Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well Christmas is just about over. Surprisingly, I'm not asleep in bed yet- Kevin is out cross country skiing (he left at 9:00!) and I'm waiting up for him. So I thought I'd do a bit of a recap.

We stayed in Iowa for Christmas, and like all our Midwest Christmases, there wasn't much to this one. This was probably the sparsest yet- in Ohio, we usually put up stockings, but here in Iowa we haven't decorated yet. Usually Kevin makes a gingerbread house, but this year we didn't. So our house it was really more a 4-day weekend with gifts (my sister jokingly told me this is the best kind of weekend.)

So what were the gifts:
The number 1 gift: A serger!
Mom and Dad (who got me a sewing machine when I was a little girl -one of my favorite Christmas memories, I'll tell it at the end of the blogpost) got this for me. I feel like a real "sewist" (apparently the community doesn't like "sewer" I guess I understand why, and "seamstress" or "tailor" all have specific conotations, or something). I managed to break a thread pretty quickly, but Kevin came to the rescue and figured the instructions out to get it rethreaded very easily. Then I played with the settings, and set it to do a rolled hem. I'm making a headscarf in a floral batik to wear on my vacation. Nothing wrong with the one on my head, but I wanted something more Carribean :)

So what else did I get? Lots of sewing stuff.
My MIL gave me a $35 gift certificate to and I bought 2 yards each of
a daisy design and a pink fabric that caught my eye. (GRRR! Both are on sale now for $7.50 a yard! I paid $10!!!)

And she got me 3 Jalie patterns! 2 knit tops and jeans! The knit tops will be made out of cheap fabric first (to test the serger) then the Gorgeous Fabrics are earmarked for them. The jeans- well they might sit in the stash for awhile, but what a dream to be able to make ones that fit tailor made! (I found a woman in town that gives lessons... I'd need them for this project!)

Of course I got a few stocking stuffers- chap stick from Burt's Bees Wax, a Glee calendar, and two giant vanilla tootsie rolls (LOVE THEM).

I always got a horrible back ache from shoveling a TON of snow- I mean a TON. Where did this all come from? And I got very very homesick. I'm very excited about the upcoming cruise (and very glad that we have some family coming along- my BIL and SIL) and I know I can't go on vacation and go home for Christmas, but when Kevin left for the night I just broke down. I hate missing family Christmas, I hate living so far away from my family and so many of my friends, and I hate knowing that my 2 of my nephews and my niece will never again have a first Christmas, and missing one where the older nephews on each side had a great joy in receiving gifts and playing with them. (Not sure they have great joy in Santa- at least one of them is very unsure about the whole idea.)

Hey! It's 11:00 and Kevin's home from skiing! So I'll sign off now. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, with a bit less lonelyness than I did...

*Favorite Christmas memory: As children (and still) we were quite spoiled on Christmas, always lots of presents, and always the ones we want. One Christmas (maybe I was 8ish? I don't know for sure) neither my sister or I got the "big" gift we asked for. We of course were thrilled with what we did got, but I know I was, and she probably was, secretly a little sad. We went to the kitchen to help prepare Christmas breakfast. My Mom went into her room to grab something, and she starts yelling hysterically "Mark (my Dad) I left the water on in the tub! The bathroom is flooding!!! Come quick, bring towels, I need help cleaning this up." I figured this out right away- I'm not sure if it's true, but I remember my sister running for towels. But NO- I knew there was no flood... hopefully there was a sewing machine, and sure enough, I ran to the bathroom and in the tub was not a ton of overflowing water but our "big ticket" gifts- my sewing machine, and my sister's rabbit fur coat. In hindsight, it may be very possible these weren't the gifts we got that year, but that's what I remember. (I say that because I was 8 in 1990, and I'm not sure fur still would have been in fashion by then. Maybe that was when she got her leather jacket...)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Latest quilt top...

This one is for my friend Sarah's baby, due in January. I'm doing it in Aggie Maroon and White (I asked ahead of time, she's fine with the theme. The back will be actual A&M fabric I've had since college. I think it was supposed to be pajama pants, but never quite made it.)

I like the design- it's very bold, and I think bold geometric designs are good for babies- stimulating. Unless of course it's used for a nap. LOL.

Now for the part I don't like- actually quilting the thing! (Why can't people just get tops?) I'm not really sure what to do for the pattern. I'll probably just stitch in the ditch, but with all the turns, it's going to be a pain. I'm also worried that that won't get the quilting close enough, because it's been ironed so that it will wrinkle when it washes, for a vintage look. So I was thinking that I might do straight lines across the quilt on every other square. I just need to decide if I should quilt in maroon or in white- since you'll be able to see if I do the design across the squares. Probably white- since I have a lot of that thread, and the weather won't let me go get anything else!

In other exciting news, Andi (the one who got the rainbow quilt) had her baby girl!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blanket Update

I am now (counting the end triangles) 300 squares into the blanket :) I had estimated 700-800 squares, so I'm not quite halfway... this thing may never end.

Today I spent most of the day piecing a quilt- hopefully it will be quilted over the holiday and then I can send it on to Sarah. I like the piecing design a lot, but am not sure how the quilting will go... that's always the hard part.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quilt for Andi's baby...

Andi, who I've been friends with since middle school is expecting her first baby. As soon as I heard, I knew she'd need a rainbow quilt. This one certainly isn't perfect, but I'm mostly happy with it. I always hope the lack of perfection will mean my quilts get used, and not tucked away for safe keeping.
I quilted the baby's initials into the design. If they end up naming her something else (not M), I'm safe, as her last name is W, so it can be looked at from either side. Otherwise, I don't think I'd ever do this, because there is just too much chance for change.
And, of course, the back of the quilt, to show the quilting. I'm not too happy with it- my machine was having major tension problems. I do like how the rainbow thread looks on the black background.
Now I need to make a quilt for my best friend since I was 2- who is expecting her first, also very soon (I'll probably be late). I feel bad about the friends whose births I've missed- everyone is having babies at the same time! (My twin nephews didn't get quilts- but that was because their Mom said, that while they would love quilts, blankets were over running the house.)

As bad as I am at it (there are always puckers) I really like baby quilts- because I can get a finished project. I have a finished full size quilt top from college, and I don't know what to do with it. Quilting it will run $100, plus probably another $25ish in shipping (and I need to buy backing fabric!) and the quilt isn't exactly perfect, so it doesn't seem worth the expense. Not to mention, I don't even have a full size bed anymore. Baby quilts, as long as I keep them to 5' or 6' square I can shove through my regular machine and quilt just fine. I like the vintage "wrinkly" look, so you have to quilt fairly closely, just tying doesn't work.

In other news, my feet are not good in shoes. I've been wearing size 4 kids shoes from Lands End for a few years now (since after college, when Merrells starting looking expensive with my Dad not paying...) they usually run me under $15, but I can't fit into the adult sizes. The problem is the kids sizes have no arch support at all. After spending a fortune in time and money on physical therapy, I've decided to go back to Merrells, which have good support. Problem is- apparently no size fits me! Both the 5 and the 5.5 feel good in the length, and my heels slip in the back. I decided to stick with the 5.5, since my big toe touches the front of the 5, but it's definitely too big. It's just like skates- I need split widths. Stupid stupid shoes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Problem: Solution

Problem: My pants are too big and routinely fall down.
Solution: Wear a belt!

Problem: I have no belt.
Solution: Aquire one.

Problem: I recently went overboard on fabric purchases.
Solution: Use some of it!

(Awesome photograph courtesy of Kevin)
Woo hoo! I'm gonna just say a spiffy fabric belt would cost $20 or so. Fabric purchases justified! (Well, some of them...I really did go overboard...) The belt is cheap if I only think of the cost of scraps, plus the d-rings. More when I consider the whole pieces of fabric.

Want a belt? They are kind of a PITA, but I want to get better at them. I do not claim perfection, but the first 2 people who respond with the color D ring they want (silver, gold, black-I think it's black) and length (8-10 inches more than your waist)- I'll make a belt for. No promise what fabric you get, you have to pay shipping. You can email me the length if you don't want it to be public, I mean, you have to email me your address anyway :)