Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 49

This past week messed with my mojo a little bit, but it's all good.  Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the turkey dinner.  Hope all of you here in the States had a Happy Thanksgiving and that everyone everywhere is enjoying a great weekend.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at my sister's and had a nice time.  I only managed to snap a photo or two early on and then put my camera back in my purse and forgot about it. 

I liked her display on top of the quilt rack, some vintage kitchen items she picked up at the flea market we went to in September.  Looks like there's even some room for future finds.

Have you seen the Handmade with Love holiday tutorial contest at Pink Chalk Fabrics?  There are a lot of fun projects being linked.  I explored several of them the other day and decided to make one as a Christmas gift.  I worked on it Wednesday night while I listened to the rest of the Water for Elephants audiobook.  Hours passed as I sewed contently along.  Norm was running the soundboard for my brother's band at a local gig, so it was just blissful me time.  
I finished that little project today but can't post a photo here because it is a gift.  However, I did upload it to a Flickr group for the person whose tutorial I used, so you can see it HERE.  I've asked the recipient not to peek—and if she does, I don't want to know!

Last weekend, we saw Twilight: Breaking Dawn, and I loved it.  I wished it could have been different in some parts, but overall I was happy with it.  But it puzzles me (disturbs may be a better word) when people bring their very young children (5, 6, 7-year-olds) to a PG-13 movie such as this.  Several groups with young children filed in.  Seriously?  Was Happy Feet sold out?

Friends, you may be relieved to know that I had a brand new Twilight New Moon board game in my hands today at Goodwill, but I put it back.  See?  I can control my obsession.  It was tough, though.  I walked around cradling it for about 15 minutes before I set it back down.  I hope the lucky person who buys it appreciates my sacrifice.

This, however, made me laugh uncontrollably.  We got the holiday ThinkGeek catalog in the mail today.  Be sure to read the item, instructions.
It had me in hysterics, I tell ya!

There's a lot of fun stuff in that catalog.  Like this T-shirt:
Vitruvian Dude

What's on your Christmas wish list?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kaleidoscope Quilt Finish

Norm was right about the binding; it totally works.

I am happy to report that the kaleidoscope quilt is done.  I gave up waiting for the sun to come out from under the clouds and went ahead with taking photos of it on the deck this morning.  I freezed my freezing fingers off doing it, but that's what big mugs of tea are for, thawing frozen, freezed-off, freezing fingers.

Silly f-words aside, here it is.  Although it's not the '70s rock inspired piece I intended it to be, I do love the finished quilt!

There will be a version 2.0 kaleidoscope quilt that hopefully will achieve the vibe I had planned for this quilt.  In the meantime, I'm reserving the secret name for the second iteration.  (It's based on a song with lyrics weird and iconic enough to inspire, and a glammy, now deceased, front man.  That's all the hints I'm giving on that.)

Norm calls this "the candy quilt."  That's not the alternate name I had in mind, but I can see his point of view.  (There's a part of me that wants to do up the CC label in rainbow-colored embroidery thread with daisies for the asterisks.  Actually, I think a little hand work practice might be nice...)

More photos of the back:

The finale of foldedness:

Thanks to Elizabeth D. of Don't Call Me Betsy for the kaleidoscope quilt-along that provided the motivation and method for making this quilt come together!  See the Flickr group pool for more eye candy and inspiration.

Friday, November 18, 2011

He Won the Toss

It seems like forever since I've posted, but there hasn't been much of anything sewing related to talk about.  I started the week with some kind of horrendous flu bug, which thankfully passed in a day or two.  Then when work wasn't being busy, I was sidetracking myself on other bunny trails, with a bit of dithering and procrastinating in between.

Thank you all for chiming in on the binding for the kaleidoscope quilt.  I appreciate your taking the time to visualize and comment.  Fairly early in the week, I had pretty much decided to cut the yellow binding and intended to go and do that as soon as I pressed "Send" on an email and got up from the computer.  But the getting up part didn't happen (see "sidetracked," above).

Someone needs to invent the computer chair ejector seat, and a portable model for laptop or iPad users (the iEjector?).  Preferably with a 3-2-1 countdown sequence, warning vibrations, and rocket exploding noises.
(Or maybe someone already has, but that model comes delivered in a plain brown wrapper...but this is a family friendly site so we won't go any further with that!)

Another day dawned, and I made an impromptu run to JoAnn's to explore other possible binding options, and came home with three (!).  I really favored one, but when I asked my husband his opinion later that evening, he favored a different one of the three.

So there they sat the rest of the week, the hunks of fabric on the floor on top of my quilt, while I sat working and dithering and dithering and working and procrastinating.
Tonight I announced, "We have to make a very important decision," as I pulled a quarter out of my purse.  I tossed, Norm called.  He won.
"Aw, two out of three?" since I am a good loser like that.  

"Sure."  He won again on the second toss.

"You'll love it.  I can see it in my mind already, and it's going to look great," he reassured.  He's probably right.

I've got a busy weekend ahead, what with Twilight: Breaking Dawn to be seen in the theater, pretty people to be drooled over, special contacts to be worn, lines to be stood in, medium-rare steak to be eaten afterward, a binding to be sewn, and more work-work to be done.  Sunday Sundry will be MIA this weekend, but look for the bound and completed kaleidoscope quilt reveal early next week.
There are also plans in the works for the next project.  

I'll be using these two groups of FQs from separate giveaway winnings, but I think they'll work well together in this quilt.  That's Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda on the right and a variety on the left, including a Sharon Holland design and Amy Butler, I believe.

There is a whole story about how I finally decided upon the two main frame colors (Ash and Mink from Connecting Threads, shown underneath the stacks), and guess what?  It involves a generous amount of dithering and procrastination, along with plenty of sidetracking.  I'll show you the stack of rejects another time, but today let's focus on the positive.

Have a great weekend!  Ciao for now!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 48

I finished quilting the kaleidoscope quilt yesterday (woo-hoo!).  It went pretty well, despite the size.  The center was a little tricky to maneuver in, and that is where I started.  I did a few meanders and—I'm not going to lie—for a brief moment I considered stopping, ripping out my stitches, and calling my local longarm quilter.  But no, I had it basted and we had come this far together, just persevere (so went the self pep talk).  Keep going, keep going, keep going.  And I did.  And it's done.  And I'm glad!  

I am sort of embarrassed to admit I wanted to wimp out, but there it is.  I didn't.  I took courage from friends who told me they or someone they knew had quilted a king size quilt on a regular machine, and this wasn't even that big.  Perhaps it will be an encouragement to someone in a similar situation who doesn't know if they have it in them (you do).

Okay, so here is the latest dilemma.  What kind of binding should I do?  I mean, the backing is a soft custard yellow with multicolored strips from some of the fabrics on the front.  I quilted it in matching yellow thread, which blended well overall.  I was thinking a yellow binding, as I have enough yardage in the custard yellow.  I also have enough of a light pink print (see bottom left block of first picture above).  Otherwise, I'd have to buy fabric (which I'm okay with, if that's what works best), or do a scrappy binding.  But I think there is enough color going on in the quilt that something solid along the edge would be more restful.  Any thoughts?

It's Genetic
My cousin Peggy in Louisiana discovered my blog and was inspired to start her own Pyrex collection.  I am so happy for her!  She recently bought a little hutch at an antique shop for her Pyrex display and sent me a photo.  Isn't it the cutest?

Back in October, I bought a pretty casserole dish and stand, but as it turned out, I already had it.  In fact, there's a picture of it up there in my blog header.  Doh!

This, friends, is when you know your collection might be getting out of hand (and/or your memory faltering).  At any rate, I figured there might be just the right spot for it—on Peggy's shelves.  So I packed it up, along with one of my minis that seemed meant to be together with it, and sent it to my cousin.  She loved it!  I'm so glad!

At the risk of embarrassing both of us further, here is a favorite photo of my cousins, Peggy (on the left), Patsy, and David, along with my sister and I in the pink dresses (I'm on the right).  This photo is from the era that particular Pyrex casserole would have been in circulation.  

Who'da thunk we'd reconnect all these years later swapping Pyrex stories?

Holiday Shopping
I started my Christmas shopping on Friday night.  I even bought myself a little something for the tree, he-he.

How about you, have you started your Christmas list yet?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Favorite Things Friday ~ 11-11-11 Edition

It's a good day for playing Favourites with Shay and friends at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  I've got more than one this week, and I'll get to the short list in a minute.

But first, did you know it's Nigel Tufnel Day? A day when Spinal Tap fans everywhere (including me) celebrate their own and others' maximum eleven-ness! 

Okay, so favorites this week.  I have been tuning in to the talk show appearances of the Twilight stars all week, in anticipation of the new movie, Breaking Dawn Part 1, which opens next week.  Hands down, my favorite one was Robert Pattinson's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard!

Gotta love those late night TV interviews.  This one definitely went where daytime TV did not.

I'm still on a music jag this week.  While I was basting my quilt, I tuned into the alternative music channel over cable TV and heard some good new-to-me music, like this version of Fixin' to Die by G. Love.  

I also watched a live concert DVD of Mutemath and was totally into it last evening.  What a great band.  Later, I popped in the CD while I was quilting on the kaleidoscope quilt.  The drummer is an animal, and I mean that in the best possible way (check this out).  They definitely bring the eleven-ness!

Finally, here is another new-to-me duo, Rodrigo y Gabriela.  Coincidentally, this song is called 11:11.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Making it Work

I moved things in the kitchen as much out of the way as possible so I could baste the quilt on the floor today. 

When I was a kid, my dad would shampoo the living room carpeting every once in awhile, and somehow all our furniture managed to get squeezed into the tiny dining room for a day or two while things dried.  One year the Olympics were on TV during that time, and I remember watching them perched on top of something that was perched on top of something else.  This reminded me of that, but nowhere near as tight a squeeze.

This made just enough room for the quilt.  I am standing in the doorway to take this picture.  It's a small kitchen.  The quilt is a full size, not even a queen.

But mission accomplished with the basting.  Yay!

Norm brought the mail in from the box at noon.  "Your contacts are here.  Try them on!"

He was more excited than I was, but when I put them in, he was less impressed.  I think he was hoping they'd be creepier.  Me too, actually.  Maybe I should have gotten the red ones.
Anyway, they're fairly comfortable and I can see well, so that's good.

This is my normal eye color, dark blue.  Or somewhat hungry "vegetarian" vamp?  Nah, not dark enough.

And here is with the contacts.  "I have been hunting."  Pretty subtle.  They do make my irises look larger though.
It's not easy taking photos of your own eyes.  The mirror shots = Fail.  I am starting to get silly here.

Finally I turned the camera around to where I could see the viewfinder in the mirror.  Duh.  That worked.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Sundry - Vol. 47

The sundry items are jingling around like a pocketful of change today, so let's reach in and see what we come up with.
I found these glasses at Goodwill on Saturday.  Actually, at two Goodwill stores, 30 miles apart.  The three cocktail glasses have seen some wear, but I couldn't just abandon them on the shelf in favor of their spiffier siblings.  It seemed more appropriate to keep the family together.

Besides, I kind of like the patina on them.  It shows they were enjoyed in a former lifetime.  Can't you just imagine the red lipstick stains and matching manicured hands that held those highballs?  Or the crisp white shirts and skinny black ties, and pencil skirts and pumps viewed through the condensation on the cold glass?  Is that Dean Martin on the hi-fi?

All I really know is when the new season of Mad Men finally premiers, you can bet I'll be raising one of these.

I also found this piece of old ironstone.  Talk about patina, this plate has seen the entire last century and then some.
The mark apparently dates it to before 1900, when the "Ld" (for Limited) was added, so sometime between 1869 and 1900. 

Other Things I've Taken a Shine To
We watched Water for Elephants last night, and what a great movie.  Robert Pattinson did a wonderful job, and it was good to see him in this role (definitely smiling way more than a brooding vampire, for one thing).  

And...okay.  The man is just so fine.  There, I said it.  I was going to be all mature and respectable, but I can't help it, I could just stare at that face all day.  Beauty is beauty, and who am I to deny that I appreciate it?

All things ga-ga aside, I think all the actors, including especially Christopher Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, and Hal Holbrook, did an outstanding job in Water for Elephants.  I was really into the entire story from the get-go, not just drooling over the remote.

But speaking of vamps, to say that I am excited to see Breaking Dawn in a couple weeks would be an understatement.  And I will be wearing these, because I am a big dork who actually called my eye doctor, who had to look at that same link to approve my order.  

And I could hear the smirks in their voices on the phone, those white-coated professionals, because, well, just when you think you know your polite and unassuming middle-aged patient, she calls up and asks for vampire contacts, and that right there is likely to make your whole day.

Just wait till they see what Norm wants to get.

Sew...what now?
I finished the backing for the kaleidoscope quilt.  And now I am having a dilemma.  The quilt is too big to baste as I normally would on my kitchen floor, the only hard floor in the house, and it's bigger than any quilt I've quilted on my machine so far.  And why did I not see this coming?  

So there's that to mull over. 
Meanwhile, the weather is getting colder and I'd like to start wearing my cords and other heavier jeans, but they're all too big now, so I need to do some alterations, several pairs worth (*groan*).  But that job is one that has to be moved to the front burner ASAP, like today. 

After that, plans are in the works for quilting the black and white quilt, and I've got another couple quilts in the hopper to cut out.  Details to follow.

New Music
Mutemath has a new album out called Odd Souls, and this is one of the songs that I've been listening to all week.  I would love to see these guys live.  Come to Madison, Mutemath! 

And, just because, this is a cool acoustic version of an older song. 

Go on...break the spell of the Typical!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Birthday Cake

It's Favourite Things Friday once again!  The post title should really be "Birthdays AND Cake," especially when the birthday is my daughter's.

We celebrated this evening, which is a couple days early, but that is what worked out for us getting together.  I asked M. what she wanted for her birthday and she said, "CAKE!"

"How about mint bars?" I asked. 

"MMMMMMMMMMM," was the reply.  I took that to be a yes. 

I haven't baked in so long, people.  Something cake-ish, I mean.  I think it's been almost six months of no refined sugar for me, blah-blah-blah, I know that's boring and who cares.  Long story short:  I was going to get my sugar buzz on!

I made a family favorite, which is technically a bar, not a cake, but close enough.  Here is the original recipe:

However, since M. and I are dairy-free, and I am also gluten-free, I modified it somewhat.

I used a Pamela's gluten-free chocolate cake mix as the base, and as the second layer, a can of Pillsbury vanilla frosting with 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and 2 drops of green food coloring stirred in.

The third layer is dairy-free chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of a dairy-free butter substitute melted together.

Folks, these bars are the crack.  Highly, deliciously addictive.  I sent much of the remaining pan home with others after I ate my share, because they leadeth me into temptation, and I am back on the wagon tomorrow.  

By the way, Dad asked M.'s boyfriend what the hand signs meant, and he said, "I have no idea," because he's cool that way.  I think it stands for the minimum number of bars you will be compelled to eat in one sitting.

Instead of putting the entire box of 24 candles on the cake, I asked M.'s boyfriend what that was in binary (because he's cool that way too).  So the white candles represent zeroes and the pink candles ones.

I sure love my kiddo and spending time with her.  She is smart and funny and talented, and I wish her all the best every single day of every year! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I needed a cover for Viv, my vintage Singer 301 sewing machine.  I also needed to practice my free-motion quilting, and I needed a small project to fill the time until I get an order from Connecting Threads so I can finish a couple other things.

Viv may be old and a little battle scarred, but she's a trooper.  She is a good piecer and does probably the easiest and most true 1/4-inch seam.  She's also portable (there's a recessed handle at the top) and relatively lightweight compared to my other two machines.

So I've been working on this cover for Viv for a couple days and finished it up last night.  I think it came out pretty cute!

I was originally going to make a cover that had open sides and just tied closed, but decided at the last minute to enclose the whole thing.  

It was a little fiddly to sew in the rectangles, pivoting at the corners and such, but I managed.  In hindsight, I probably should have fused on some interfacing to the backs of the side pieces to give them a little more stability.  It also would have been nice to have a hole at the top for the handle to come through, if I wanted to carry it covered.  Tweaks to keep in mind for the next version.

I practiced quilting some of Elizabeth's curlicues in the red strips (those are fun!), and some double loop meandering over the aprons, along with some fairly craptastic waves in the black and white parts on the ends.

Meanwhile, I've been listening to a lot of music.  I also may have watched the Twilight movie (twice) over the weekend on the FX Channel.  While it is no cinematic masterpiece, I have to say there is some really good music in that movie.

Okay, that's kind of like saying that one reads a certain men's magazine for the articles, but I think you know what I mean.  Case in point:

Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
Spotlight by Mutemath
Full Moon by The Black Ghosts
Tremble for my Beloved by Collective Soul

Those are all pretty rock intensive songs.  On the softer side, however, I also love Bella's Lullaby by Carter Burwell. This video is a version by a different pianist who I think does a wonderful job expressing the emotion of the song without being heavy-handed about it.  Enjoy!