Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Design wall and details

Yay! Design wall is mostly up. I ran out of wall tacks, so there's a little Warm and Natural batting that's not hung yet... but it's mostly there!

Last night I had the idea to have "His'n'Hers" quilts. I've mentioned before that I'm working on a quilt for my husband and I figured I might as well turn my Scrappy Spools into a quilt for me. :) Both have 12" finished blocks and I'm planning to make 35 blocks for a 5x7 block setting. It should measure 60"x84" when pieced. Think I can get it finished this year? ;)

We turned in the keys to the old apartment today - I happily say goodbye! I spent over 4 hours grand cleaning the place... bleh! My husband said that we're not leaving our current apartment until we either move out of town or buy a house. Works for me! My arms groan every time I pick up something heavy. :P

We also went to a Hearing Center in town yesterday. My left hearing aid started making some weird sound - like a stuck horn on Monday. I'm afraid I broke down with my hearing aid. I just couldn't stop crying - looking back I realize that I unconsciously think of myself as a "disadvantaged hearing person". I've learned to work with my disability, so I generally don't feel out of place in the hearing world. Well, being without either hearing aids working properly... yikes. Meltdown moment there.

I just have never been placed in that situation, where BOTH hearing aids weren't working. I felt very afraid actually being DEAF. I was having no means of being able to hear and making it very frustrating trying to communicate (lip readers only actually pick up about 30% of what's being mouth and do lots of fill-in-the-blanks). I kinda felt like I was waking up blind. When I don't wear my hearing aids, it's my choice, but I always know that I CAN put them on and hear when I need to. Well, that was taken away from me on Monday.

The big culprit is heat and sweat. Moving produces a lot of sweat - but I was extremely careful not to wear them when doing loading/unloading. I did get a piece changed on my hearing aids, so hopefully that'll help some. But from now on, any time I'm doing to do something that might produce a little sheen... off they go! I'm dreading the monsoon season too - total humidity. :(

Sarah asked how I did the picture conversion in EQ5.
-Open EQ5, pull up or design the quilt you want
-On the left side there's a camera. Click on it, highlight the part of the quilt you want to convert as a jpg
-A screen will pop up (asking you what you want to do), click on the bitmap option and save
-Open up your regular photo editing program and just "Save As" as a jpg.

If there's another method... would love to hear it too. But this one works pretty good for me and I like how you could just select half of the quilt or even one block if that's all you need.

Still haven't gone to Home Depot for some PVC pipe yet - so nothing to report there. I did sew a little today, trying out some new blocks... but that's for another post! :)


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Whoo hoo!

My computer's online! Do I need to say more? ;)

Lemme catch up on my emails (Yahoo groups can really fill your box!) and then I should be back into a regular routine. Eh, as soon as the old apartment is all emptied and cleaned! We turn in the keys on Wednesday.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Uh oh

Hi! From the new apartment! Some good news, some bad news.

Bad news #1 The internet hasn't been cooperating for BOTH computers - something to do with the router? So currently my husband's computer has been the one connected. We're hoping to fix it tomorrow when his brother comes, but only time will tell! And to think that we used to share one computer successfully... :D

Bad news #2 My right hearing aid hasn't been working right. I'm hoping it's just a little dirty or something and can find a place to professionally clean it... but in the meantime I'm doing without and counting my blessings that my left ear is my good ear!

Bad news #3 Having expanded basis cable on the TV is causing me to park my butt on the couch too much! Especially since I don't have internet access on my computer. But... good news #1 should help fix that.

Good news #1 I can sew! I bought the other table today, set up my machine and I'm all set! I still need to get PVC for the table raisers (and I'll take pictures and tell you about my progress) but I'm thrilled to actually use my room - also thrilled that between the table and the PVC pipe, it shouldn't cost me more than $50 for "upgrading" my own sewing room!

Good news #2 All the big bad heavy stuff have been moved. Two days early too! Now just need to get the little bits of junk out and grand clean out the old place.

Good news #3 I can sew! Hey, it's worth repeating. And I also got the iPod set up, so I can listen to my music! Another blessing is that the arrangement of the iHome player is next to my LEFT ear... very important.

So, might be a few more days before I can get back into regular posting and being caught up on my messages... but I'm a hopeful girl! :)


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shhh... I'm supposed to be packing!

My husband is off to the graduation rehearsal (they call out every. single. graduate's. name!) and I'm supposed to be packing up the kitchen as best as I can.

But let's talk about my newly accquired skill! Somebody on a Yahoo group gave quick instructions how to switch an EQ5 project to a JPG picture. I opened up EQ5 to see if it was really that easy... and it is!

This is a quilt I want to make with a bunch of HSTs I have. I still need to trim them up since I started working on them BEFORE I got my WonderCut Ruler. Hopefully my proper height cutting table will encourage me to tackle projects in the waiting..

Speaking of cutting table... I'm gonna go ahead an get some PVC pipe and stick them up the legs. Now you have to realize that my husband has no handyman talents at all - it's all on me! (I knew this before I married him, and I just wanna say thanks Dad for all you taught me!) So I figured I'd buy a piece of pipe and a saw and cut them all the same length. And then if it's too tall, I can trim down as needed. Now would you suggest that I get a pipe that's fairly close to the leg size, or one way bigger? And should I get end caps or not? Don't want to venture into this completely blind! ;)

Another thing is that our internet cable might be up in the air for a few days... or weeks. See, our new apartment comes with expanded basic TV cable for free and they have a special agent for the complex that will make sure that we're not charged for TV cable when we're trying to hook up for internet cable. My husband tried to call the agent today, but she's out of town... so we're try again tomorrow. I know we'll have internet until Saturday for sure cuz my husband has a big game online Friday night. :)

A gratitude for today: the apartment people fixed all the stuff I complained about on Monday - disposal works now, we have an over-the-stove light and our silverware drawer won't flop out and give our toes a fast and painful death. Also the outside light that's on a timer should be working... but I'll have to find out whenever I'm there at night. :)


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sneak peek of quilting room!

Ahh, finally, we're getting somewhere. My quilting room is 75% set up. We've made 4 or 5 car loads and 99% of all it went to this room! :D

This picture is from standing in the doorway. The table set up is going to be used as a cutting table - I just need to find some way to raise up the legs. I've thought about bricks, but that'll be very painful to stub my toes on!

Left of the cutting table will be another table exactly like it for my sewing machine.

Below is going to be where my computer and printer will be. My computer table is about the size of the green bin in the picture. I conveniently have a cable hook-up right where the black fabric is.

Here's a view standing by the closet. I have the just-right amount of room to stand and comfortably turn between the ironing board and cutting table. I'm also thinking about hanging a piece of warm and natural batting above the ironing board for a mini design wall.

And see that white little box on the cutting table? In there are my good scissors and rotary cutter!!!!!!!!! Found! I'm so relieved. But I had to spend overnight without a clue where they might be! Not fun. :)

And you might as well see the "damage" I've been doing to the closet - stuffing it with fabric! This is the first time I've ever had most of my fabric all in one spot.

I had one of those "yikes" moments when I saw just how much fabric I have. Think I'll be able to make a quilt or two? ;) But I had to go to Bonnie's Stash page and to Ami Simm's Show me your stash to make me feel better - I don't have it THAT bad. :) But it was a little wake up call that perhaps I need to shop my stash first before buying anymore!

Hee hee - I think I've been posting more because I'm trying to avoid packing. Realistically I've been getting one car load over every night - when it's cool enough! My husband goes back home after unloading the car with me and I stay and unpack and organize. Doing it little by little has made this whole move not as overwhelming as it could be.

I know I won't allow myself to sew until we're all moved in - and with a room like that, I have great motivation to keep packing! Maybe I'll turn on my machine next week! :)

Other things happening today:
-bake some brownies cuz it's my husband's official birthday today
-pay bills and give change of address
-grade a test (160 students) that needs to be done by Thursday
-start to clean up where my sewing stuff used to be - TONS of little thread and fabric snips
-and pack. Have I mentioned that? ;)


Sunday, May 21, 2006

A moment of panic...

...realizing that you don't know where your rotary cutter or good scissors are... well, sure gets my heart beating faster! I bet I put them in some very safe spot too...

Wish me luck in finding everything afterwards! :D


Friday, May 19, 2006

Apartment Pictures

It's done! The lease is signed, we got the keys... time to start moving in!

This is the living room. Left is the front door, right is the porch. I love the porch! It's over 5x8 feet big. The ceilings are also vaulted in the living room. Great spot to hang some quilts, no? :)

Another perk about the porch is all the greenery. I love me some green. ;) I can't wait until I can get a real potted garden going.

The kitchen is pretty similar to our old one, except a little less counter space because we won't need to set up our microwave. And yes, there's a dishwasher, left of the sink.

Entering the quilting room!! I'm going to want to set up my sewing table right in front of the window. But I'm thinking maybe it'd be better for the ironing board to be there, catch a breeze and cool down. We'll see! :)

This was unexpected, a full wall sized closet in the quilting room. I'm thrilled - I can hide my stuff now. ;) Also I'll be using the left wall space for a design wall. And maybe even the closet door for blocks. Oh the possibilities! :)

Master bedroom - a bathroom to the right. I'm at such a bad angle that it looks super tiny! But worry not, I plan to try to keep this bedroom clutter free. At least on room in a house should be uncluttered. :) Oh, and the ceilings are also vaulted in this room.

That's all! We have a dining room corner, but it's really tiny and our round table is going to do poorly there. :( I think that's the biggest disappointing thing about the apartment.

And my husband warned me that his brother is going to love our new apartment - especially the porch part. I can easily imagine many hours this summer being spent on the porch listening to baseball games on the radio and his brother smoking a dozen cigarettes. Might as well buy him his own lawn chair. :D


Today's the big day!

We're signing the lease this afternoon and get to start moving our stuff! My car is full of quilting fabrics at the moment. Don't worry, I only put in stuff that can stand the heat.

This week has also been the last official week of teaching for my husband - zowie, I've logged in many hours of grading!! First it was about 500 articles (that's what it felt like!) that took about 4 or 5 hours. Yesterday it was grading the final - I kept checking off correct answers instead of the wrong ones! But it's all over with now. DH is entering the grades in today and then all that's left is cleaning up for the summer and graduation.

A gal was offering scraps from her stash and I eagerly took her up on it for the cost of postage. She filled 2 flat-rate priority boxes! I can't wait until I can start to play with it - think crumb blocks, string quilts, paperpiecing and good ol' scrap quilts! :)

The only other quilty thing that has been going on for me is sewing together light and dark 2.5" strips. Easy mindless sewing - just what I need this week. I'm dreading taking apart my sewing set up - I hate the idea of being unable to use my machine, but it'll be for my own good! :D

Other news is that my husband's contract got renewed - big relief for us since he isn't under tenure yet. But next year he will be!! Also he'll be celebrating his 27th birthday this Sunday. I'm planning to get him a subscription card to his computer game, some nail clippers and maybe a little something else if I can find it, cuz I sure don't know what it is yet. :)

Now I'm off to shower and get ready to go over to the new complex to sign the lease when my husband gets home. The camera is in the charger, so I'll be sure to take pictures! :)


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tribute to Mom

Happy Mother's Day!! I've been trying hard to get my mom hooked to quilting for a few years now. She absolutely loves to sew... she just struggles to find the time! So seems like the only times she does actually quilt is when I'm there.

Last summer I showed Mom the Quilter's Cache website and she was really taken with the Kaleidoscope quilt. Since I had installed EQ5 onto her computer from my previous visit, I created the basic quilt and showed her how to change the colors. She spent hours coloring and recoloring!

Finally we go to JoAnn's and that's where I'm really struck with the differents in our sewing styles. When I see fabric I'm like "ooh! Pretty! I like that and that and that!" And when scrappy is a favorite, it doesn't matter so much if they match or not. But Mom is like "ok, I like this fabric... let's see what I can match it with..." and she'll play musical bolts in the store. There's NOTHING wrong with that, I just don't have the patience for it. :P I'm like "well... if this doesn't turn out how I imagined, I'll just go back and try something else!" For Mom, her favorite part is picking the fabric colors.

The quilt colors did turn out very complimentary in her quilt and it makes me almost like red. ;) We took turns paperpiecing the blocks together. I wanted to make sure she got to try each part of the process so she could learn and understand. Teamwork really does make things so much easier! I would be sewing the pieces together, she would cut and trim and iron and then I would pin on the next piece. Easily cut the piecing time in half.

The borders are a little wonky... and I'm afraid that's all my fault. I know that you're supposed to measure in three spots and average it for borders... but let me make a huge confession: I never do that. I've just learned how to hold the pieces so-and-so and they still end up looking pretty square and no waviness. Well, I kinda forgot to explain to my mom that taking the papers off before putting the borders on can cause a lot of stretching. Ahh... live and learn! :)

I frantically sewed the layers together the night before I had to leave. That morning I showed Mom how to put binding on - you can see they're not sewn down in the picture. I did hear from my dad that night that Mom had already sewn half of the binding - and of course it's completed and used around the house now. :) (I think it's about 40" square).

I'm looking forward to seeing Mom again in July - I'm planning to teach her and my sister how to dye fabric. That'll be fun - you can never really control the color results. Even if you dye two of the same type of fabric with the exact same portion of dyes... they'll still come out looking unique. Will we make another quilt? I don't know, but I'm sure we'll have fun! :)


Sunday, May 07, 2006


Well, aparently whining does work. I whined that I hadn't touched my sewing machine in over 2 weeks... well that very night shortly after my last post I just HAD to sew! I didn't care what. Maybe I just wanted to use up some thread so I can get closer to opening my new thread stash. ;)

So I pulled out my hand dyed Star Struck quilt. I put together as many as I could (remember, cutting mat isn't available!) This is 1/4th of the quilt.

I'm planning to make it 12 blocks x 12 blocks. Yeah, 144 in all. It should measure about 96x96. A good queen size for somebody who likes big quilts. :)

But it felt so good to sew!! I finally felt like I was making a little time for me. Forget about the dishes. Forget about the books that need to be packed. Just spend a few hours at my machine piecing them together. I didn't even care about cropping off points or slightly off seams. I was sewing!! Score. ;)

My mom is taking some business class at her local college and for her final, she's doing a presentation on the FICO score. Apparently not so many people know what their FICO score is. My dad emailed Saturday morning asking if I knew what my FICO score was. I replied no, I don't know what MINE is, but I know what my husband's was 2 years ago. Then I explained that I'm not worried about mine because I've never bounced a check or missed a payment and so on. And then I went on to explain to my dad what he's mentioned to me about FICO scores. How certain things affect your score - timely payments, your income amount and even paying things ahead help up your score. I sent off my explaination email to both parents and then my dad emailed me back that night. He told me "Very good answer." and how he and my mom had a bet that I wouldn't know what the FICO score is... and my dad won! Ack! My mom had to take him out to dinner tonight to The Fish Market (yum! love their clam chowder soup). Sorry Mom!! Maybe Dad cheated a little... after all he was the one who explained to me what credit scores are - about 10 years ago! Score... for my dad. :P


Thursday, May 04, 2006


What are the non-fabric quilt-related items that excite you? For me it's probably dye powders and thread!

My 9 spools arrived today - they're the Aurifil 50wt 1422 yards spools. I've never sewn with this thread before, but I've heard so many raves about it. They did have to subsitute my grey for a lavender-grey, but otherwise, it's exactly what I wanted! The colors are darker than what they show on the website... but I know that all spools look darker until you just look at a single strand. Aren't they yummy colors? :)

I love scrappy quilts... so why not scrappy threads? Plus, the perfect way to check my tension. I can't wait until I can start sewing with them!! But...

Whew, this apartment is a bit of a mess. I haven't TOUCHED my sewing machine in over 2 weeks. Waaaaah! I won't be shocked if it tries to die on me the next time I boot it up... wouldn't you die from that much neglected?! 99% of my fabric is packed up too. I haven't see my cutting mat in over 2 weeks too! Eh, my ironing board is still visible. :P

At least everything is going smoothly with the apartment complexes. I gave notice to our current one without a hitch and all we have to do with our new one is sign the lease on the 19th and get our keys. Then we're off! I sure I'll be seeing a lot of sweat trying to move everything in 90+ degrees. But June is even worse, so better to do it now. July we'll get rain and relief. August and September get pretty darn hot too, but it doesn't have the painful dryness June holds. Believe me, I'll make sure I have plenty of cool water bottles during the move.

My arms are already sore, I hate to think how sore they're gonna get from moving boxes! But it's a good sore - it's from holding up quilts at my quilt guild yesterday. A gal was over to show us quilts she made - do they call those trunk shows? Well, hers was a suitcase show! :) But since I'm probably one of the tallest gals there (5'10"... or 70 inches. Every quilter knows inches better!) I got called up to help hold the quilts. It was fun seeing the gal's works up close. :)

Off I go to do some not-so-fun stuff, like packing books. Or dishes. But I'll just think of it as earning my keep for staying home. ;)