutorials on how to create your own templates from sketches or ideas you have.  I am a schooled and experienced pattern maker, and although I make patterns for clothing, that knowledge transfers to quilting. 

This pinwheel quilt was so fun to make!  I'm sure I could have made it faster than I did had the aforementioned kitty not been reaching up from under the table and stealing my supplies. I should videotape that sometime- it's quite entertaining to watch that tiny orange paw.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh Fall...

You know those days when it's cold outside, but all you have to wear is a sweatshirt and a pair of worn jeans and it's perfect?  I. Love. It.  I can't get enough of fall, and leaves, and even the noisy little squirrels who throw things at me when I go outside.  They probably do it because I throw sticks at them when they taunt my dog.  Not in a "I'm going to take you down" sort of way, but in a "Find someone else's yard to dig up" sort of way.  It's a hate-hate relationship, and I'm putting a squirrel-resistant bird feeder on my list of things to find on sale. 

I used to be a big list person. I would have sticky notes all over my mirrors and desk, and then I would forget to look at them.  Lucky for me, my lovely little iPhone can give me reminders through my calendar to do things like "get my life together", and "find chocolate".  Today I had one that reminded me to "get my butt moving on that Etsy shop". 

I've been an avid Etsy and blog stalker for quite some time.  You know that job you had where you never wanted to be there and avoided doing anything productive until the last minute? Well, that was my previous job, and all of that wasted company time led to my discovery of the world of craft and sewing blogs.  I've sewn for quite some time, and I am finally ready to part with my fabric stash through the making of baby quilts, among other things.  My Etsy shop name is Jellybean Soup, and I do hope you'll come see it when I open my doors! 

But, I'm sure I'll also be letting you in on Indiana life, and my other
 loves: baking, painting, Husband, Dax the Wonder Dog, and our cat, Duncan Nonuts.   

Now Dax is good at many things, but his favorite talent to show off on cold fall mornings is...................