Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The secret revealed

I can spill the beans now! My husband's birthday quilt:

I made him a bright and cheerful summer quilt. Really thin polyester batting. He's been happily sleeping under it since! :)

A shot of the back:

I did big loopies in the blocks and stars and loops in the border. This was a surprisingly "cheap" project - the fabric for the quilt came from Walmart's $2 pile, the backing is a piece of hand dyed fabric that's muslin from JoAnn's. Add in the batting and the thread, I spent less than $30 out of my pocket for it, but MANY hours putting it together.

And no, I don't mind that I used "lesser" quality fabrics, as thin and lightweight was my intent for this quilt. He's married to me, I can always make him another quilt if he "loves" this one to death. ;)

School's out and we've been settling into a routine. The alarm is set for 8:30, but we seem to get up on our own a little after 8. Then we go to the gym, eat breakfast and settle into the day as we wish. Usually we take turns with dinner or sometimes we both participate - I prepared the pork, he did the rice tonight.

On Tuesday my husband dropped his computer off to a shop - it's been shutting down, showing the blue screen of death and other funky stuff. Not good, especially since his computer is almost 3 times the cost of mine, but only 2.5 years old, whereas mine is 5 years old and I still haven't gotten the blue screen of death. :P (But I did back up all my goodies in the beginning of this month!)

So we're dealing with that, but very thankfully it looks like between the cleaning, diagnostic scan and the upgrades (more ram and a better video graphics card) it'll be $500. Much better than the $1000 he was guessing or the new $3000 computer he was eying as a replacement! ;)

Today I "went to town" - a.k.a. Tucson. Very short-timed decision, but we realized it'd be best/easiest if I just went today. First I went to the Sunflower Farmers Market and was pretty impressed. They have great sale prices (white peaches .97lb, onions .33lb, large artichokes .77each, brown coconut $1.29) and Wednesdays are their double ad days. It was hectic! :) Now I want a store like that to come to my town. Oddly enough, it'd probably be a better deal than having a Trader Joe's here.

Speaking of Trader Joe's...

I got some creamed honey. It's white-ish and almost fluffy looking. I've really been trying to branch out into eating more "naturally", as in no boxed or frozen meals. But fruit, veggies, whole wheat, and goodies like this honey. My goal isn't organic or vegetarian, but aiming for less processed foods in our lives.

Two perks is that I'm starting to lose weight again (I basically bounced up and down between 5 pounds since November) and my husband's actually working on eating healthier. As a kid he'd sit at the table all night long and still not eat his veggies. Totally a "potatoes and meat" kind of guy. Now he's really branching out and exploring in the food area. I won't push him (or else he'd be eating salad by now ;), but I'll keep encouraging him to make baby steps towards better health.

He's gonna be so hot and healthy on his 30th birthday next year! ;)


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oops! But don't blame me.

I've roughly added 45 more yards to my stash. But it's not my fault! ;)

The gal that I bought the 301 Singer Machine from used fabric to lovingly protect the machine as it traveled from Indiana to Arizona.

The nice part is there's several big pieces - up to 4 yards. They'll make great backings. Lots of kiddie prints too. I'm sure I'll find a way to use them sooner or later.

Good thing I'm not trying to reduce my stash by 100 yards of fabric for the year, this would have seriously set me back! :D


Saturday, May 17, 2008

A new machine for me!

I bought a "new" machine! From a fellow quilter who gave me a great price on it. It's a Singer 301, made in the 1950s. I haven't looked for the exact date yet.

I've spent a few hours today getting to know my new toy. I cleaned it, oiled it, figured out how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine up. Sewed on some scraps to figure the tension, and it's good as gold now! :)

Here it is next to my Bernina. Slightly smaller, weighs less... but the Singer has all metal parts! Well, the pedal foot feels like it has some plastic on it. ;)

I'll probably continue to use my Bernina for the most part. I know that machine well, it's got lots of extras, and the knee lift. I'm so addicted to using the knee lift. I kept swinging my right leg for the imaginary knee lift on the Singer. :P

The Singer is a simple straight-stitch machine. It doesn't even have a free-arm for sleeves and stuff. Eh, not that I ever sew sleeves these days. ;) No zigzag, I haven't figured out how to use the reverse option yet. Nor did I experiment to figure out how to drop the feed dogs. I only have one foot (and one bobbin), so I'm limited to piecing for the most part, but that's exactly why I wanted another machine. So I won't go into panic mode whenever my Bernina lands itself into the shop, be for regular cleaning or something more serious. I will also use the Singer to take with me when I sew with other quilters. Hauling the Bernina for a few hours of sewing can be a real pain. Plus the computer chips in it make me nervous. With the Singer? I just better not drop it. ;)

From the back of the owner's manual:
For Your Protection
Singer sells its machines only through Singer Sewing Centers, identified by the Red "S" on the window, and never through department stores or other outlets.
Ha! They don't make Singers like they used to. ;)


Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Dancing Time!

I just went online to check the status of one of my husband's student loans...

And it's almost paid off!!! *squeal!* I wrote the check for $1487.00 even though the balance said $1486.75. Just couldn't keep up with the interest. So do you think I should write a check for $.63 or $.64? Or $.65 just to be sure?! :P

Well, the next payment isn't "due" until July 8, 2013. Now you know where our stimulus check went. ;)


I'm working on a secret

My husband's birthday is this month, and I've been working on his gift. In fear of blabbing it on my blog, I've been staying away! I don't think my husband reads it though... but if he does, he'll probably have a good idea what it is! :P On the other hand, I was able to surprise him with his Christmas quilt even though I had been visibly working on and off for 10 months. So there's hope. ;)

First off, some recent goodies.

The Tried and True book came from Stephanie, who loves it enough to have three copies! She generously had them up for grabs and I tossed my name in. It's already sparked an idea or two. ;)

Galaxy came from Suzanne, who was hosting a giveaway on her blog. I didn't think I had a chance, but piped up and said I really liked Galaxy. Well! I won! :D Don't you think it'd look great with black background and hand dyes? :)

Last Friday I was at a "get together" with some fellow quilters and one of the ladies had some extra sets of Eleanor Burn's Quilt in a Day small geese ruler set. I was hemming and hawing at purchasing them (at a discount), until my friend pulled out some very beautiful (and tiny!) rows of geese. "Sold!" I told her. :)

But I'm not perfect. ;)

I had to go to WalMart for a few needed things... but I'm afraid 3 yards of this batik with gold crackles clearly fell under "wanted". But hey, I talked myself down from buying 4 yards to three. Progress? :D

While passing time at my in-law's house yesterday, I worked on the Trip Around the World binding.

I haven't worked on this in a few weeks, as I was distracted by my husband's birthday gift.

Here's the back, talk about bright! I did wavy furrows up and down the quilt, but I'm wondering if I should do them across too. What do you think?

The good news is that the whole quilt busts about 5.5 yards.

So more fabric still going "out" than in... but I've been planning my trip to my parents house, and a lot of you know that means we'll be dyeing more fabric!! Since we're planning to drive up this time, instead of fly, I intend to bring my sewing machine with me. We haven't done any real quilting since summer 2005. Seems like dyeing and other events take higher priority! ;)