Saturday, April 26, 2008

Home Improvements

Today was spent trying to improve our lifestyle a bit. We have officially decided to stay in this apartment for another year (was considering a new teaching position), so I figured I had a right to make holes in the wall for signing a new year-long lease for the third time. ;)

Both my husband and I enjoy cooking. It can be frustrating in our small kitchen, but we're learning how to organize things in our favor. So today I put up our new spice rack.

Yes! We do use all those spices. :) It's our "active" spices. There's a handful more in the cupboard above the sink, but we haven't used them in a while and probably should throw them out.

We get our spices from three sources. One is our local grocery store, Fry's Food & Drug. The spices with an orange post-it taped on them are from Sprouts, a store in Tucson that offers spices in bulk. It's a great way to get exactly what you need, be 1 teaspoon or 1 cup of a spice. I found the perfect containers for them from Ikea. The spices that we use a lot are bought from Costco. Who can beat 100% pure vanilla for $5.99?! ;)

The rack was purchased at Lowes Home Improvement for $18. Best of all, there's room for some more spices. :D

There's no pictures... but we enjoyed a lovely meal of BBQ'ed shrimp and mushroom kabobs, some beef (can't remember the cut) and corn. It was my first time eating BBQ'ed corn and it tasted GREAT! We'll definitely be having more BBQ'ed corn on the cob in our future.

Next up... the table we bought from Ikea, and I still haven't put it together! It's becoming a mountain out of a molehill in my mind. At least I cleared out the area where we're gonna set up the table. That's a start, right? Right? :P


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Ending

I never got around to telling you what happened to the Puss In Corner quilt. Yeah, the one that I was delayed on for a month because my machine had to go to the sewing machine doctor. :P

Once I got my machine back, it went fairly well... til I was almost done with the border.

D'oh! Yes, quilter's version of Murphy. "You'll run out of bobbin thread with less than 2 inches left to quilt." And it happened on my Trip Around The World quilt too. I want a machine that uses regular spools for the bobbin. ;)

The completed top, before washing. I always like to wash my quilts before I send it off.

The only quilt I can think of that I haven't washed is my Tubular Rainbow, cuz it went into the quilt show and I wanted it to lay really flat. And I haven't figured out how to block a quilt yet. The need for a flat surface in a 650-square-foot apartment kind crimps my desire to figure it out. :P

I did a meander in the blocks part of the quilt; a loopy line in the flower border, and my attempt at vines and leaves.

Mary was the one who suggested vines and leaves in a comment, and frankly it sounded easier than trying to do free-hand feathers as I originally planned. :)

A shot of the back. I love using the 60" hand dyed fabrics for backings! Just gotta iron them and then they're ready to be used.

I had some minor tension issues, but mostly I was trying to get reacquainted with my sewing machine and the "new" adjustments on the tension. Instead of free-motioning with a tension of 1-2, it's now like 6-7. Almost like the Bernina guy "flipped" my tension around. 3-4 is what works for piecing, both before and after my machine went to the shop.

What did I do with the quilt? I had a random giveaway on one of the forums I frequent. Over 50 ladies put their name in, and one lucky gal got hers pulled out of the bowl! I asked her to share pictures of her with the quilt when it arrived...

She one-upped me by showing this absolutely adorable picture of her son in the quilt! I love it! :)

At least I know this is one quilt that's gonna live happily ever after in their family. :)


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

TATW updates

I left off on Saturday night, hoping to have a quilt top. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

I was 3 seams away from being finished (I did do some more sewing after taking the above picture). But I was starting to make mistakes, so I made myself stop and go to bed.

Sunday was busy with church, laundry - including putting it away. Kinda rare for me to get to that right away. No sewing that day.

Monday was mostly baking. I had to clean the kitchen first, then I started on some whole wheat bread. I'm still so appreciative of the grain grinder my mom generously gave me!

You can see the bread rising. As it was actually baking, I took time to finish sewing the Trip Around the World into a top.

For dinner we had curry chicken and brown rice. First time I ever used curry in cooking.

I took a bite and at first I was like "mmm... this isn't too spic-- MILK! GIMME MILK!" What can I say... I'm a wimp. ;) But yes, it's a meal that we'll be seeing again in our future. Easy, flavorful, healthy. I'll just make sure there's plenty of milk on hand.

Tuesday I sewed the borders on TATW, put some pork in the crockpot and watch a woman win the Biggest Loser for the first time. :)

Today I cleaned and vacuumed the living room floor so I could pin the quilt.

I'm pleased with the results, things are moving a long at a good pace. I did have to open a new box of safety pins. Probably could have gotten away with pinning every other square. Pinning took about 45 minutes in all. A little longer than the time it takes to load a flat quilt onto a long arm machine.

Bah. I shouldn't day dream about having a long arm, we don't have the ROOM. Or the money. :P But the room is the bigger factor right now.

My goal is to get this quilted and bound by Sunday! :)


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trippy Fun

This past week I've been thinking about starting another Trip Around The World, or TATW as so many quilters shorten it to. :)

The theme is basically girly and butterflies. I just started grabbing fabrics from my closet and had this selection in no time.

Judy's also holding another Quiltathon, looks like I get to join!

Now the question is... will I have a top by the end of the day or not? :)


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The new lamp

On Sunday my husband and I bought a new lamp for the bedroom. There's a switch near the door, but I didn't figure out what plug socket it belonged to until after rearranging the bedroom.

It's so great! We paid $25 for it at WalMart. It's got 3 shelves - you can see that I use one to put my quilting hand work on it. Scissors, thread, needles, clippings. I also got an extension cord so we could put the lamp by my side of the bed. I've really struggled to get enough light at night time for hand sewing... that's fixed now! :)

And you can see the Puss in Corner quilt, which I'm still sewing down the binding. Didn't get a chance to do it today, as I was busy cleaning the bathroom and making bread. :)


Monday, April 07, 2008

Three months to cave

It took a good three months this year, but it finally happened...

...I bought some fabric. :) 2.5 yards of this luscious teal flower batik. Yes, I cleaned the bolt off. :D (And to my sister Andrea... thank you for the JoAnn's gift card!)

I also bought 8 yards of Kona black fabric, but I'm not counting that, as it's kinda essential in MY stash. ;) Like thread. You gotta have thread to quilt, I gotta have my black.

This is the first time since March 2 that I've been able to report any changes in my stash, negative or positive! It's so nice having my sewing machine back!!


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Look what's back!

Yes! My sewing machine. :) I picked it up yesterday, and now I'm hoping to finally finish the Puss In Corner quilt today. Took a whole month longer than expected!

When I dropped off my machine, I asked them to tell me how many hours were on it. I believe my machine is about 10 years old, they started making this model in 1998-2000. I bought it on eBay a little over 3 years ago. Guess how many hours are on it?

Only 62 hours!

What?! You mean that I've only actually sewn for 62 hours? Well... considering that I've had the machine for only 1/3rd of it's life, it might only be 20 hours. I understand that it's only counting the actual time the needle is moving up and down... but still! Either I'm a very fast quilter (flooring the pedal the entire way?), or I haven't made as many quilts as I thought.

*off to count all the quilts on my blog that were created by the Bernina*

I have completed (as in from piecing to binding) 28 quilts on my machine for SURE. And I'm not even counting the quilt my sister's quilt that got long armed. I didn't even bother counting the quilt tops, but I know I have at least 30 works in progress.

I'm just stunned. I can't decide if it's because it's so little hours on my machine, or if it's because the actual needle-moving time is so little to make so many quilts. I guess it's kinda like how you can go to school for 6 hours a day, but your pencil probably only writes for about 15 minutes.

On the bright side, if I ever want to sell my machine, I can brag that it has less than 100 hours. :P


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Time on my hands

So what do you do when the kitchen is clean, you've folded some fabric, you're tired of crocheting... why, have a bedroom remodel! ;) The idea popped into my head late at night. I couldn't fall asleep. So I figured I'd rearrange the bedroom, and I specifically did it on April Fool's Day, and told my husband that he was gonna get a surprise on Tuesday. That made him really nervous! :D

Before: Everything was just kind of pushed around the walls, including the bed. Which made it impossible to make the bed and hard to open the windows. We've done it this way for 2 years.

And a whole pile of mess! Yes, the real and unedited version. Yikes...

And a couple hours of work with a deadline (before my husband got home!), I flipped things around and made the room BED centered.

Now opening the window is so much easier. And it looks like a little cozy corner, not a pile of clutter.

I couldn't believe the amount of trash that came up! Apparently I'm really lazy about throwing away the containers of my contact solution and old medicine. I also threw away some icky clothes and packed up another box of still-good stuff for the thrift store.

I also emptied out 5 boxes of stuff. Some of it was books, some of it was lotion and candles, some of it was music CDs. I know some of boxes were because we were feeling the pressure of moving by the end of our lease and we'd just toss it all in haphazardly...

My husband's reaction? Very surprised and then very pleased. He likes the changes so much more than I expected.

Now gotta keep it clean! :)