Friday, May 29, 2009

It's not ghosts, it's the wind

Do your doors suddenly slam shut? Mine do. I'm pretty sure it's not apparitions, but rather the air flow through the house on windy days. So I made these door stoppers from a free pattern featured on Oh, Fransson. This is one of my scrap-busting projects. You can use them in front of doors to keep them open, or behind them to protect something. Our bedroom balcony door wants to bang into our brand-new dresser, so I placed one between the two.





The white one I gave to a friend today. I felt like a weirdo presenting a random door stopper as a gift, but as it turns out, they'd actually been in great need of one. Weird, indeed.


There's a zipper on the bottom, and you just fill 'em up with dried beans. If you ever get hungry enough, you could eat them (I never get hungry enough to eat beans).

Chickenbone Jones on a quilt

I made this quilt for my friend Amy's yet-to-be-born baby, and now that she's received it, I can show pictures. I used the same pattern as the one with the giraffe (click here) bought from Oh, Fransson's etsy shop.

Since the sex of the baby is unknown, I didn't know what colors to go with. I had this fabric I had used for my Cubic Rhythm couch quilt left over, and I loved it so much that I was excited that I had enough for this project, too. I thought maybe it could go for a boy or a girl. I tried to balance the pinks with greens.

I wanted to do the applique of a chihuahua, specifically Amy's chihuahua Chickenbone Jones. I wish I had made the applique bigger, but I guess chihuahuas are extremely small in real life, too. To get the applique, I did a Google images search for chihuahua silhouette and then made it bigger on my computer, printed it and cut it out of brown flannel.


The back is chocolate brown minky, which is very soft. It's not easy to work with and ended up sort of baggy. The binding I made out of various pieces of the main fabrics.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The perfect name

This is called "The Coffee Date Dress" and it's available as a free download at Burda Style. I think the name suits it just perfectly. It's most certainly on my to-do list, and boy am I in a sewing mood after last week! Summer sewing is just so much more fun than winter sewing.


But first, I guess I need to get on that adorable Prairie Girl dress from Favorite Things. And I just discovered this FANTASTIC JACKET on that site.

Favorite Things,Amy Butler,Prairie Girl,Dresses


My cat has computer jealousy AND an obsession with arms. If she can find an arm, she'll lie on it.


Spice this

I finally finished those damn Spice Socks from "2-at-a-Time Socks." I started them in early March and have had nothing but trouble. These socks make me want to curse wildly, but T-Shirt Face reads this, and I still can't drop F-bombs in front of my dad.

See this post for details on the misery of it all.

I don't think I'll give them to my mom after all because there are too many imperfections. They may not be obvious from the photos, but they aren't my best work. I'll try to make it up to her with something better.

socks, knitting projects, knitting
Spice Socks from "2-at-a-Time Socks"


Mark wants me to make clear that he did not like the look of the turquoise toenail polish and promptly took it off. He wanted you all to know that. But he also said it wasn't that it wasn't manly enough, but that his feet needed a better tan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Final day of freedom

It's back to work tomorow, after five days off. Even having surgery, it was nice to get away from work. I had a pretty crummy month with things that weren't blogging material, plus major reorganization at work (I'm moving to be a metro desk copy editor, which I think will be fun and different). I then had two six-day workweeks, so this was a welcome break. I got lots of sewing done.

Today, I went to Expo New Mexico (why can't we still just call it the "fairgrounds"?) with a friend and her sweet little newborn to check out the Fiber Arts Fiesta. There were gorgeous quilts on display and lots of yarn and goodies for sale.

I am sure it was a struggle for many vendors there, thanks to the economy. I overheard one say so, and I remember trying to hawk my stuff a few years ago. I was a bit of a cheapskate. I really don't buy yarn unless I have a plan for it, and I didn't know what I was looking for. Plus, I have a Village Wools gift certificate that I should use next time I want yarn.

I did buy a $1 emery-filled strawberry for sharpening needles and this $5 leather thimble. I need a thimble badly when hand-finishing quilt bindings, and the metal ones are really awkward. I'm hoping this helps.


Oops. I think I have it on upside down. It has a slit for long fingernails, which for some reason gives me the willies.

In the flier for the show, there were various advertisements for fiber-related places. Then there was this one:


Dentistry for "special people." I really have no idea what to make of this. I mean, I immediately think "retarded people," then feel un-PC. Then I think "people with big egos" or "people who have won awards." But how will anybody be sure which it is? Wouldn't you be afraid to call and see if you apply?

Other good things: It rained today, which was fun. My brother managed to recover all my files off my crashed hard drive and has the discs in the mail to me. I ate bacon and instant breakfast for dinner.

And finally, you'll never, ever believe this!!!, but I bought yet another fab vintage sheet. And now, I swear, I will stop for a while.

vintage sheets

But don't you love it? It's from Thrift Town, where the sheets are even cheaper than at Savers!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vintage sheets and gory gum tales

I'm feeling great one day after my gum graft surgery. I have really had very little pain. Yesterday, after the shots wore off, I felt fine all evening. Right before bed, I bent over to get my purse and remembered immediately that I'm not supposed to bend over, because allowing the blood to rush to my mouth is a really bad idea. I then went and did my first rinse with Peridex, which is prescription antiseptic. It hurt really, really bad for several minutes afterward, but ever since then I have had no pain.

I felt good enough to eat real food, albeit very carefully. I found out on facebook that a high school classmate has to go tomorrow and have the same thing done, PLUS a bone graft and a tooth extraction. So she has a lot more to go through and I'd like to send good vibes or prayers or whatever to her.

So today, I felt like getting out of the house a little bit, and what is more fun than rummaging through stinky thrift stores for old, used sheets?

I usually go to Savers, a big, monster of a thrift store near my house. There is a Goodwill a little further away, but I think most of the other thrift stores are way across town (**whisper and shifty glance**you know, where all those poor people are). So today I went to Goodwill and found absolutely nothing. I stopped in at Savers on the way home, and every time I think that surely I have cleaned that place out of the good vintage stuff, they have more!

I was really excited for this yellow one, and it's a whole sheet, so besides making for a more colorful Clothesline Quilt (aka Nine Pillowcase Quilt) when I get to it, it may make a cute skirt or top, too. I'm also thinking of selling the leftovers of my vintage sheet collection on eBay or etsy, because they seem to fetch a pretty good price.

vintage sheets

I bought this pillowcase on eBay today for $3.50, and at Savers they are only 99 cents. But I figured, what if I grab the ones I don't really want or need and then can't unload them? And if I do, it's just a few bucks profit and all the trouble of packing and going to the post office.

vintage sheets

For fun, lets look at all the ones I got before:

vintage sheets

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'll spare you any photos

I just got back from my gum grafting surgery. I took a Xanax before I went and they just gave me shots in my mouth. Still, I'm feeling slightly light-headed.

I had this done in a different spot about 17 years ago, and I remember not enjoying it much, but I didn't remember much more.

I was really, really scared the last few days, so (at the doctor's recommendation) I took part of an anti-anxiety pill last night and it really helped. This morning I wasn't nervous at all when I woke up, and I slept well.

I got scared as I arrived at the office, but the doctor and nurse were really comforting. I was just having one tooth done today (at $1,100 a tooth, it was all I could get covered by the insurance). I have more that need to be done, so I'm hoping to do two a year for the next several years. If they take, well, hopefully I'll be good to go for the rest of my life.

My first graft has held up really, really well. And since I have no infection or anything unhealthy going on in my mouth, I am hoping I have a nice clean slate to work with and will heal easily.

In very vague terms, so as not to gross you out, I have a wound on the roof of my mouth where "donor tissue" was taken. And I have a wound on the top right where they sutured that tissue on. For a week I have to brush and rinse with a prescription antiseptic - no toothpaste allowed. This stuff may stain my teeth, which makes me very unhappy. But supposedly it can be buffed off at the dentist. Unfortunately, I just had my dental cleaning last month and my next one is not till fall.

As I type, my mouth is still numb, so I'm feeling pretty good. In a few hours, who knows.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This shirt makes me feel like I'm 5 again

I made this Ruffled Spring Top featured on Sew, Mama, Sew. I used pieces of my vintage sheet collection, and I love the fabrics. They are a bit, uh, youthful, though. That's OK; sometimes you need to wear pleated, flowery fun-ness.

The blog link above has a tutorial; this shirt can be made to any size. You fill in the blanks with your measurements and go! I keep a big end roll of newsprint around for pattern drafting (my newspaper offers them for free to teachers or whoever. They are just leftovers that they have to throw out), so I measured out my pattern pieces on that.

Sewing wasn't as fast as I expected, but not too bad. It took about 2.5-3 hours. I made several mistakes, but when don't I? Gotta keep it interesting. I definitely recommend you try on as you go, and WEAR A BRA. I had made some miscalculations, and also found that once I put a bra on, the top part wasn't what I thought it was (alright, so I was sewing in my PJs. I was so excited for a sewing day that I didn't want to take the time to shower. I did take a shower break partway through when I got pissed after sewing the top band to the garment with the body inside out). It all worked out in the end. I am considering releasing the pleats in front, since I'm looking sorta flat-chested, but I do like how they look sewn down, in concept.

sewing,ruffled spring top

sewing,ruffled spring top


I have to have a gum graft done tomorrow. I have lots of recession and need nine teeth done over the next few years. At $1,100 a tooth, and only $1,500 total benefits per year on my insurance, it could take awhile.

The recession (of my teeth, not the economy) is due to any one or a combination of the following: the six years of orthodontic work I had done as a kid, genetics (it's always fun to blame your problems on your parents!) or brushing too hard.

I'm having one tooth done tomorrow, and I'm scared. Cuz, damn, it's going to hurt afterward. Not to gross you out, but they have to take tissue from the roof of your mouth and sew it onto your gums to protect your teeth. Fun fact: the thickness of your palate is directly proportional to how fat you are! Who'd have thought that the roof of your mouth got fat when your butt did?

I see this as a good opportunity to consume nothing by Instant Breakfast for a few days, watch lots of TV, and sew a lot. Maybe even finish those damn Spice Socks.


The perfect summer treat:


Raspberries. Perfect ones from Costco. Do you ever wonder why all Costco produce is perfect, plump and unblemished? It is sort of creepy, isn't it? What do they do to it?

Also, I wanted to show off my fancy turquoise nail polish. Mark asked me to paint his toenails with it. Weird, huh? He initially admired them, and said, "Glambert!" This is a reference to our favorite American Idol, Adam Lambert, who easily gets away with wearing black nail polish and eyeliner. Don't worry, Mark quickly realized the error of his ways.

Friday, May 15, 2009

You can never have too many lists

And, really, writing down what you have to do is nearly as good as actually doing it, right?

As you may recall, I have been hunting for and stocking up on vintage linens, aka nasty, used, thrift store sheets.

I made another List Taker from JCasa's pattern on etsy. And I pretty much stole the idea for this vintage squares one straight from her flickr page. Way to think for myself!

quilting,sewing,List Taker

For the inside, I used the fancy top edge of one of the sheets to make the pocket. Cute, if I do say so myself!

quilting,sewing,List Taker

That pocket is where I'll stash all the coupons that I won't remember to use.

A day off

I've been working a lot lately, and having numerous reasons to be in a bad mood. The combination is wearing me out, and today I finally have a day off. I vowed not to make plans or really go anywhere. I did go to the gym, yay me! And got my car washed.

Then I took a shower, put on sweats, didn't bother with makeup and didn't dry my hair because our swamp cooler isn't yet hooked up, and it's in the 90s outside. Wet hair is like all-day air conditioning!

I recently completed my Eiffel Tower top, aka McCall's 5803. And it's TOO DAMN BIG. This despite doing a muslin after the disaster that was my Vogue 1086 dress.

It looks good on my dress form, but I'm a bit more petite in the upper body, so I'm going to have to do a few alterations, and that really gets my goat. I'm going to make the skirt that goes with it, but I'm not doing a muslin, so there.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The art of tagging

I just added a widget called LinkWithin that adds related posts from your archives below each post. I realize now that I should probably separate topics into individual posts instead of just dividing with a line. In the post below about the Fiber Arts Festival, it gave me a suggested archive post about making gravy, I guess because at the bottom of that post I mentioned something about knitting.

In other words, I'll do better in the future!

Fiber Arts Fiesta

Next week in Albuquerque is the Fiber Arts Fiesta, and I want to go. I wish I had a friend who was into yarns and such. I have one who has taken up knitting, but she has a newborn, so I'm not sure if that's something she can handle.

Anyone in the area up for a field trip on Thursday or Friday the 21 or 22? I believe it's at Expo New Mexico, aka the fairgrounds. If you want to go, and I realize the chances of a fellow Duke City yarnie coming across this are small, contact me though the email to the right.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You know your house is dirty when ...

A cockroach marches across your kitchen floor, dragging a dust bunny along.

And yes, I cleaned today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'll be damned if I'll let the herb garden defeat me

Remember when I planted herbs in my kitchen window? And how excited I was when they sprouted? And then how they just sort of peeked out and then croaked?

Now that summer's here, I decided to try an herb garden outdoors, in a container. I also decided I may have better luck purchasing a plant that's already growing and then trying to maintain. I found two hardy plants, basil and parsley, at Wal-Mart when I took my grandma there. Yesterday, I picked up a not-too-healthy looking green onion (that's it on the left, lookin' sorta brown and scrawny) and an oregano from a local nursery.

Here they are all snug in their planter. I stuck it near the grass so that the sprinklers would water it for me. Isn't that genius! Now I don't have to do anything at all except tear off their little leaves and munch them.


Actually, I do have the problem of protecting them from the particularly harsh New Mexico sun, so I stuck them under this bush where they will get plenty of light during the afternoon and evening but not all day long. I wish I could have it the other way, with most of their exposure in the morning. I may have to keep an eye on them and adjust their location.

Spice Socks

Since February, I have been planning and working on these Spice Socks from "2-at-a-Time Socks."
Here's why: I wanted this book, so my mom got it for me for Christmas. A few months later, I was flipping through it looking for a project when I came across a sticky note with my mom's writing saying, "I want these." So I decided to make them for her for Mother's Day. Mother's Day seemed like a long time away, so I thought I had plenty of time to finish them.

They still aren't done.

I ran into several roadblocks. First off was learning this technique of knitting two socks at once on one circular needle. But I grasped that quickly enough. Second was doing the colorwork at the top of the leg. I had done just a little colorwork before, but this was four colors, and since I had two socks on one needle, that meant I had 8 balls of yarn tangling around each other. What a mess.

knitting projects,socks, knitting projects, knitting

After that was done, it was smooth sailing. Until I finished the heel and had to pick up stitches and reconnect the insole. I didn't do it right and ended up with the socks on the needle in a very messed up manner that was impossible to work with. So I had to run a yarn through and take them off the needles and then put them back on. This seems simple enough, but I think it took me two hours.

From there, I knitted for a while and was partway down the foot when I decided to try them on. This is when I realized that the colorwork part was really tight and wouldn't fit over a foot. This miserable piece of news came to me simultaneously with Adam Lambert's "bottom two" announcement on "American Idol." I just felt sick. I wanted to cry. It was all too much.

I had a co-worker with size 2.5 feet try them on, and she couldn't fit them over her feet, either. So I finished the socks and decided to undo them from the top and work that part over on bigger needles.

Fun fact: frogging ribbing from the cast-on edge is, well, a gigantic nightmare. It doesn't just pull out. It has to be unwound by hand every few stitches. So, another several hours just undoing it and getting the stitches back on the needles. I then went up from the size 2s I used to size 5s.

socks, knitting projects, knitting

I finished one sock, and the good news is that it fits over a foot. The bad news is that it is ugly. But it does seem to be OK when worn. The stitches are just too loose, and I guess I should have used a four, though they are not that different in size.

socks, knitting projects, knitting

Now I have to do the other one, and I'm really not that motivated.

Here's the real kicker (and Mom, I'm not mad): my mom didn't even remember seeing or wanting those socks in the first place. Oh, man. All that for nothing! Well, she's getting them, and she is required to wear them in all their goofy glory because her kid made them. That is part of being a mom.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Making a list, checking it twice

In a post earlier today, I mentioned a good project for using up scraps. It's this List Taker, a cute, quilted notepad and pen holder. It also has a pocket for coupons or whatever else you'd like to tote along.

I used leftover fabric pieces in black, white, gray and yellow, along with batting scraps and a button I once bought but never figured out what to do with. The only thing that cost me money in this project was the pattern, since everything else was leftovers.

The pattern can be bought on etsy at JCasa's shop.

I gave it to my mom for Mother's Day.

List Taker,quiltingList Taker,quilting

Cubic Rhythm

I have finished my Cubic Rhythm quilt, which was found in Quilts and More magazine. I tried to get the closest fabrics that I could from the collection. This will be my couch quilt, even though my walls are rust colored and this is pink. It is perfect for spring.

quilting,Cubic Rhythmquilting,Cubic Rhythmquilting,Cubic Rhythmquilting,Cubic Rhythmquilting,Cubic Rhythm

See this post for more about how I quilted it.

This blog entry is long and has lots of text and no pretty pictures. I don't blame you if you don't read it.

I know that my loyal one or two readers are probably just dying to know what I've been up to. Well, I have completed or nearly completed a few projects, but I haven't had time to blog about them.

I even took a few pictures of things I wanted to blog about, but now that I have a spare moment, I'm at work (er ... don't tell. It's Sunday and slow) and don't have access to my camera/photos.

Coming up on the blog:

1. Latest quilt: it doesn't match my living room, but who cares!
2. Mother's Day sock disaster: How many months can I spend knitting only to screw it up?
3. Quilted List Taker: A cute and useful way to use up scraps of great fabrics.
4. Paper that turns into wildflowers: Seriously! You just plant it and water it.
5. New and improved herb garden: OK, so forget the seeds. But will I remember to water it?

Work was really hectic last week. For two weeks straight, I only have one day off. Last week I also switched from my usual swing shift at the paper to earlier shifts (10:30 or noonish, depending), so that threw my schedule way off. I had no time for sewing this week, and may not have any next week. I'm thinking of refusing to make plans on my day off next week so that I can finish some projects.

Upcoming projects:

1. Finish Eiffel Tower top
2. Make black skirt to go with it
3. Start secret gift quilt
4. Make more List Takers for gifts
5. Think about making one of the other zillion patterns I got on sale a few months ago.
6. Think about submitting something to the State Fair this fall. I was thinking about a sweater I've knitted and maybe something I've sewn. I really wanted to design a dress from scratch and make it out of this golden butterfly brocade I have, but it's a project I set aside several years ago.

So, back to the topic of work. I usually don't discuss my job on my blog because I think that's dangerous territory. But I will talk about what's going on just a little. I am a copy editor, and my department is called the copy desk. We are the last line of defense before stories are printed, and we edit stories and write headlines and proof pages.

With the newspaper industry in dire straits, newspapers all over the country have folded or had massive layoffs. We are lucky that we started cutting back several years ago and only laid off about a dozen people. We also don't replace those who leave.

The other day it was announced that the copy desk is nearly being disbanded, and we will be divided up and inserted into various departments. Still mostly copy editing, but with no copy desk leader, so it's a really big change. We don't know what hours we will work or what our exact jobs or days off will be. It's scary. But it's also something different, and we must flow with the tide. Things are changing, and change can be good. They have assured us that they plan no layoffs right now, so at least I have a job, right?

I'm just not sure what I want to put in for my department preference request, since it could completely change my days off and work hours.

Phew. Done with the downer talk. Next blog will have pretty pictures and happy talk of crafts! Yay!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What!? In li'l ol' Albuqueruque?

As a sewer, I'm often saddened by our selection of fabric stores here in Albuquerque. We basically have only chain stores. There are lots of quilting stores, too, but those are limited to quilting fabric, of course.

OK, so get this: What Albuquerque does have is two pretty cool little sewing places.

1. Hip Stitch. I've mentioned this one lots of times. It's a small fabric shop and sewing lounge. It carries Amy Butler (one of only two places in town) and Alexander Henry. It also has Amy Butler and Favorite Things patterns, thread, some pretty buttons and cute sewing books.
But, that's not all! (in deep, infomercial voice) In the back is a sewing lounge, complete with machines.
Classes are offered, along with craft nights and use of the sewing area for a nominal fee. Locally owned, this shop also features local artisans and sometimes offers them a place to show their wares. Sometimes there are trunk shows by various brands so you can check out finished projects and buy patterns and fabrics.
Located on San Antonio in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque.

2. The Designer's Lounge. I just discovered this one, and have never been there. I have checked out the Web site, though. It's a mother-daughter owned sewing boutique that offers sewing and fashion design lessons, also in a super-cute environment. It provides dress forms, machines, drafting equipment and expertise. In the Downtown or Nob Hill area, I believe.

I think, and could be wrong, that both places accommodate craft parties, if you're looking for something fun to do with friends.

Be grateful, Albuquerque, for these great little places.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Secret sewing

I'm working on all kinds of things, most of which I can't show you because those items are gifs.

I will say this: I recently had the worst 10 minute period of my life, not to exaggerate. Right as Adam Lambert was announced as being in the bottom two on "American Idol," I simultaneously realized that a gift I'd been knitting for months now has a major flaw and cannot be given. I mean, it's not usable. I will explain more in a few weeks. I have decided to find someone else who may be able to fit better in the gift. I will also give another item I've been working on for myself in place of the first gift.

On top of this, I have another gift ready to start on, but here is a hint:


I also have a crappy photo of my McCall's M5803 top, in the Paris fabric: