Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm 3/4 done with the quilting

Here is my "quilt sandwich," laid out and ready for pinning. Thanks go to the hubby for helping me lay it out, smooth it, and getting down on the floor with me to pin it. Such a great guy!

And here I am picking out a little bit of wonkiness that happened. During this process I've learned that

1) Stippling takes an inordinate amount of thread. I've gone through at least 10 bobbins so far. I'm 3/4 of the way done with it.

2) My machine does not like metal bobbins, no way, no how.

3) 12 weight thread is heavier than 30 weight, and should not be used in a machine.

4) I can take off the bottom of my machine and oil the moving parts inside myself. No, I didn't find a service manual, I just decided that I'd try it when my machine was trying to seize up on Sunday. It's not trying to seize up anymore, so I must have done something right.

4b) Yes, I need to take my machine in for regular maintenance, but I'd prefer to do it when the machine isn't crucial for a deadline.

5) Stippling is hard work on the arms, shoulders and upper back.

5b) Beer and mojitos help to lubricate the joints and muscles used for #5.

6) Stippling is somewhat addictive.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lookee what I won!

In case any of you were wondering, this is the prize package that I won from Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog. It included:
  • a Viking/Husquevarna brochure (natch),
  • simple patterns for an embellished scarf and handbag,
  • three spools of variegated thread,
  • a quilting foot set and bobbins for a Viking/Husky machine,
  • an assortment of machine needles in varied sizes,
  • and a Bobbin Saver.

My friend and co-worker owns a Husquevarna machine, and she absolutely ADORED the colorful bobbins. She did not yet have any of the feet or attachments in that prize package. She said they'd come in quite handy, as she's looking to make a quilt for her daughter soon.

I owe her a huge thank-you. She's the one who got me interested in sewing when she taught me how to sew a full length, gathered, Elizabethan-style skirt from an old bedsheet, almost 10 years ago. Thanks SarahBee!

She brought in some fabrics pieces for me today as a thank you. She tends to keep me in beautiful scraps. :)

The photo above is what my current bobbin system looks like. As you can see, I'm running out of room. The Bobbin Saver will come in quite handy, especially now that I'm getting into quilting. I never realized how many full bobbins one can expend while stippling!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Progress in machine quilting practice

As this is my first quilt, this is also my first time machine-quilting or "stippling" something. I ran into a problem last night and asked the nice folks over at the Flickr Old Red Barn Quilt Along discussion group for help. I want to say thanks to everyone who contributed advice. I probably would have pulled my hair out!

Here's the back of my first quilted panel. Day 1 (yesterday) comprised 4/5 of the stitching, from left to right. Day 2 is over on the right.

After reading the advice, I set my thread length to zero. I then sped the machine up whilst slowing down my movement of the sandwich.

I got much better results from that!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 2 close-up

I then started on my second panel. It's like doodling!


Don't ask me why it's started looking like a border. I don't know, and frankly my dear, I don't give a hoot. :P

I also found these little finger cots to be extremely helpful. Except when they're trying to fall off. You've got to watch where the little buggers jump to, too, because they're springy and bouncy.

But all in all it's so much easier to move the sandwich around now.

Alright, this photo just shows that I've been reading too many LOLCats and that I really need to go to bed. Have a good night all!

Fabricate: 17 Innovative Sewing Projects that Make Fabric the Star - Interweave

A friend sent me links to free beading and knitting projects via the Interweave Store.

I was checking it out and I found Fabricate: 17 Innovative Sewing Projects that Make Fabric the Star. You can glimpse a few pages of the book at Amazon.

This book looks very cool for adding texture and interest to fabric. I've always been interested in that.

For example, The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff has been on my "wish list" for eons now... I should just bite the bullet and buy the monkey-lovin' thing.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

GOventure! Green + Dizzy

Ok, this photo doesn't have much to do with today's post except that it's green, and that sometimes the pollen makes me dizzy (it's an allergy/ inner-ear thing).

So anyhoo, I was lurking around the interwebs today and found that Edie over at Butterfly Belles and Geek Gear for Girls is participating in a very cool challenge!

Kel of [i]LoveLife challenged Elise of Enjoy Design to a create-off! It's 5 days long. The first clue was Green + Dizzy, and they both created something delightful. I would love to participate, but I've got too many unfinished projects already, not to mention all those projects in my head and sketchbook that are just clamboring to come to life.

Go visit them and be inspired!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I was mentioned on CraftyPod!

Woohoo! For my answer to "Why do you craft?", I was mentioned on Sister Diane's CraftyPod. I answered her via twitter. Go listen to it to hear my answer! :)

Convertible Purse of +5 to Prettiness

Yes, I did just make a game geek reference to this handbag. *shrugs and grins* Get used to it.

I posted a bunch of pics yesterday, but was exhausted and didn't say much about the purse itself. I am totally in love with this thing and will have to make another.

The body is made of polyester satin brocade. It frays like crazy! I used heavy iron-on interfacing on the brocade, and a heavier sew-in interfacing on the silk bands.

The top band and strap are made from gold dupionni silk. I had some leftover from the stole I made for my wedding day. The lining is cut from a curtain that was used to disguise the server at work for awhile.

I used cording in the strap to give it the puffiness, then stitched twice down the center of it. I added loops inside the purse and attached swivel clasps to the strap to make it convertible. Sis can now use it as a shoulder bag or a large clutch. I just love the medallions, too. I found them in a large lot of mixed buttons I had bought on Ebay. You can see more pics of this purse and the process at my "Crafts and Projects" set on flickr.

So long and thanks for all the bellyrubs...

HRH Azrael McWhineypants
????- June 2009

I woke up yesterday morning to the doorbell. I don't like our doorbell. It's always been too loud. Now it is on the small list of objects I'd like to destroy.

So... the doorbell rang. My husband got up to answer the door, but no one was there. He came back to bed. We went back to sleep. When the doorbell rang again some little time later, DH got up to get it, seeing as how I stayed up much later working on the purse I posted about yesterday.

He woke me up a bit later with the bad news: Azzy had been hit and killed by a car on our quiet residential side-street. I couldn't believe it at first. She was so street smart. How could she have gotten hit here?

She came to us last July. We were leasing a house on the other side of town in a small subdivision. She started setting up camp on our back porch. She had a collar, but always came to our porch, even though we weren't yet feeding her. Eventually, I started putting out food for her.

I searched for any owners or previous human companions but couldn't find any. Apparently, she had adopted us.

When we had to move in October she came with us. We kept her strictly inside until around Christmas time, for fear that she'd get lost. She did NOT like being inside all the time and let us know every hour of every day that she was awake. She was very much a gotta-be-outside cat. When it was raining, she'd glare and scream at us, as if to say, "How the hell could you let this happen?!"

So she'd been loving the nice weather of late and staying out later and later, or if she came inside for the night, waking me up earlier and earlier to go out. The first thing she'd do upon going outside would be to flop down on the concrete and roll around in the dirt. She loved getting dirty. Kinda odd for a cat, but what can I say?

She was becoming tolerant of me rubbing her belly, a little tradition that started after we had her tummy shaved in prep for her spaying (which had already happened before she came to us).

She would head-butt anything and everything to give it lovin'.

She liked watching the birds in the back yard and chittering at them.

Oh, and she loved her "kitty drugs" - catnip. She'd roll around in that, too. She was such a freak sometimes!

I could go on and on, but I'll just say that she is loved, and she will be sorely missed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Secret Project" finished and unveiled!

I was up until 4:15 this morning finishing this baby, but I'm so very pleased with the way it turned out. It was for my sister-in-law, for her birthday. She's 29 (again). ;)

Here are some pics for you. I can tell you more about it tomorrow. It's been a very long, weird, sad day and I'm finally going to bed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Fabric in Store!

Hi all- I have a new listing in my store:

A Fat Quarter sextet of the Basic Grey "Sultry" collection! Yummy. Check it out here.

I'm also working on a project right now, but I've got to keep it hush-hush until tomorrow. I hope to have it done by then. I am taking pictures along the way. Here's a teaser that doesn't give too much away:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Green your blog to support Freedom and Fair Elections in Iran

I've been told that as an online shop owner I should keep away from politics on my blog and on social media. I just can't do that right now. I've been following the Iran situation, and it just burns my hide that the people there, that people anywhere, are being oppressed.

Students attacked in their university dormitories. Bloggers and tweeters being hunted down because they're telling their stories, telling the world what's really going on inside their cities, their country.

What can we do, here where we sit, to help these humans in their cause of freedom?

We can do as has suggested:

"I’ve temporarily changed the background of my blog to green to express solidarity with those who yearn for freedom in Iran. If you have a blog or website of your own, won’t you please consider doing the same?...

If you live in the USA or any free country; where you are allowed to say what you want, do what you want, elect the leaders you want, readmarch in the streets if you want, then take a couple of minutes and show your support for these brave men and women who want nothing more or less than to enjoy the same freedoms you and I take for granted every single day. the blogs you want, and

It won’t take much. Put a green background on your blog or website for a week. It’s a small gesture, but it would mean a lot.

Just do it. And be thankful that you can."

We can help them out by passing the word, by showing support, by educating others, by donating some bandwidth so they can use it.

I've greened my photo on Twitter in support, as well as changed my location to Iran and timezone to +3:30 Tehran. This is in order to help hide those tweeters in Iran that officials are trying to hush up.

For more information, please see LeeDumond's blog, and

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Introducing HRH, Azrael McWhinypants

Open Door NAO, HUMAN!

This is our cat, Azrael. She adopted us last July. She's very vocal, and has quite the "catitude." Sometimes, when we're in the kitchen, or living room, or office, etc, she'll sit in the middle of it and scream at us. Yes, she has food and water. Our theory: she's just plumb crazy!

She sometimes attacks my legs and leaves scars for fun. I've thought about trimming her nails, but well, I'd like to keep my hands. The vet had to put her under sedation just to administer her vaccines. Awethome.

She's mean and wacky, and wakes me up at 3 in the morning, those times she hasn't stayed out all night. When she's outside, she's either chasing squirrels, rolling in the dirt, screaming at the rain, or carpeting our camping chair with kitty "wool." But we love her. She's our surly, whiny ball of fur and claws.

I'm parting with some of my stash...

So, because a fabric addiction can be a costly thing, I'm selling some of my stash so I can continue to hoard more fabric.

I just LOOOOVE the Sultry line from Basic Grey for Moda. I'll be keeping some of it, but I can't keep all of it. This is some of the first to go.

I have to go through my pics and organize everything to get more in my shop, but keep looking. More will be there soon. :)

I won? I won!

I won the week 2 prize, the Quilting Package over at Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog. This just doesn't happen for me. I usually bring good luck for other people, but don't win anything myself. I guess my luck is beginning to change!

Here's what I won:

Week 2 Prize

Quilting Package

Over $150 retail value

  • Quilter’s Presser Feet Kit. This kit includes the Dual Feed Foot with Guide, open Toe Stippling Foot and Clear ¼” Piecing Foot. (Fits all Husqvarna Viking machines except Mega Quilter and Mega Quilter 18×8)
  • Water Color Bobbins
  • Bobbin Saver
Now let's just hope I win the sewing machine on which to use the feet and bobbins!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I finished my quilt top!

Here's my quilt top. It's 75" by 53.25". I finished it at about 3 this morning. :)

I added "Livingston Seagull" from Henry Alexander to the edges to widen and lengthen it, then used some of the yard I purchased of "Today's Special" in teal from Hello Betty for the corners.

I've got an old twin bed sheet that will work nicely for the backing. Up-cycling is great!

Next, I wait for the Warm & Natural to arrive from Joann's online. What can I say? It was a good price to begin with, then came with a 40% off coupon. Nothing to sneeze at there!

Friday, June 12, 2009

June is Sewing Machine Month over at Sew,Mama,Sew!

They’ve started this Sewing Machine Meme, for which I’m posting my entry here.

You all get to know a little bit more about my sewing machine (and me), and I get to add to their list of sewing machine reviews!

What brand and model do you have?

I own a Singer model 8280 sewing machine.

How long have you had it?

Three years

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

Clothing, handbags, home dec, just starting on my first quilt. I sew whatever I take a fancy to. :)

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

My sewing machine is in use anywhere from 1-10 hours a week.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I like my sewing machine. I do. Betsy’s light, steadfast, and loyal. She will not jam up on you in the middle of a project for no apparent reason. But Betsy doesn’t have the functionality of my first machine, Nelly, a Riccar 2600.

She had embroidery cams. However, she was rather heavy to move around, and could be counted upon to seize up at the most inopportune moment. Her tension assembly kept freezing up, no matter how many times I had it serviced and replaced.

In the end, it was like owning an ’85 Ford Escort with a gleaming, air-brushed paint job and a hole in the engine block.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

I like the thread-cutting area on the side. I like the storage area in the base that slides off for bobbin access, and the variable zig-zag stitch adjustment. I like that she’s light enough to move often, as I switch back and forth between her and my serger. All of her accoutrements are well-made and easy to use.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

I can move her needle from the center to the right and back again, but NOT TO THE LEFT.

Really Betsy?!

How un-functional is that when I really want to stitch some piping, but your big-edged zipper foot tries to push it away?! If your needle went from center to left we wouldn’t have this problem, now would we?

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

My husband bought this machine for me as a birthday present while we were dating because he saw me getting frustrated over and over again at my old machine. I was in a pattern drafting class at the time and had I had finally resorted to hand-stitching seams in order to avoid the headache of my old one.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

I would recommend this machine to those who need a dependable, light, inexpensive machine, and who do not require the machine to do the embroidery and fancy work for them.

This is a great machine for beginners, dabblers, and those who aren't ready to shell out the dough for a fancier one.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

I think expected time usage, intended use, ergonomics, and functionality as compared to price are all important when looking to buy a new machine.

Are you going to use all the functions on a certain type of machine, or would you be just as happy with a machine with fewer functions that doesn’t break the nest egg?

Is the pedal comfortable to your foot? Are the presser foot lever, back-stitch function, and stitch functions easy to access and control? Is the bobbin a pain to thread? Will you be cursing it every time you have to change it?

All these factors are what I would keep in mind when shopping around.

Do you have a dream machine?

No. I would liken my Singer to a tried but true Honda Accord, as compared to the flashy, luxurious Lexuses, Jaguars, and Aston Martins that are of the Husqvarna/Viking/ Bernina/ Janome class machines.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Paper and drool don't mix!

Crafts, Scrapbooking - Dark Green Forest Quilled Dragon by Ensorcelled Minds -

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This is the cutest dragon I think I've ever seen! I want to buy it, but I'm afraid I would ruin it, what with all the cuddling and drooling all over it!

Photo from Ensorcelled Minds

Quick Skillet "Lasagna"

I found a recipe for Skillet Lasagna on Spark Recipes, and altered it for our vegetarian diet. You can replace the crumbles with ground meat if you so wish, but it will increase the fat content.
I kick myself for not taking a picture of it while it was still in the pot. Maybe I'll take a pic of leftovers later.


1.5 Tbsp Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
1 c. Fat Free Cottage Cheese
1 lg Egg, fresh
1/4 c. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1 tsp Oregano, ground
1 tbsp Parsley
1 tbsp Basil
1 tsp Salt
1.5 tsp Garlic,
1 cup Onions, raw, chopped
1 c. Baby Portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 can Canned Tomatoes
1 c. Morningstar Grillers Recipe Crumbles
1 can Hunt's Garlic and Onion Pasta sauce
2.5 c. *Wild Harvest organic whole wheat penne
1/2 c. Fat Free Mozzarella, Shredded


In a large skillet, brown mushrooms, crumbles with onions, garlic and margarine.
Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt.
Stir in uncooked pasta.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Combine cottage and Parmesan cheeses.
Mix in the egg.
Sprinkle in basil and pepper to taste.
Drop cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons onto pasta mixture.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and serve.

Number of Servings: 6
Approx. 50 minutes to prep and cook

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 6
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 270.3
  • Total Fat: 5.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 41.3 mg
  • Sodium: 1,243.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 40.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7.8 g
  • Protein: 16.2 g

    see more recipes
  • Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Design your own fat quarter bundle for a chance to win it!

    The image above is "Summer in Grandma's Orchard", my fat quarter bundle entry* for the giveaway over at The Fabric Shopper Blog.

    Melanie, Fabric Shopper extraordinaire, is hosting a giveaway courtesy of Whipstitch Fabrics.

    Here's how it works: you design your own fat quarter bundle of 12 or less from the Whipstich inventory, then post it on the Fabric Shopper Blog for a chance to win it!

    She's got other chances for entries as well. You should check it out!

    *My selection "Summer in Grandma's Orchard" includes: (shown above, left to right)
    1 Metro Market apples in aqua, from Monaluna
    2 Kona cotton solids, petal pink
    3 Apples and Pears in blue, from Alexander Henry
    4 Alexander Henry Granville in pink
    5 Kona cotton solids, grass green
    6 Kona cotton solids, lemon
    7 Carolina Gingham in pink, from Robert Kaufman
    8 Fortune in sun, from Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks
    9 Carolina Gingham from Robert Kaufman in Apple Green
    10 Sandi Henderson Farmer's Market Apple Dot in Spring, Michael Miller cotton fabric
    11 Bird Seed in yellow, from Alexander Henry
    12 Metro Market Chickens in summer, from Monaluna for Robert Kaufman

    Hello Betty Quilt Layout

    I laid out my blocks yesterday evening and photographed them. I ended up adding a bit of a pattern of order to the quilt because so many of the prints are a bit chaotic. I will be switching the closest block in the right corner (row 4, place 1), with that in the opposite corner (row 1, place 6).

    Sunday, June 7, 2009

    My blocks are finished!

    Here are my eight block strips before I cut them into 11.5" squares.

    I now have 24 11.5" blocks. Some of these blocks are a stack of 2 or 3 of the same. There's just not enough room in my sewing room to lay them all out. I'll have to clear a space on the dining room floor tomorrow to arrange them. More pics soon!

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    More fun with fabric!

    I decided to buy 4 more pieces of fabric, 1/4 yard each, in order to stretch my jelly roll a bit further.

    I dropped by Piece by Piece here in Eugene, hoping they'd have some matching colors or even Hello Betty.

    She didn't have any Hello Betty, but I found a ton of great fabrics and narrowed it down the the four on the left. I was too busy drooling over the selection to remember to write down the designers of these 4 fabrics. I do know, however, that the one on top is from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern collection.

    Here they are all sliced up!

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    Strip teaser!

    Ok, so I got the jelly roll fabric for my Quilt-Along yesterday. Check out the group at the Red Barn 2009 Quilt-Along Flickr page. Here are my strips laid out:

    I really need to try to take pics during daylight hours. Otherwise they turn out like what you see on the right. *sigh*

    I'm not sure that this will be enough fabric.

    I ordered this jelly roll at the same time:

    I'm not sure how well they'll coordinate. I have some more quilting fabric on the way, but it won't get here until next Wednesday. Plus, I plan to put a bunch of it in my etsy shop to generate some business.

    Speaking of etsy, I just posted some ribbon in my shop. Check it out!

    Thursday, June 4, 2009


    Shown above:
    The new banner for my etsy shop that my husband surprised me with yesterday. How sweet! I had been working on something the evening before, but hadn't yet arrived at anything compelling.

    He has spent a little more time lately with photoshop, so he thought he'd give it a shot. He arranged a few of my fabrics, photographed them, tweaked the photo, then played around with the text until he arrived at the outline of the text shown. I asked that he add the layer of black text for legibility.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    My Word

    I saw this and decided I needed to know today, right now, exactly what MY word is. :)

    Your Word is "Think"

    You see life as an amazing mix of possibilities, ideas, and fascinations.
    And sometimes you feel like you don't have enough time to take it all in.

    You love learning. Whether you're in school or not, you're probably immersed in several subjects right now.

    When you're not learning, you're busy reflecting. You think a lot about the people you know and the things you've experienced.

    Crafting happiness, every day

    I read something this morning that struck me as something I should hold onto, as well as pass on to others. It's a list of things that tend to circle around inside most peoples' minds and keep them from being happy or successful.

    It reminded me that happiness is such a fleeting emotion. It is found moment by moment, and often only if you're looking for it. You can choose to craft those moments that make you happy. Perhaps that's the secret to a successful life as a happy person.

    Haleakala Sunrise and Visitor's Center by Megan Harris, 2007

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    Learning to Quilt

    I just joined this Quilt-Along at Old Red Barn Co. I've done some piecing, and smaller patchwork projects, but no quilts so far. There is a prize associated, a Janome 6600P sewing machine. This thing makes me drool.

    Thanks to Mare for finding the tutorial and contest! Unfortunately, it's already on week 3. Can I do it? I think I can!

    To save myself a bit of time and to be able to catch up, I just ordered this jelly roll.
    I've had my eye on this fabric for awhile, and it sure helps that it's now on sale! I think it should turn out quite nicely.

    DIY Sandals

    Lookee what I found!

    Check out this tutorial at M&J Trimming to make fabulous fringed and feathered sandals!