Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rainy Weekend

It's been threatening to rain for a while, and it looks to be turning out to be a rainy weekend. No downpours or anything like that (yet), just wet and chilly. A PSD: Perfect Sewing Day. Last night I made a pair of Timberlane Press First Choice Boxers for Calvin, and they fit well. I'm going to try the next size up, since I want them to last a while. Pictures will come later. He slept in them last night, unhemmed! I made him put a pair of RTW ones on this morning, so I could hem them. He likes mine better, because there are no tags, and they fit (the RTW ones are almost too big, but I haven't been able to find them any smaller).

In other news, Calvin and I planted some carrots on Thursday, and I weeded around the peonies and laid down mulch. That means there is one small section of the garden that looks nice! We bought a new van this morning, and I need to get up the nerve to drive it. It seems so big. I need to take it over to a parking lot and just practice.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Top

Some people have asked what is wrong with my top, because they can't see anything wrong with it. Nothing is wrong with my top, it's just not right for me. The colors are just off a bit -- maybe they need to be a bit stronger, or maybe if my hair wasn't pink. The fabric is really really stretchy, so it seems really loose. Honestly, the top is not bad, I just haven't decided if I like it.

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I don't sew for the end result. I sew for the process. I love the process so much, so even though I'm not completely sold on this top, I still had a good time making it, and I'm not dissapointed or crestfallen that I'm not in love with it.

I finished up the Chelsea Handbag pictured in the previous post, and wrote a review, with lots of detail photos. Next in the lineup is the start of another quilt, and I really should finish that pink jacket.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekend Stuff

This past weekend was really nice. Calvin and I went to the UWM Science Bag on Friday night, and learned all about the differences between lakes and oceans. It was a lot of fun, and Calvin got to create a tsunami. Afterwards we stopped for an ice cream cone at Culvers. On Saturday morning, we did a river cleanup in honor of Earth Day. It is so sad how much garbage people throw around. Caleb was gone most of the weekend, camping overnight with a Boy Scout troop.

Saturday afternoon I made this top. The first garment I've made this year! It had been cut out for ages, and I finally finished it. It's OOP KS 2643, and I think this one ended up too big. I think the fabric is really cool, but it's not "me". If you want more information, go read my review. I've made this top 4 times now, and all those photos are linked in the review.

I also made this Amy Butler Chelsea Handbag for a friend for her birthday. I used some leftover fabric I had laying around from a different bag. I think it's darling, and I also think I have enough to make the tote version (for me!). It went together beautifully. I changed a few construction techniques, and I'll be writing a review for it in the next few days (Review is here -- step by step pictures of how I did the handles are there).

Today was just gorgeous (70 degrees), and after getting our studies done, we walked to the library and then met a friend and her kids at the park. Tomorrow is supposed to be crummy, so I'm glad we got outside today.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


One thing I love as much as fabric/fiber arts (and shoes but we won't go there now), is books. It is not possible to have too many books, is it? I am blessed to live in a city with a great library system. I can search the entire county system online, reserve my books, tell them which library to send them to, and get an email when they arrive. Is that great or what? Lots of times I look up books on Amazon, and then open up another browser window to check if the library has it. I love it.

Right now I have Organizing Your Craft Space checked out (I picked it up on Friday), and I think I'll have to buy this one. Some great inspiration and ideas. You can get it as a bundle with Where Women Create, which the library system doesn't have yet, but I have heard good things about that book as well. My friend Jennifer has been getting into Precious Metal Clay, so I have about 4 books on that checked out, with 2 more coming. David thinks the PMC is really really cool, so I'm sure we have a new hobby. Can you imagine -- you could MAKE the perfect buttons for that perfect jacket!

One more site I want to share with you: Library Elf. This is a fantastic site. It keeps track of all the library cards you enter into their system. Both my older two boys have their own library cards, and I have mine. When we go to the library, we all check out multiple books. We also go at least once a week. I used to get on the CountyCat and check each card, manually entering each number, logging in, checking the list, logging out, entering the next number, etc. Well, Library Elf takes care of all that for me! It emails me 3 days before books are due, emails me when holds are ready for pickup, emails me if we have overdue books and each email has a consolidated list of all the books that are checked out, ready for pickup, etc. ALL the books, for each of our cards. Do check it out (hee hee, little pun there), and if your library system is there, consider signing up; it's free and has been wonderful for us.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring Break

We decided to have our spring break this week. Other than the boys' spanish class, we've done hardly any studies. It's been nice! I've been catching up on the housework and doings some spring cleaning. Yesterday I tackled the boys' room. It wasn't that bad, but I still had stuff piled in their closet from my dad, including 4 big display boards that we had covered with pictures for his funeral. Finally I took all the photos down (I didn't even cry) and put them in envelopes so they will flatten. Someday I'll put them in photo albums or maybe even make a simple scrapbook. Their room is looking great now! I still have a few things to clean out from the top shelf in the closet, and I'd really like to get that done by the weekend. I also found a slide projector, a movie projector (remember those 8mm movies from the 1970s? one of those), and what I think is a short wave radio.

We went to the Milwaukee Art Museum this afternoon. On Wednesdays, it's free for county residents. I hadn't been there since the Calatrava addition, and I must say, the lobby area is just breathtaking. Heck, even the underground parking lot and elevator are way cool! It was nice to walk through and see all the art, especially the ancient Greek and Roman stuff, as we just finished a study of ancient Greece, and just started on ancient Rome. Calvin's only observation of the whole thing was he wanted to know what was up with all the naked people.

Monday, Calvin asked me if I had "one of those things that you push the buttons and it makes words". It took me a bit, but I figured out he meant a typewriter. I said we did have one, so he begged for me to get it out. Of course, I did, and you would have thought I had uncovered the Ark of the Covenant! They played on it all day on Monday ("Mama! I bet none of our friends have a typewriter! This is so cool!"). They made notes, a newspaper, signs for a lot of the doors, play money, and whatever else they could think of. Every time one of their friends comes over, they have to bring them into the dining room to see The Typewriter. :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Clifford's ABC

Normally I don't name my quilts, but this one just seemed to need one. I finished it on Saturday morning, stitching the label on whilst sitting in the car as everyone else hid eggs. It was ooohhed and aaahhed over quite a bit. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, though I think the little red patches get a little lost amongst the little Clifford dogs. The winner thought it was cute, and was going to give it to her 2 year old grandson. I am happy it is going to a child, and I hope it gets lots of love.

Isn't the backing fabric cute -- little dog bones! I bound the quilt in black, and had that all finished by Friday night. I slipstitch it onto the back by hand, and I do find it very calming and therapeutic to sit on the couch and stitch. I put the binding on and started the handwork on Thursday.

Here is a progress photo of the quilting. Normally I don't quilt my own quilts, because I don't like to do it. However, I made this quilt in a month's time, and didn't have time to take it in the shop. It turned out pretty good, though I can see all the mistakes (isn't that always how it is?). I do my quilting kinda backwards, in that I have the quilted part behind the foot, instead of in front. My sewing machine light burned out, and the shadows made it harder to work also. I started the quilting on Saturday the 8th, and had it finished by Wednesday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ooooh, pretty!!

Today I thought I would show you some of my sewing pretties. I like pretty things, and nice tools, and my opinion is you should have the best and enjoy it too. I know I could use a bamboo stick, but isn't this rosewood stiletto prettier? (I got it from Wendy Schoen Designs. She carries a lot of pretty needlework tools) The thimble holder I found in a local yarn shop. The pinwheel was made for me by my friend Terri, in Australia. The dragonfly is embroidered onto silk duppioni. The other side is plain. Isn't it just darling? Calvin likes it a lot too, and likes to take it and play with it.

Here are my embroidery scissors. Terri gave me the scissors with the tassels for Christmas this year. It was so much fun opening the box ("Ooh! Ooh! Pretty!"). She made the tassels, and also gave me a book on tassel making. I hope to get some ones made for my regular shears. The cheetah enameled embroidery scissors were a treat to myself a few years ago. I love animal prints, need I say more?

The little tin is where I keep my extra pins (I have a pincushion, but it's boring. I hope to make a dress form pincushion someday). It's cute, with designs on the inside as well as the outside -- the boys always like to find the little mice hiding in the straw on the inside. Terri also made the stumpwork butterfly in the jar lid. I use the jar to keep my open safety pins for quilt work. She loves to embroider (she also sent a stumpwork berry design that I need to make into something. Or just frame it), and I really wish she didn't live on the other side of the planet. I would love to sit with her and have her teach me all the pretty embroidery.

I like to sit and do handwork, and the pretty tools just make it that much more pleasureable for me. Terri -- thank you so much for all the lovely things. They remind me of you every day, and put a smile on my face. :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


All the quilting on the Clifford quilt is D-O-N-E! phew! I have a slight headache, and my forearms are sore. Normally I wouldn't crank the quilting out this fast, but I have a deadline you know. All that is left is to put the binding on and the label. I'll get a picture up tomorrow, so I can also show off some of my sewing pretties.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday Monday

This past weekend was pretty good. I got most of the quilting done on the Clifford quilt, all that is left is to quilt the borders and put the binding on. I have until Saturday morning to have it completely finished. We went to the zoo yesterday for about an hour (it was free day, and was packed). The weather was beautiful, and I bought some new rain boots, so I mucked in the garden, cleared out brush and leaves, and filled 3 lawn bags. Hopefully I can get some compost this week and we can plant our carrots soon. We got our tax returns from the accountant, and are getting a refund (a nice change from last year!), which should pay for the fence. I need to call the digger's hotline to have the wires marked.

It's gorgeous today, so after lunch we are going to walk to the library and probably stop at Winkies for a treat. The boys are excited to start our study of Ancient Rome, and hope to find a bunch of good books. We finished Stuart Little, and need to get another read-aloud book for bedtimes. I hope to work some more on the quilt tonight, and maybe fill another lawn bag with leaves. I really really really want to get this yard looking nice this summer.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Another Swing Bag

I finished this Swing Bag last night. It's for my mother, for her to use as a baby shower present. I had the fish print in my stash, and found the batik at my local quilt shop. Originally I wanted to pick a green, but didn't find one that made the print pop. The orange was the best choice, and I do like it. This one also has an inside pocket. I've made at least 6 of these bags now, and am getting pretty good at them. I should make one for myself!

I bought some more fabric this weekend. Friday there was a fat quarter sale at the quilt shop: $1/FQ, but you had to buy in multiples of 10. Of course, I found 10 FQs. Then on Saturday I bought some fabric for a baby sling -- a present for a co-worker of Dh's. My yardage in/out stat is getting dangerously close to being out of balance. :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Weekend Progress

I didn't get as much done as I wanted. I am almost finished with the Clifford Quilt top, it just needs two borders. My goal was to have it completely finished, so I'm not too far off. I'm not wild about it, just kind of 'meh'. The little red patches got a bit lost, as they are almost the same size as Clifford. I'll reserve final judgement for when it's completely done, and besides, it has to do, because I don't have the time or inclination to make a different one.

The Amy Butler Swing bag I'm doing for my mom (for a baby shower at her work) is all ready to stitch together. I had hoped to have that done as well. I always get screwed up with the spring time change ("Spring ahead one hour"). That lost hour is missed! I hope to get some work done on it today.

Off to get the boys up and start our studies. We're planning to go to the Mitchell Park Domes this morning, as it's free for residents on Monday mornings. It'll be nice to get out; it's raining, and pretty much has been off and on since Friday afternoon.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fourteen Years

Fourteen years ago, in Scottsdale, Arizona, it was pouring rain. It was raining so hard that one could have taken a shower outside! I was told then that rain on your wedding day was good luck, so I guess we got a lot of it! I think people just make that up to make you feel better that it's raining. Originally, we had planned an outdoor wedding, but ended up inside instead, in this lovely avocado green 1970s courtroom. This was a last minute change, and the only people that got to see our actual ceremony were the people that came with us, so quite a few people thought we pulled an April Fool's joke. That's my friend Kelly on the left, and David's brother, Steven, is on the right. After the ceremony we had a lovely dinner reception in a nearby french restaurant, in their garden house. (yes, I made my wedding suit. More pictures here)

David and I met in November 1988, in Long Beach, at college. Three weeks later I went home with him for Thanksgiving at his mom's house. The following Christmas, when this photo was taken, he came to Wisconsin to meet my family, and then I went to Iowa to meet the rest of the family, where this picture was taken. Man, we look like children! After getting married, we moved here to Wisconsin. The first winter, David figured he was insane to live here, and then when we had a snowstorm on our first anniversary, I thought he might leave!

Time has treated us well. We've had our good times and bad times, and are happier now than ever before. I love him more and more each day. I love how he smells after his morning shower, I love his sexy hands, I love watching him play with the boys, and I love it when he fixes breakfast. (yes, I made this dress too)

We've aged well together, and I look forward to many more years with this man. He puts up with my quirks (the purple hair, goofy glasses, sewing addiction), I put up with his (the video games, extra super spicy foods, more clothes than any one person should have). Normally we don't give presents to each other, but today I gave him The Essential Johnny Cash. Later on, he's going to take me shoe shopping for some new running shoes, and we'll probably get some nice takeout for supper.

I love you, babe!