Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm back, but just momentarily

I have had a really bad week for many reasons that I won't go into here. My computer's death was one of them. Another was trying to set up a new computer and printer that gave me two days of trouble. I never accomplished the setup and bought yet another computer. I now have to return the first one.

The new printer still gave me problems, but it's working now. I got a lovely print/fax/scan/copy machine for a great price at Costco.

I'm just not really in the mood to blog today and I have to learn about my new computer, since dealing with photos is entirely different. I'm really glad I have been hosting all my blog photos through photobucket.com because I have most likely lost all the pictures on my old hard drive. At least I still have many of them stored somewhere.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I could, quite possibly, die

My computer is on the fritz. I'm currently shopping for a new one. I may not be back for a while. I can't live without my computer for long, so I could simply die. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You old softie!

Another giveaway! This one over at Paisley Jade -- it's for Mandy the Matryoshka, and it ends April 28, so go check it out. It's super sweet, and I'm a sucker for cute little trinkets, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

30? Why that's how old I'll be in 5 years!

Oh, wait. That's how old I was 5 years ago.

Anyway, there's the blog where you can win 30 free fat quarters. Thirty! Free! Fabric! Need I say more? Go to PigTale & Quilts now and check it out.

I never win anything, but it's worth a shot. Actually, that's not true. When I was 6, our school bus driver held a contest for drawing the best Thanksgiving scene. I am a horrible artist, but I guess when I was 6, I was right on par for my age group. Problem is, I never progressed from there. But I won the drawing contest! I won a cheap package of crappy plastic figurines, and I was so happy.

Can I call in sick to stay home and sew?

I have way too many projects planned. Quick rundown:

1. My Cubic Rhythm quilt from Quilts and More magazine is in the quilting process. I wanted to try the feather pattern in the magazine, but I was lacking the skills. After picking out stitches for 45 minutes on my first attempt, I went with something simpler: Channel quilting mixed with stippling. The squares to either side will have the opposite with the stippling on the outside and the channel quilting on the inside.

Cubic Rhythm,quilting


I got my Favorite Things Prairie Girl dress pattern. It's cute to the 32nd power. And there's a version for a top. I bought this Amy Butler fabric from Hip Stitch. It's called Sweet Jasmine/Gray from the Daisy Chain collection.

Favorite Things,Amy Butler,Prairie Girl,Dresses


I've been trying to figure out a quilt for my guest bedroom. Last fall, I painted it the color of chocolate ice cream. I kinda wish I didn't, but I'm not willing to repaint any time soon. So I thought of going with the same blues and browns I have now.

home repair

I am considering the Triangle Tango quilt from Quilts and More magazine, shown here in bright, bright colors:

Triangle Tango,quilting

I had already picked up the All Cotton Blue fabric on sale at Hip Stitch and wasn't sure what I'd do with it. I'm thinking of pairing it with these others and making the quilt above.

Triangle Tango,quiltingTriangle Tango,quiltingTriangle Tango,quiltingTriangle Tango,quilting

All those colors would be the triangles, with the plain triangles in a khaki. Then the brown and white dots would be the small, inner border and the plain khaki for the outer border and backing. Any opinions? I'm not so sure that the third fabric would match. I have emailed the eBay seller to see if she will compare it to the others for me and give me her opinion.


I've finished my muslin on McCall's M5803 and I think I've got a good fit. Now I need to cut my Eiffel Tower fabric and get going on it. I'm going to make the matching skirt in some black I have laying around, but I'll add a few inches to make it more work appropriate.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Savers is not aware of the market for vintage sheets

I totally scored at the thrift store today when I went to check out if it got any "new" vintage sheets in. I'm trying to make the Nine Pillowcase Quilt, but in my excitement over finding vintage sheets on my first trip, I ended up with a bunch of white backgrounds. I wanted some with more bold color to mix it up.

I've looked online, but people on eBay and etsy are quick to mark up the prices, because it seems people are interested in other people's old, used sheets. Yummy. But the basic thrift store is not yet aware and prices them at 99 cents to $3.99.

As I reported before, I did find a vintage sheet swap group on flickr, but you only get tiny 7x7 inch squares. I managed to pick up a few colorful pieces.

I made another trip at one point to Savers and one to Goodwill, and neither had any brightly colored vintage sheets. Well, today, I got some awesome ones. A very pink, a very blue and one with ugly orange stripes!

Vintage sheets

And here are my swap pieces, followed by the rest of the sheets I'd picked up before:



Sewing buttons on a reversible garment

Click here for a pdf version of this tutorial

In my last post, I showed you a cape that I made. It's reversible, with khaki on one side and white on the other. There's one set of buttonholes, and then you put buttons on both sides of the garment.

At first, I just lined up the buttons back to back on either side of the garment and sewed straight through one and then the other, and back. The end result was that the button areas were stiff as could be. You've probably not thought much about it, but in order to button something, you need to be able to bend the button away from the fabric a bit. I couldn't do this because each button was in the way of the other button.

I took the buttons off and added a shank. Doing this is quite simple. You simply place a toothpick between the button and the fabric and then sew on as normal. At the end, your remove the toothpick and your button has a little give.

1. Find where you want your buttons. Place one button with the toothpick between it and the fabric and sew a couple times around to secure it.

2. Add the second button behind it with toothpick, and start sewing 'round and 'round -- through button one, straight through fabric and button two.

3. When you're done, take the needle behind one button, so it's between the button and the fabric and start circling the thread around the inside of the button and behind the toothpick. Essentially, you're wrapping the thread that you used to sew the button on. You're just giving it a little strength. I gave it about four wraps. Now go through to the same place on the other side and repeat. Knot and cut thread.

4. Pull toothpicks out.

sewing buttons

sewing buttons

Cuter than Superman

I made a cape. That's right ... a cape. And in the pictures below, I look fairly bad. I think I can come up with a better outfit for it. It's reversible, khaki on one side, white on the other. I used the Sweet Es-Cape pattern from Favorite Things.


I'd like to take a minute to discuss Favorite Things as a company. The pattern contains sizes from 4-22, and only gives one amount for the fabric requirements. Therefore, the fabric requirements must accommodate a size 22. I made the size 4 or 6, I can't recall, and found that I had 1/2-5/8 yards of both fabrics left over, plus quite a bit more that was barely cut into. I sent an email detailing how much extra money I'd spent than I really needed to, and they were nice enough to make it up to me with a new pattern of my choice.

I decided to post here because I appreciate and want to promote companies that care about customer service. The take care of customers AND have cute patterns! What's not to love?


I have made a few blocks from my Cubic Rhythm quilt. I think I can finish the quilt top today, since it really consists of seven large blocks and two borders. I've done 5 of the blocks already.


Finished quilt in magazine photo:


(my fabrics are from the same line, but in different color versions. I had a hard time tracking down all the ones I needed.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I never noticed how much eucalyptus is in my house

I have a husband who likes to throw everything. Why carry it up or down the stairs, or hand it to somebody, when you can toss it? I often find little surprises like Gatorade bottles under the kitchen table and so forth as they get thrown down from upstairs and then bounce around.

On the landing of the stairs yesterday, I found this. Underwear decorating my vase of eucalyptus. Who knows how long it had been there and I hadn't noticed. Who knows why underwear was being tossed about on the stairs.

Underwear decor


I finished my Amy Butler Birdie Sling. It's much more stiff than I had expected, but that's better than it being really floppy. I used craft fuse interfacing and instead of the fusible fleece, I used some nonfusible I had already laying around, and used some quilt basting spray to hold it in place until I sewed it. As Amy Butler patterns go, this one was really quite easy.

(More eucalyptus!?)

Amy Butler Birdie Sling,Amy Butler

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Look at me and my fancy new car

I don't know if I mentioned it, but a few weeks ago my car gave me some trouble. T-Shirt Face got it running, but my husband and I decided it was time to trade it in. It was a 2001 Saturn.

My husband did his tough guy wheelin' and dealin' and I bought this 2009 Ford Focus. It's shiny and black and so, so fancy. I mean, this isn't one of Ford's high-end cars, so I basically wanted power windows and cruise control. And most of all, I wanted a jack for my MP3 player. What I ended up with is everything I wanted, plus Sirius radio (6 month trial, but I'm already in love. It tells you want song is playing, and the artist!) and SYNC technology. Let me tell you about SYNC technology:

Every time I get in my car, it connects with my phone. If someone calls, it puts the caller ID on a display in my dash. I can answer by pressing a button on my steering wheel. If I want to make a call, I can use voice commands to say the number or to find someone in my phone's phone book.

If I get a text while driving, my car will READ IT TO ME.

I can also do all kinds of stuff I shouldn't be doing, and don't see why I'd want to do, while driving, such as use voice commands to change my ring tone or delete my text inbox.

I also can tell my MP3 player what I want to play, such as "Play Artist COllective Soul" or "Play track Rockin' Robin."

Seriously. Who knew cars had come to this? OK, my husband's car is pretty fancy, but I didn't know half of these options existed. Oh, and every so often I can tell my car to run a diagnostic and report back to me how it's doing. Then I go online and find its report. Hello, Jetsons.

Best of all, my car was not expensive at all. It started at $19,300, but we bargained the price, haggled the trade-in and got $2,500 in rebates. With a good down payment, I really didn't finance much at all! I love my husband for all this (I love him anyways, besides all this!). He did a great job.

It's also pretty compact, though bigger than my last car. It has good gas mileage and a small tank. I used very little gas before, and I don't think I'll need any more in this car.


And, yes, this car stays clean for all of 12 seconds. And since I tend to wash my cars about once a year, I could have a problem if I don't change my ways.

A sad moment was when I was at the front of the dealership and parked my car for a minute, and then realized I had parked right next to my old car. And I felt like I was cheating -- you know, I abandoned it and now I'm sitting in my shiny, new, fancier car right next to it. I got all teary-eyed.


Finally made it in to Hip Stitch and bought fabric for my Amy Butler Birdie Sling bag. Those are from two different lines, and the yellows are not exact, but I think they go together OK.

fabric,Amy Butler Birdie Sling,Amy Butler

I also found this cotton balls fabric on sale for half price and couldn't pass it up. I'm not sure what I'll do with it.


I've got so many projects lined up, and I'm jonesin' to sew.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reading's good, when it's not bad

I feel like doing a little book reviewing.

Here goes:


A co-worker lent me "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge. It's all about the human brain and how for so long scientists thought that once a part of it was damaged, the functions that area controlled were gone forever. It was an unpopular field to study, but "plasticity" has proven them wrong. The brain can overcome so much, with the right training. People can have huge portions of their brains damaged and relearn to function normally. People can be born with half a brain and still be almost completely normal. It's really, really interesting. Recommend!


I have been working on "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut. I'm going to compare it to "Catch-22." Both have soldiers in them. Both are perfectly good. Both seem to entirely lack a plot. Both had me moving onto more exciting things by halfway through the book.

Both I thought were semi-interesting. "Catch-22" was quite clever and funny. But halfway through, I just wondered where they were going. I mean, there was never anything to make me want to find a moment to read. It was more like, "I guess I'll read some of this now." That's really all I can say. Not good, not bad. Not enough to keep me bothering when I know there is something really, really great out there.

Speaking of which...


"Twilight." My friend mailed it to me, wanting me to read it so badly. I thought it was a silly kids' book. I started reading it so that the next time I talk to her I can say I did, and now I want to do nothing BUT read it. I don't remember the last time I was so intrigued by a book.

I think Stephenie Meyer does a wonderful job of creating a relationship full of passion and intrigue and true love without it even being about a physical relationship. I'm only halfway through, but I cannot wait to keep going. I am sort of obsessed with this young vampire myself. I can't wait to rent the movie, either.

I also realize that I'm not making myself out to be very impressive, literarily speaking, if that's a word. But I'm just not someone who feels the need to impress people with the fancy, boring books I've read. I read what's fun to me. So there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Favorite Things, indeed

I once bookmarked this Web site and then forgot about it. The other day I was bored and found it. It's full of adorable patterns. I was unable to snag photos from the site to show you, though I would have only done that in the interest of getting them more business!

Check out this prairie dress. I'm the last person who would describe her style as "prairie chic." But I love this. Click on the lower picture. CUTE!

I bought this cape. I also never thought I'd prance about in a cape, but this is SO DARN CUTE. And I guess I don't have to actually prance.

The Hip Skirt and Smarty Pants also look great.

Speaking of "hip," I was looking on the Favorite Things Web site last night for local retailers and couldn't really find one (one seemed to be a Web only business based here, but I couldn't find those patterns). Then I got my monthly email newsletter from local Hip Stitch and it said they have Favorite Things patterns! I keep meaning to get in there and get some fabric for my Amy Butler Birdie Sling bag, but it seems like every single time I'm ready to stop in, it's Wednesday afternoon, the day Hip Stitch closes early. It's just not close, so I always try to fit it in to another errand.

Amy Butler Birdie Sling,pattern

Further down the line, I really want to make one of these Amy Butler tunics

Amy Butler
Amy Butler

And I got an e-mail from Amy Butler (not personally, I guess) introducing her new Sweet Life bags. I thought they would be sewing patterns, but apparently you can only by the finished products, which range up to $180. Not. Going. To. Happen. I am disappointed because I think Amy Butler fans are people who make their own stuff, and that's what Amy Butler has always been about. Now she tantalizes us with things we can't have. Boo.

I would have loved to make this many-zippered bag, the Hampton

Amy Butler Hampton

And the Sanibel is very cute, too

Amy Butler,Amy Butler