Monday, January 30, 2012

Ruined weekend...

Things I was looking forward to this weekend:
1) Watching nationals (figure skating)
2) Quilting

Things I did not get to do this weekend
1) Watch nationals
2) Quilt

Why not?
Watching nationals made me nauseated from the movement, if I was even able to sit upright. Quilting was impossible since I can't use my right arm.

Why? Because I took a stupid fall ice skating and sprained my wrist. You always think of a sprain as better than a break, but I'm not sure. I think anything I've called a sprain before may not have been. I've never experienced anything like this. I have almost no movement in my wrist. I fell Saturday, and only now can I totally move my fingers without pain (but I can't use them on anything weight bearing, like zipping a jacket, or opening an envelope.) My range of motion has improved from about 5 degrees downward and 0 upward to about 15 downward, and a little less than 5 upward (though I'm in the brace most of the time). My pain has moved from an 8 on the hyperbole and a half pain scale (10 on the regular one) to maybe a 4/6. (The regular pain scale is all smiling faces, I'm not smiling.)

The lortab + ibprofeun combo seems to fight the pain, but makes me so sick- hence no nationals. Today I only took 1 lortab, so I'm going to attempt to go to work tomorrow on ibprofeun alone. We'll see- I may have to come home mid-day...

If it snows, I'll have to have Kevin to drive me to work. One hand driving is for perfect weather only. Not sure how productive I'll be. I can only type with my left hand, and cannot write at all.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jelly Roll Race

I heard about the Jelly Roll Race quilts quite some time ago. The idea is that you take a Jelly Roll (forty 2.5" strips) and sew the strips end to end. Then, you fold the strip in half and sew a seam. Fold the new double width strip in half and sew a seam. Do this again, I think for 5 total seams. You have a quilt top. It is called a race, because you can do it FAST. The whole thing took under 3 hours (including prep time). Most guilds or groups only race on the assembly once you have the big long strip- I've heard women who have done it in like 30-45 minutes!

Now Jelly Roll's aren't cheap, and I am. So I did mine a little differently. I bought 11 different fabrics, and cut 4 strips from each one (44 strips, so my quilt top is wider it finished about 60" square). I got them on sale at so it was $1.49 for each half yard cut, and I have a good amount left over to use for other things. Nice and cost effective!

One of the things I've read on most of the Jelly Roll Race tips pages will tell you to make sure your strip (the long one that is 1600-1800 inches long!) is not twisted. Maybe this helps with speed, but I found there is no reason at all to take the time to care about this. I just deposited my gigantic strip in a big pile on the floor and didn't worry about it. It was MAJORLY twisted. The thing is, as long as you make sure the fabric approaching the needle is oriented correctly, you are fine. At the end of each strip, you have to cut it open anyway- just cut open the twist, and it will untwist itself.

I also did not do any pressing as I went along. On the gigantic first strip, I sewed all seams down, and then on the next strips I just paid attention to make sure they were sewn either facing up or down- it really didn't take much thought. When I pressed the entire quilt after I finished I found I had only done 2 in the wrong direction, which is actually better than my rate for when I DO try to press them correctly!

Any ideas on how to quilt it? I'm thinking a spiral from the middle all the way out to the edges- that will be hard, but might look cool on such a linear quilt.

The only problem with this quilt- it distracted me from homework I really needed to get done, and also from the other quilt I'm working on right now...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jessi vs. The Models

One of my new year's resolutions is to dress more professionally at work. This will be accomplished by not wearing a fleece jacket every single day (I do have two of them... so it isn't always the SAME fleece jacket...). To help facilitate that, I have bought a number of blazers (4 from Coldwater Creek this month- that brings me up to 6 total, though one is really more of a casual jacket than blazer). I just got 3 in the mail yesterday.

For the most part, I like the way I look in jackets. These pictures make me look 200 pounds, but in real life, I find that they are actually kind of slimming. Blazers, unlike pants, make me feel little because I still wear a small (a petite small)! It's actually a little annoying because most of the Coldwater Creek jackets are sized as P6-8, and they are huge on me. I need a P6, and then, just the sleeves are too big.

And thank you Coldwater Creek for great sales! These three blazers were all originally $129. All three together were just under $100 :)

And now, Jessi vs. The Models

(Sorry, I'm linking- photos aren't playing nice with the blog post)
On the model: The jacket seems to be a short cut jacket.
On Jessi: Petty well full length.

However, I LOVE this one. My favorite for sure.

On the model, very slim fit:
On Jessi: Boxy and linebacker shoulders. (The back is great though- the shaping makes it look very slim)

On the model:
Young and hip.
On Jessi:
I look like a grandma.

Also- all the models wear the jackets open. Kevin tells me this is NOT allowed. It makes me look wide :( Luckily, they all look cute closed.

I need to find some non-black pants. These don't look great with black pants.

Any opinions on the jackets? Do I look like a little kid playing dress up in my grandmothers clothes? Would you highly recommend I return either of the last two? (They still have tags).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stupendous Stitching

My first quilt of 2012. This is an art quilt that will be a wall hanging. Rather than a hanging sleeve, this one will actually be mounted permanently (glued down to foam board, actually.)

This technique is taught by Carol Ann Waugh, and I took her Stupendous Stitching class through

I said earlier that this technique is so "me" I can't believe I didn't think of it on my own. The instructor gave the following piece of advice (well something pretty similar) "If you are wondering if you should add something else, just do it!" and Kevin (to paraphrase) said "that's for the other people in the class. You should probably stop well before you think you are done." I've always had the problem in art class of adding too much, and that's what makes this so great- I can't add too much!

I created this (18" x 18") in just a weekend. It involves couching trim, using machine decorative stitches, hand embroidery (a first for me- I love French knots!), quilting, and then binding the quilt using rat-tail cording (another first).

Things to improve for next time: pay attention to contrast- 1) a section of french knots nearly blends in and 2) why did the bottom edge of the cording ruffle? I didn't do anything different there!

If you look closely, you'll see three of the trims from the last post- a blue velvet, the gold, and the pink rick rack.

I will definitely be making more- an artist works in series :)

Kevin tells me I need an artist statement, so here you go:
"In this piece the artists expresses the importance of keeping a large thread stash, while simultaneously presenting the futility of man's struggle against insanity" (Kevin came up with that last part.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A trip for trims...

I've been hanging out on Pattern Review a lot, since i'm wanting to get back into garment sewing. After the PR weekend, there were a few blog posts about the Austin weekend- and that made me spot a fabric shop I wanted to visit next time I went down there: TexStyles

Turns out it is only minutes from Kevin's parents house, so we were able to make a quick trip over there.

I'm actually on a "fabric fast" until the end of January (possibly to be extended) so I wasn't sure what I'd be doing in a fabric shop, but my Craftsy class "Stupdenous Stitching" has me needing a bunch of trims, and they fit the bill nicely.

I got three different velvet trims- two different blues and a brown, some metallic gold trim, two sequin trims (the pink and the blue), and a bright pink rick rack.

The men who own the shop had just finished a trip to LA and had bags and bags filled with trims and fabric, they were more than happy to let you dig through them, or offered to pour them out. Nothing was priced, so when I had my handful, I went over (a little worried I'd have to put stuff back) and asked: everything was under $1.75 per yard (most around $1.25, rick rack was 75 cents) and the prices were followed with a "does that sound good?" They say they don't mark prices on trim because the stock revolves too fast, so they are open for negotiation.

I'm almost glad I couldn't buy fabric, because it was too overwhelming. Everything is hung- by color. The store is BEAUTIFUL! I would have needed a lot of help to identify what the types of fabric were, and what would work for certain projects- but I have no doubt the owners would have helped me, they were just delightful! Super friendly and very chatty.

I will definetly be back on my next visit. (As for the trim- I'm in love. I think I was supposed to get more rounded trim for my stupendous stitching project, but these were all just so beautiful...)

Happy New Year!

We are back from our trip to Texas- with lots to write about. I'm not sure where to start, so I'm going to start with something I did BEFORE our trip, and that has nothing to do with Christmas.

When I got back from Texas I was greeted with quite a few packages on the doorstep. I got a few textbooks, but also a pretty red box marked "Julep". Ooh! My Julep Maven package got here fast.

Inside- 4 gorgeous nail polishes!

You see, just before I left I saw an ad on the internet for a $5 intro code to a nail polish a month subscription. So I bite (the code was maven5, if it still works- I also later saw some 99 cent codes! You'll have to google for those). This $5 even included shipping!

So the deal was, you took a quiz and it gave you your style profile. Mine told me I was "boho glam" but the website lets you look at all the profiles, and even though I did like the boho glam colors, I loved the "it girl" ones more (I am so NOT an 'it girl') so I switched.

In my box I had these 4 colors, a purply/pink (it changes with the light), a deep dark red glittery polish, a gunmetal silver, and a fast dry top code.

I'm wearing the pink, and it applies really nicely, though it needs two coats. It is very matte- so a top coat is needed for shine. I need to clean up around my fingers still, but that's my fault, not the polish's!

Rather than canceling right away (which you totally could do) I am staying on for one more month- I really liked next month's "it girl" colors. They will be $20 including shipping, and while the nail polish bottles are about half the normal size, I think it is worth it. The polish is way nicer than drug-store stuff. I also like that they let you see it before it ships, and you decide if you want your style box ('it girl') or a different one, or you can skip it entirely!

(There is a referral program, so if you try it- will you use my link? Click here for awesome polish)