Saturday, April 29, 2006

First Quilting Class

My mom emailed me and she commented on how often she checks my blog for updates - I took that as a hint that I need to post a little more than once a week. She's a pretty darn busy lady these days, and if she can tell that I haven't been posting too much... than anybody can! :P

So onto my first quilt-related class ever! Yeah, I've been quilting for a good 4 years and finally do a class. It was absolutely wonderful. I'm so glad my friend talked me into doing it - I did say no at first. I was worried about a few things, but instead I had a blast and time just flew by! :)

The instructor explain how stenciling works, and then she gave us a little 4" chicken to "practice" on. It took me about an hour.

I think I'll call her "Dotty the Lippy Chick". Or maybe it should be "Chicken DO have lips!" The cool thing about these stencils is that you can wash them, iron them and even leave them outside and they won't fade! They did suggest that you don't sew through the painted stuff though.

All it uses is regular white fabric/muslin, freezer paper, acrylic paint (yeah, the 97 cent stuff at WalMart!) and a pattern to trace from. Or you could buy stencils. Another idea to is buy a coloring book and trace those.

This is the main project on a 13 inch square piece of fabric. I was really ambitious and brought twenty-seven 13" square pieces... and only used one. D'oh! Well, the directions weren't clear... no biggie though. I'm going to cut them down to 6.5" squares and do more stenciling after I move.

For some reason it was harder to control the color on a bigger piece. In my chicken you can see shading and tones of different colors, but in my basket I'm pretty much one color through out each stencil part. But it still was so much fun!

Another perk about stenciling is that it's almost like embroidery or hard applique for people who don't have the skills or money to invest in those stuff. Two stenciling books are "Fast and Fun Stenciled Quilts" and "American Stenciled Quilts" both by Vicki Garnas. Currently they're available really cheap on Amazon - like 39 cents and $2.15. I did flip through them, but I think once you understand the method you'll want to come up with patterns of your own. I'm planning to buy a coloring book and make my own later by tracing the designs onto the freezer paper.

Tonight is prom night... and my poor husband is stuck chaperoning and cleaning up after the kids. I ran to the store after he left and I grabbed a bag of his favorite candy. I also did some cleaning up and vacuuming, just to make the place more "welcome home" like. Hopefully that'll cheer him up some. :)

And I've been packing. Oh, the packing! Shh... I packed fabric. That was hard to do... what if I need some?! But lets face it... I haven't even used my sewing machine in a week and half. Well, I did get a binding hand sewn through out the week. And I got some eggplant batik in the mail today. Let's not forget the 9 spools of Aurifil thread I ordered today. I'm on my VERY last spool of Gutterman thread. I swore off Coats and Clark because it linted up my machine like heck! :P I got blues, greens, pinks, purple, yellow and grey. Yeah. No black or white or neutral. I love scrappy quilts, and I also like using colorful thread. I will even put a different color in my bobbin, really helps me watch my tension too.

Hope you're all doing a lot of quilting for me - I don't see myself accessing the machine any time soon. I just wish it were May 19th already. I'll just load up my car in the meantime! :)


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We got it!!

We got a new apartment!! I'm thrilled! :)

It's a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, upstairs, vaulted ceiling with my own balcony (can you say garden?!) I'm excited!! :)

I already get one room for all my quilting stuff and the other room is the bedroom with an attached bathroom. The other great thing is that since we have two bathrooms I can use one for dyeing fabric in and my husband can shower in the other. No more trying to time around his showers or threaten that he can't shower for three days. I'm hyper!! :)

We can start moving in on May 19th. Like 2 weeks to move everything. I was only expecting a few days. And we also could have a pet (I want dog... he wants cat) of ANY size. Heck, a St. Bernard lives in the complex. Eeeee! Eeeee! Eeeee! :)


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Strawberries and Stenciling

Mmm! Strawberries are on sale for 88 cents per pound at my local store. Who can resist that?! ;)

I figured by the time the sale is over, I'll have consumed about 10 pounds of strawberries. Hrmm. Maybe I should buy even more so I can freeze them for my shakes. Toss in a banana and it'll be cheaper that what I've been buying at Costco.

And sometimes you just need to sweeten strawberries up - great way to do it is with low-fat/low-calories ice cream.

Definately more strawberries than ice cream in that bowl! I hope you're able to find some yummy fruits for sale in your area. :)

I order 2 bolts of Kona fabric - black and white through a friend. I also got 100 needles, yay! :) Now I don't have an excuse to try to stretch out my needles until they're just about tearing holes in my fabric.

This is how I "paid" my friend, with a check inside this envelope.

Since she's a Red Hat fan, what could be more appropriate for a lining inside?

And speaking of Red Hats - my friend runs the local chapter in this town and she's invited me to join in on one of their meetings tomorrow. They will be teaching us ladies how to sponge stencil designs onto fabric. At first I resisted - honestly I have NEVER taken any quilting class of any type. Completely self-taught with the help of books, internet and Yahoo Groups. Time to jump in! :)

I've already made cupcakes for the potluck (it's a 6 hour class) and I'm down to subcutting my freezer paper (haven't worked with it before) and my fabric squares. I did cut my thumb while cutting the fabric and had to take a break to let it bleed out - sorry blood doesn't agree with white! :P But I was really annoyed that it happened - and it wasn't over a dumb "I left my rotary cutter open again..." Nope. I was just bring the cutter down to the bottom of the ruler and d'oh! I sometimes wish I could use the rotary cutters with squeeze open handles. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they look like they favor right-handed people. It's just too hard for me to try to cut with the blade on the outside of the cutter.

Been a busy week. The Diamondbacks lost - boo! Taxes are out of mind, out of sight now. Onward to packing! Of course I'll sneak in quilting time if I have to. My husband is also going to get busier too - has the prom coming up at the end of this month. I probably won't see him for 3 days between the set up, chaperoning and take down. :( Then more fun with calling up parents of failing students (they fail his class, they can't graduate), lots of tests and grading. Then right after graduation, we get to put our muscles to use and haul our stuff down the block. Wanna help? ;)


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Garden and tibits

Thought you might as well know the story behind my web address "Leah's Garden". Garden currently to me means anything I'm growing, nourishing and giving love and attention to. It doesn't have to mean food or plants alone. :)

But... it did start with a plant garden. My parents moved to their current house in 2000 and spring 2001 I started my garden. We fenced off 44x56 feet of space from the deers. Yeah, I realize that's 2464 square feet of garden. And I live in a 480 SF apartment!!

The family split the garden into 4ths with pathway bricks - one for me, one for each of my sisters and one for my parents/brother. And I'm the one who used EVERY inch of their spot, as you can see. :)

Yup, it creep over the boundaries and snuck outside the fence. I loved it!! It's almost like a jungle with it's 3-D look. Corn, peas, squashes, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, pumpkin, morning glories and sunflowers grew in it. Definately the best garden I ever had.

Now you can see why my email address is "sunflowersinthegarden at gmail dot com". This is the picture that inspired it! :)

Other good news: (yeah, another list)

  • I've been doing plenty of quilting this week! I'm happy about that, but don't have too much to show yet.

  • I've been avoiding doing taxes... they're stressful! So I packed 4 boxes of books instead... that's good, right?

  • Funny how "hard" stuff can look easy compare to taxes! (Really procrasinting now...)

  • I finally plunked down my rear and started to tackle the taxes. About 3 hours later I found a HUGE mistake!

  • We didn't owe as much as we thought. I couldn't believe it! You mean I have been stressing and saving and avoiding taxes for over 2 months when it was nothing?!

  • My error: I took the standard deduction ($10,000) and then the next line was to multiply "dependants" by $3200. Well yeah, somehow I missed that line.

  • I was sooooooooo happy that I even cried a little in sheer relief.

  • We do owe on State taxes.... phhhhht! But it's well covered. :)

  • I was a good girl too, I promptly put as much as I could into savings - I want to buy a house!

  • Huge relief going on over here.

  • Other good news - my car renewal fee is a mere $228. Another whew. :)

  • Now I don't feel stressed out about buying plane tickets to see my parents this summer. But boy, Katrina really hiked the prices up on tickets!

  • My garbage disposal might not be working... umm. I might have been tired a few weeks ago when I was doing the dishes and unthinkingly grabbed a pan from the stove and started to dump its contents. And then let out a really bad word. It wasn't dirty water... it was cooking oil!!

  • This is a time when I want to be a little girl and say "Daddy... come and fix this." :P Eh, he probably wouldn't fix it per se, but show me how to. Yeah, but I don't plan on dumping more oil down the drain!! ;)

  • And still not over this cold. Neither is my husband and he's had it for over a week.

    It is just me? I've noticed quite a few other quilter bloggers have been declining in their posts. I guess spring has been calling to us! I'm sure when it gets too hot we'll happily park ourselves in front of the computer with a big cold drink and post... and maybe whine. ;)

  • Monday, April 03, 2006

    Mystery among other things

    I recently did another mystery quilt. Mine have had pretty good outcomes, so I actually like mysteries! I have to say, this must have been my fastest mystery too. I always select the smallest option, incase I don't care for the end results and want to get it over with. This mystery had a choice of scrappy or 2 colors.

    I picked 2 colors. Are you shocked? Hey, think of it as stash busting! I picked two batiks and one of them is rainbowed enough to almost count as scrappy. Picked the fabric from my stash on Thursday, cut some of it on Friday, cut and pieced on Saturday and Sunday I was just a few seams away from a top. :)

    I love this quilt!! I find it very eye pleasing and figure that I'll keep it and save it for a kid. Too pretty to give away! It's the Geese Tracks pattern, but several other names came up, like Wandering Foot. Easy to do and I can imagine myself making several more tops like this in my life. Heck, I'm already picturing a scrappy one. :) (See, you knew I couldn't really get away from scrappy!)

    Last Monday I pieced some blocks. Tuesday I had half a quilt top. Wednesday I was pinning and free-motioning it. Thursday all free-motioning done and now need to get binding on. But shame on me! No pictures! :( Hopefully I can have something to show next time I post. By the way, it's green and purple... imagine that! ;)

    And other random things:

  • Tomorrow is Tuesday sewing group - I've been cutting for black and hand-dyed star struck to work on.

  • My husband started to have a sore throat/stuffy nose Friday and still isn't over it yet.

  • Worse, he gave it to me. But drinking lemon water with honey has been helping.

  • Time to start packing for our end-of-May move! We think we found the apartment we want to live in. Can you say my own sewing room?!

  • Time to start doing taxes... gah! We finally saved up enough money to pay what we owe. Only took about two months!

  • I'm getting worried that I haven't gotten a car renewal bill for my car yet - the tags expire at the end of this month.

  • Eh, I don't WANT that bill to come though... it's another $300 we don't have. :P

  • I hope I don't make any of the ladies sick at the sewing group tomorrow!

  • I made a loaf of bread to bring tomorrow.

  • It's getting very hot here. Almost time to turn on the A/C. Nooooooooooooooooooooo.

  • I'll be going to the Diamondback's opening day next week.

  • Baseball is the only sport that I tolerate. :)

  • I'm thinking about making homemade soap. Meaning that I'll think and learn about it for several months, put some items on my Birthday and Christmas list and probably not have a batch until next year.

  • But DH doesn't seem to approve... and he reminded me of what happened in the movie "Fight Club". Ohhh. Eww!! If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. (If you haven't, lets just saying there was a messy incident involving a bag of human fat, high fences with barb wires on top and a big splat. Eww!)

  • It's almost enough to change my mind... but, nah. I'll probably try to buy some homemade soap first though. :)

  • Time for another cup of lemon honey water.

    And that's all folks! Can you tell that this cold is wiping me out? Don't catch it. :)