Thursday, March 31, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Trifecta

I've got a triple play of favorites to share with you this week, as I link up with Quilting in My Pyjamas' Favourite Things Friday.  Each of these things made me smile and/or laugh out loud in the past few days.

1.  You may recall me mentioning in a previous FTF post that my favorite TV comedy is Parks and Recreation.   Imagine how delighted I was to visit completely cauchy this week and see how she translated into embroidery some quotes of our favorite character, Ron Swanson!

Click the link under the photos for all the fun details in her original posts.

The one above is based on this segment.  Apparently, Ron and I both love a good vintage typewriter! 

2.  My friends Kathy and Marie and I are watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (starring Colin Firth) when we get together for breakfast once a month.  We're two-thirds of the way through the DVDs.  

Kathy and I are very familiar with the story, but Marie was not.  Apparently, she could no longer stand the suspense until our next meeting on April 9 and the conclusion of the series.  She sent this letter via email the other day, which completely cracked me up!  Especially the third paragraph (she had asked for our advice on what color to paint one of her bedrooms).

To my dearest friends, Mrs. P. and Mrs. K, I send this with deepest regards and beseech you to read it with the inflection intended as from one Ms. Elizabeth Bennet.

For I have with liberty undertaken the perusal of one writing entitled Pride and Prejudice and have accomplished the entirety of it from beginning to end.  But let me further expound that in my endeavor to obtain aforementioned manuscript, I did most obligingly come across the recording of said work and thus had the satisfaction of having it read to me over a period of not less than eleven and one-half hours filled with unmitigated enjoyment by a most accomplished reader in the person of Ms. Josephine Bailey.  My intent, I must confess, was only to lend an ear as far as the enjoyment of the series had brought us thus far, but I could not contain my approbation and eagerness to hear the entire tale and thus was desirous of its conclusion.  I now know all, and it is with heightened anticipation that our next engagement can come none too soon!

In another direction entirely, I also wish to impart my immense satisfaction with the advice of Mrs. P. in the selection of a hue for the bedchamber at Marilaine Manor.  I deigned to acquiesce to the color suggested by Mrs. P. and have been none the less gratified by said choice.  The color is exquisite and blends rapturously from the hall to the chamber.  Your suggestion, therefore, was of the utmost satisfaction to me, unlike that given by Mrs. K. which, it pains me to relate, fell far short of anything of which I could have had the advantage.

But to both of you I owe a debt of gratitude for the delight of a novel well read and a color well chosen.  Until such time as we can once again engage in each other's most desirous of company, I close with hearty felicitations to all.

Yours etc.
Lady Marie

3.  My third and final favorite this week is a photo posted by Jeni at In Color Order of her bunny George in the basket of her awesome new bike.  

Cutest bunny EVER!

Thanks for visiting, and happy Favorite Things Friday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Progress Report

Time to check in with the 15 Minute Challenge of spending said amount of time per day in the sewing room.  I didn't make any notes this week, so I don't have a day-by-day breakdown, but I do know that I spent at least 15 minutes in the sewing room 4 out of 7 days this past Monday through Sunday, mostly on this: 

Time was spent cutting and sewing together these blocks for a sudoku quilt.  I had intended to get the sashing sewn on as well, but the turquoise Kona solid I thought would look so fabulous...didn't.  So I'm mulling over the options.  I'd like to use stash, if I can find something that will work.  I'm even considering a scrappy sashing.  Not sure how that would look, but then again, this is just something I'm going to throw over myself while I'm watching TV, so who cares? 

Well, maybe a few who might happen upon a picture of it on this blog and think, Hoo-boy, what was she thinking? and recoil a little bit.  But that's what they make those little mouse clickers for, so that one can move along before one gets a migraine or urps lunch.

I wish I had more in the way of sewing/quilting fabulousness to show for the week, but work is still kicking my rump and making me feel a little off to boot*.  Escaping to the sewing room for a while does help.  I only wish it could be for longer. 

It's interesting that I am applying the 15-minute process to other endeavors as well.  For instance, on the way to get groceries on Sunday, I swung by Goodwill for a quick run-through and found a lime green Pyrex casserole (top right in the photo below).  

*or it could be the Reese's Pieces eggs I bought to go in my mouth blue candy dish, even though they contain milk and I should therefore not have them in the house.  Not to mention the carton of Greek yogurt.  I totally caved to advertising.  I hope my GI tract will eventually forgive me. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Cuts

Those fifteen minutes in the sewing room really do amount to something.  Today they amounted to an hour, during which I cut squares for a sudoku quilt.  

Quite a variety of different prints, but I think that's the charm.  I'm using four of the five FQs that were in the pack I found at Goodwill a week or so ago.  The others are pulled from stash.  We've got some Cosmo Cricket in there, second from left above, some Born to be Wild by Hoffman on the far left, and I wish you could see in person that rust print with the metallic details in the center.  The photo does it no justice.  It's by Robert Kaufman, Imperial Fusions:Kyoto.  Very luxurious.  It almost feels like a decorator weight fabric.  The print reminds me of pheasant feathers.

Yep, it's an eclectic mix, but I'm looking forward to sewing it up.  This one's for me, just going to be a throw.

I discovered The Avett Brothers last night when I clicked on a music recommendation for me on  As it turns out, I've heard one of their songs on the radio during the past few months (the second video) but didn't know who sang it.  I really like them a lot.  Maybe you will (or already do) too.  I like when music moves me, physically or otherwise.  There's just something very compelling about this band from North Carolina.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fifteen Minutes

"Busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest..."

That expression has always made me giggle.*  When it applies to me, though, not so much.

Working three jobs with but a rough framework of a schedule sounds like a flexibility lover's dream, and for the most part, it is.  When one or two jobs are status quo or slack, the other often picks up.  When all three get a little busier at the same time, however, it becomes more of a logistical conundrum.  Sit down to do one thing and another brushfire pops up.

And so it goes.

Flowers from a thoughtful employer on my five-year work anniversary this week.
That's why Kate's idea of carving out 15 minutes of sewing room time per day appealed to me.  Fifteen minutes seems manageable even under the busiest of circumstances, and allows me to keep moving forward, even if in baby steps.

I've been trying to do that since last Monday, and I fully intended to report on my progress through the linky on Kate's blog on Tuesday.  But since blogging about anything takes me longer than 15 minutes, the post didn't happen...until now.

Monday 3/14 - Create and post tutorial for St. Patrick's Day mug rug.

Tuesday 3/15 - Trim fabric for a friend's planned Sudoku quilt and get ready to mail.

Wednesday 3/16 - Look through fabric stash for Paper Piece Quilt Along fabrics (nothing suitable found...put "shop for fabric" on to-do list).

Thursday 3/17 - Pull and cut fabric for Just One Star block.

Friday 3/18 - Make Just One Star block.

Saturday 3/19 - Fabric shop for PPQA fabric and fruit & veggie prints for Mom Wald's quilt project.

Sunday 3/20 - Prewash fabric and cut blocks from fruit & veggie prints.

So there you have it.  Nothing mind blowing, but action I'm happy about nonetheless.  I plan to keep it up.  Whether I get around to posting about it every week, I can't say for sure.  So far this week, I'm only one for seven; two if you count the post office run to mail some fabric and a quilt block. 

Next on the agenda is to get another PhD (Project Half Done) finished.  I intended to quilt the cross stitch veggie wall hanging for my sister in time for her birthday.  That didn't happen.  Today is her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Nita!  I promise to get it done before anyone plants a garden around here.

That may be a while.  Winter came back for a visit this week.  

There is a frozen sap-sicle on the river birch in the front yard.  We had the tree trimmed last fall, and when it was warmer last week, the sap fell like raindrops from where a branch had been lopped.

Speaking of things on hold, like springtime in Wisconsin, Sunday Sundry will be doing likewise for a while.  Since I'm having to work more on weekends, I'd like to spend the free hours I do have away from the computer and in the sewing room instead (or the thrift shops, or with family).  When the wave of work passes and things have smoothed out again, Sunday Sundry will be back.

Did I ever show you this crocheted apron I found at the thrift store a couple months ago?  

I love the rickrack and ribbon waistband.

It reminds me there's green grass under the white stuff outside, new green underneath the pile of paperwork, lovely things waiting to pop and grow.  

All that from an apron.  Who knew?

*I thought about cleaning up the language, but it just doesn't have the same effect.  Thanks for reading, if you made it this far without taking offense.  Now go kick some ass!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mint Green Beauty

I have been editing photos for an hour or so this afternoon, and my head is all swimmy.  In a good way, though, like when you've had a nap and woken up in that calm, semi-dreamy state, and now all you want to do is stand in front of the refrigerator and eat a few grapes.

Hey, what do you say I snap out of it and write a blog post already?

So here is the object of my affection, the heaviest thing I put into my cart at Goodwill a couple days ago (but don't hold that against it).

When I saw it, I had that rush of instant happy recognition, like when you run into a childhood friend you haven't seen in a couple decades.  Your entire countenance changes.  Bells ring.

I took a brief moment to moon over it there in the store aisle with my husband.  He knew it was a great find too (super clean, no nicks or scratches, complete with original manual and brushes!).  

Very soon, however, that giddy feeling dissolved into the next:  This is too good to be true; let's load this baby up, pay, and haul ass!  Fellow thrifter Vonlipi has a phrase for this kind of moment:  Start the car! 

Friends, allow me to introduce you to the Hermes 3000 typewriter from probably the mid-1960s.  Mint green, mint condition.

I know this machine.  I learned to type on this machine, i.e., one exactly like it.  (I had thought all along it was an Olivetti, but when I saw this one, I recognized it instantly.)  I know where everything is and how it all works.  This is the one!

Okay, so I'm a bit of a dweeb.  I taught myself to type one summer when I was in middle/junior high school (the things we did before the internet...).  I set this baby up on my study desk in the corner of the bedroom, propped up my mom's 1950s typing manual, the kind that's hardbound at the top, and pounded away.

f f f space, j j j space...

I typed up stuff like these recipe cards.  Dweeby and domestic.  Qualities every middle schooler wants to cultivate.

Please forgive the typos (chortening?).

In high school, my guidance counselor asked what I wanted to be.  Answer:  A secretary.  He thought I was aiming awfully low.  Perhaps he was right.  So I went to college, partied, and got a BA in Psychology with a minor in Office Administration.  Then I went to work as a secretary.

My best friends are secretaries (admin assistants, legal assistants, paralegals, whatevs).  They are some of the smartest people I know.

The Hermes 3000 is a Swiss-made typewriter.  It weighs probably close to 30 pounds.  I think the word "portable" is applied loosely.  You wouldn't want to be lugging this baby up the Alps.  Though if you did and managed to reach your secluded cabin without herniating a disc, you could type your novel with it, like Jack Keruoac did.  His Hermes 3000 sold at auction for $22,500.

I mentioned yesterday that this makes the third vintage typewriter I've bought in a year.  I think that makes it an official collection, at least until I decide to sell one or more of them.  Here are the other machines I thrifted in 2010, each of which I love only slightly less than the aforementioned.

This is a Royal typewriter, and the model is called Parade.  Made in the 1960s, I believe, in Holland.  

Such a pretty blue.  Well-made, solid, yet substantially lighter in weight.

If I were in the habit of naming typewriters, I might name this one Kate, after the woman who will have her own royal parade when she marries Prince William. Quite photogenic too, no?

Don't judge the next one by its cover.

The Olympia is a German-built tank of a typewriter.  And yet it is a thing of beauty, in an Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of way.

Slightly intimidating, what with the military green metal and spit-shiny black keys.  

Not to mention the upper body strength needed to heft it up onto the desk.  Bench press this machine regularly and you can probably drop your gym membership.  You will no longer be a girly-man.

You can read more about the Hermes 3000 and the Olympia HERE and HERE.  I don't pretend to be an expert on typewriters.

I just think they're sexy. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 31

It was a beautiful spring day yesterday.  I am loving these  longer hours of daylight.  I can feel the energy returning, my mojo workin', even while the rest of me enjoyed the day off.

Found this pretty blue glass dish at one of the thrift stores Norm and I visited yesterday.  At a different store, there was the vintage gingham to match, as well as the thread.

My Pyrex radar went off as I neared a cart of to-be-shelved items at Goodwill.  There were all sorts of random clear glass lids in a pile.  As I shifted a couple of them, this divided dish peeked out.  Then over at the very bottom of the domestics table was a five-pack of fat quarters for $1.49.  Can you believe it?  It pays to dig!

Love the prints, but especially the koi.

A Lover and a Fighter
My good friends and I gathered for breakfast yesterday and part two of our Pride and Prejudice marathon.  Ooh, it's getting good now.  The plot thickens.  Meanwhile, Darcy got hot (and still is) and went for a swim.  We were hopeful he would remove more than his overcoat, but alas, he kept his shirt on.

However, there was plenty of shirtlessness in The Fighter, which Norm and I watched on DVD last night.  In fact, I suspect the world might be a better place if Mark Wahlberg were simply required to be shirtless at all times.

Kidding aside, it was a great movie, and based on a true story.  You can meet the real people behind the story in the DVD special features.

Further in Fabric and Philanthropy
I have gathered my fabrics for the Paper Piece Quilt Along with Sarcastic Quilter.  (Gathered, as in I did a little fabric shopping yesterday too.)  I am hoping to make the Easter table topper or wall hanging.  You can see all the fun designs she's got worked out for the paper piece-along  in the Flickr group.  Join the fun, if you're sew inclined.

I also picked out a few cute veggie and fruit prints to send Mary at Mom Wald's Place for the quilt she is making to be auctioned for Japan relief.  It will have embroidered fruits and veggies, as well as four-patch blocks in fruit/veggie prints.  

The auction proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross for Japan.  You can check out the details HERE and HERE.  It's going to be so cute!

Friends, that's about all the time we have for today, but I'll be back in a day or two with more, including pics of the of heaviest thing I thrifted this weekend.  Hint:  It's the third such item I've bought in a year.  What is the saying?  Three of anything equals a collection?  Oh, no! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just One

Just one block.  That's all I managed to sew this week, but that's all the Just One Star quilt project needs—one block from many quilters!

I heard about this worthy cause earlier this week from Jenny, and my reaction was, One block?  I can do that! 

It's explained in this post on Moda Lissa, but essentially, Moda Fabrics is participating in a Quilts of Valor challenge program to piece, bind, and quilt 100 comfort quilts for military service members and veterans.  This particular challenge is called Just One Star.

To reach their goal of 100 quilts, they need a total of 1800 star blocks, the directions for which can be found here

The quilts will look something like this when completed:

If you'd like to make a block for this effort, there's plenty of time.  Just follow the instructions linked in the previous paragraph and mail it by May 1, 2011 to the address given in the instructions.

Just one block for Just One Star.  It doesn't seem like much, but it's enough!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Favorite Thing Friday - '70s Rock

It's almost Friday here, but it's been Friday on the other side of the world for a while already, where Shay, fearless leader of Favourite Things Friday, lives.  I'm joining the linky party on the spur of the moment this evening, since it's too late to do any serious treadmill walking anyway.  I know; darn.

What would really be my favorite thing is to have a Friday (or any day of the week) in which I didn't have to do any ding-dang typing.  Because you know what?  My forearms actually hurt from all the keyboard pounding I've been doing lately.  That cannot be good.  And yes, I know, doing a blog post involves typing, but it's of the recreational sort, so that doesn't count.

But I will keep this short on words and instead cop out with some videos of one of my favorite things, '70s rock!

Now, I'm not that person who's gotta listen to the classic rock station all day.  Even though I like this stuff, more than a few hours of Rush, Peter Frampton, and Queen are going to make me want to pierce my own eardrums with a busted guitar string.  All things in moderation, I say. 

The idea for this post came about because it's St. Patrick's Day, and I was thinking about whether there was any decent rock music to come out of Ireland which not involve a guy named Bono.  Then I remembered Thin Lizzy, the 1970s rock band formed in Dublin. 

Which then got me thinking of a lot of other '70s rock music I liked (none of it Irish, sadly) which, if I wasn't having such a nose-to-the-grindstone work week, I might take the time to figure out how to embed in one of those handy-dandy playlists.  But that seemed a little too time consuming and brain intensive, so YouTube will have to suffice.

So here are a few faves in random order.  Feel free to nod your head and sing along loudly.  Flick your Bic even. 

I'd have to say that for me this evening, my favorite is the Doobie Brothers Black Water. (Unfortunately, embedding was not allowed on that excellent,  version, but please feel free to click the link and enjoy it on YouTube.)  It's the perfect music to de-stress by.  And right about now, I'd like to be floating along on that raft that I built me that's ready for floating...trolling my sore arms in the water.

Happy Friday, all!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tutorial - St. Patrick's Day Mug Rug

Are you in the mood for a fun, Irish-themed sewing project?  Then you've come to the right place!  I'm serving up a tutorial for a St. Patrick's Day mug rug that will go well with whatever your drink of choice this week, be it Irish coffee, Guinness, or something else.

Here's what you will need:

From GREEN fabric:
Cut 3 - 1.5 x 3.5 inch strips
Cut 1 - .75 x 3.5 inch strip
Cut 3 - 2 inch squares
Cut 1 - 1.5 inch square

From ORANGE fabric:
Cut 1 - 1.5 x 3.5 inch strip

From WHITE fabric:
Cut 2 - 1.5 x 3.5 inch strips
Cut 3 - 1 inch squares
Cut 1 - 2.5 inch square
Cut 2 - 1.5 inch squares

From BLACK fabric:
Cut 2 - 7/8 inch x 3.5 strips
Cut 2 - 1.5 x 10.5 inch strips
Cut 2 - 1.5 x 5.5 inch strips

BACKING fabric:
Cut 1 - 13.5 x 6.5 rectangle

Cut 1 - 13.5 x 6.5 piece

Cut 1 - 2.25 x WOF (width of fabric) strip; press in half lengthwise.

Irish Flag Block:  Sew together one each of the green, white, and orange 1.5 x 3.5 strips (1/4 inch seams throughout).

Shamrock Block:  Put one 1-inch white square into the corner of each of the three 2-inch green squares.  Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner; stitch along line.  Trim and press outward.

Make stem of shamrock by cutting white 2.5 inch square on diagonal.  Sew white triangles to either side of .75 x 3.5 inch green strip.  Press and trim to 2 inches square.

Sew together the four squares to make shamrock.  Press and trim block to 3.5 square.

Nine-Patch Block:  Sew together two 1.5 x 3.5 inch green strips with one 1.5 x 3.5 inch white strip in center.  Sew the two  white 1.5 inch squares together with one green 1.5 inch square in center.  Sub-cut the green-white-green strata into two 1.5 x 3.5 inch strips.  Assemble 9-patch.

Sew a 7/8 x 3.5 inch strip between blocks.

Sew black border strips to top and bottom, then to each side.

Layer backing (wrong side up), batting, and top.  Pin baste.  I like to use straight pins for small projects like this, as they're easier to remove without shifting layers.

Quilt as desired.  I went with straight line, vertical stitching in the ditch.  You will want to switch to your walking foot at this point if you're doing straight line quilting.  I also find it helpful to use painter's tape as a guide.

After quilting, trim away excess batting and backing.  Press binding strip in half lengthwise and bind.

And you're done!  Admire your mug rug from both sides!

Then pour yourself a cold one (or hot), and celebrate!

Oh, how I wish this were Bailey's Irish Cream, but being dairy intolerant, I had to settle for chocolate soy milk (and dream on).  Anyway, cheers!