Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quilt #6

Here's a picture of the finished quilt-top for quilt #6 that I'm working on. The borders didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but they're not horrible - at least I don't think so. :-)

Other Crafts

Before I started quilting, the first craft I picked up and kept was cross-stitching. I think I mainly started it because my older sister was doing it and as the typical younger sister, I wanted to be like my big sister. I've been cross-stitching for about 14 years now, which is a long time considering I'm only 28. While I've made a lot of different pieces, the pictures below are my most recent ones.

The first picture of the white rose was actually a free pattern I downloaded from I wanted to try making something bigger, but didn't want to pay $15 for the pattern. The end result is completely stitched, including the black background. The finished size is about 12" x 19". It took me about a year to do this one.

This next one is the next large pattern I wanted to do with lots of colors. It took me about 3 years to finish it because of getting interrupted with buying a house, moving, going back to school to get a Masters degree and changing jobs. I finally finished it and got it framed and its most impressive in real life.

This last one is the pattern I'm currently working on. I won't post the name of the pattern yet, to see if anyone can recognize it. I almost have the first full page done, and there's only 24 more to go! ;-) Maybe I'll have a little surprise for anyone who can figure out what pattern it is.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Quilting Frustrations

Last night, I finally did the hated ironing and ironed ALL of the pieces that needed to be ironed. After ironing, I started to layout the sashings along my flying geese units, and wouldn't you know, I cut them too short. Argh! I had measured and re-measured before cutting, but somehow they ended up short. Something else looked a little funny but I couldn't figure it out.

I finally figured it out this morning at about 5:45am when it woke me up from a good dream. Somehow while cutting I thought I needed strips at 2.5" rough cut (so 2" finished width), but I really need only 1.5" rough so that I have a 1" finished strip. Grr! I can salvage most of the strips that I've already cut and just have a 1" strip left for something else in the future, but its just somewhat irritating because I really wanted to sew last night and it wasn't going to happen with the strips cut wrong.

Oh well - I guess more cutting tonight before some sewing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Much Sewing Progress

Sadly, I haven't made much progress on the sewing front lately. I did get all the flying geese units sewn for Baby Quilt #6, but I'm essentially stuck at the point where I have to press all the seams. Yuck! I think this is one of the parts that I really don't like. Whenever I have pressing to do, I always procrastinate. I even have all the sashings cut, so I just have to press and then I can sew and the quilt-top will be finished. But I can't seem to force myself to do the pressing that has to be done.

I even finished washing all the fabric for Quilt #7. Let me tell you, trying to untangle 3 yards of one type of blue, 3 yards of another blue, 5 yards of red and 7 yards of green is not fun! I had to put the red and the green back in the dryer as they had gotten twisted and weren't dry in the middle. Now its sitting all folded and just waiting to be pressed.... yet again the holding point. ;-)

Hopefully I'll get moving on the baby quilt so that I can finish it up and start working on Quilt #7. I'm really trying not to start the next quilt until I finish the last one. Hopefully I can prevent any UFOs (un-finished objects) from piling up.

More Sewing Toys

For the past 8 months, I've been working on a project at work that involved completely re-doing the design rules for lifting our components (big, intricate, stationary parts of a steam turbine). A previous engineer, which everyone always refers to as the uber-engineer, worked on it for 3 years and couldn't manage to get all parties to agree to the changes. Now this uber-engineer tried to make everything "ideal" without actually taking into account that in reality you can only do certain things.

When I took the project over, I broke out all the issues into mini-chunks and presented those chunks to the interested parties and got their agreement on each part. I was then able to completely re-vamp our design rules and publish the rules, which no one had been able to do for 4 years. Because of the hard work that I put in on the project, my manager gave me a nice award - $500! It isn't cash, but I can redeem it for gift cards at various stores like Lowes, Barnes & Nobles, or Amazon.

If you remember, earlier this spring I was able to get a new sewing toy of my new sewing machine. I love my Bernina 440 and it sews like a dream. However, my nice, new sewing machine has been sitting on my husband's grandmother's old rickety sewing table for the past two months. I've been toying over buying a new sewing table, but just had trouble getting past the idea that if I wanted a decent table I was going to have to spend at least $350. Well, now that I have this extra money from work, I'm getting a new sewing table! :-)

I saw a really nice one on Amazon by Homespun. It has a large work surface, an air lift system to put the machine at any height you want, lots of storage space, and an extra leaf extension that adds an extra 5 sq. ft. of table space on the back of the table - perfect for supporting nice heavy quilts.

The one odd thing about it is that for an oak colored cabinet the price is $620, but for a cherry cabinet its $820! Its not even real wood! Its just stained veneers! Why is there a $200 difference? Obviously I'll be getting the oak colored cabinet, and yes its more than the $500 award, but I have some birthday money hanging around that will cover the rest of it and then some.

Now I just have to wait 2-3 weeks for it to ship to me. ;-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Early April Garden

Below are some pictures of our garden from the middle of April. To be exact, the pictures were taken on April 14th. As you can see, there's not much to the roses yet, but they are there and have started growing a tiny bit.

Next are some pictures of one of our front planting beds. You can just barely see one of our tall phlox plants (on the left) and the James Galway plants coming up. In this photo they are only about 2-3" tall. Now, nearly a month later, all the plants are up. The phlox is now about a foot tall and the James Galway are about 2 feet tall. The James Galway have tons of flower buds and they will probably start to bloom this weekend. YAY!

Notice the wonderful stone wall?? My husband built that himself with flat rock we got from a local garden center (we had to have a whole pallet delivered). He did an awesome job. In the rear of the picture you can see another planting bed. This year we plant to enclose that one with the same rock... once the garden center actually gets the rock in stock.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

So FINALLY here are the pictures I promised of our garden in April when we had to protect all our plants from the freeze. One week it was 80F, the next it was 30F! Our yard sure looked funny. ;-)

Garbage cans and plastic bags... the true tools of a gardener. ;-)

For once, my husband was glad I saved all those plastic pots and cement containers!

Looking Forward....

I can't wait for tomorrow to be here. I am taking Friday off as vacation so that I have an extra long weekend (Monday is a holiday here at work so I don't have to come in), so tomorrow is really my Friday. :-)

This weekend is probably going to be pretty busy. We're having the furnace guy coming on Friday morning to check the A/C and furnace for the summer. We don't have any plans for Friday, but considering that the weather is supposed to be nice, we probably will find SOMETHING to do. We may go see IronMan at the movie theater as it shouldn't be as crowded on a Friday. On Saturday, my husband's family is having a "gathering" at his sister's house which is just up the road from us, so we'll spend most of Saturday with his family. I wanted to go visit my parents on Sunday, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen.

My parents are very big about spending time with the extended family. While its important to see them, if my Aunt is planning a party for Sunday, I don't want to drive out to Utica, NY to see the entire family when I really just want to go visit with my mom. Plus, one of my older brothers is finally starting work on his house that he's had for about 5 years now. He's putting a new roof on this week, and it looks like they may still be doing it on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see how the weekend plays out, but at least its a weekend and I'm not at work! :-)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Poor Blogging

I've been a "piss-poor" blogger lately. I haven't even posted anything since last Friday. I was supposed to put the pictures of our covered garden on here, but just never got around to it. Unfortunately, its been one of those weeks where everything is needing to be done (or wanting to be done) and I can't seem to find the energy to do it all.

I was able to get the entire top to my quilt finished up last night. I still have to add the flying geese borders, but the main pattern is complete. It looks amazing. Every time I finish a portion of a quilt, I'm still surprised at how good it looks. It just doesn't seem right that I made it and that it looks that good. Hopefully (and that's a BIG hopefully) I'll be able to get some pictures taken of the main pattern this weekend and post them on here. But NO promises! :-)

I still have a bit more sewing to do though before the quilt is done. I have to cut the fabric for the borders and sew all the borders together, which will probably take just as long as the main pattern for the quilt.

Friday, May 2, 2008


It has always seemed odd to me that when we are very little all we want to do is be like our big sisters. Then you go through the phase where your big sister doesn't seem as cool anymore and you just want to be like your friends and fit in. Finally, you get old enough that you realize that your best friend will always be your sister (or sisters if you have multiple like I do).

Sisters are always there for you and no matter how different you seem to be, you can still relate to one another because of going through the same things growing up. They are family and you always stick together regardless of whatever is happening. Sisters are a friend to talk to; a shoulder to cry on; and someone to laugh with and share memories.

I'm just glad to have my sisters and to be able to help them when I can. I feel lucky to have them and to know that I can share anything with them and not be judged.

Love ya, Laura and Moe!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yard Decorations in Late Spring for Upstate NY

So the weather in upstate NY has been gorgeous for the past week or so. We had sunny warm weather for about two weeks. The temperatures were up around 75 to 80 degrees, which is pretty unusual for this early in the year. Because of all the nice warm weather, all the plants and flowers have been growing like crazy. Our garden plants have literally doubled in size in just a few days.

However, now the weather has decided its not done yet with winter. Yesterday, it was actually snowing! Last night, the temperatures dropped down to 30 degrees, which is never a good thing for plants that are trying to grow and aren't ready for a good freeze. So when we got home last night, Rich and I desperately tried to find everything that we could use to cover the delicate plants. I think about half our yard was covered by upside-down garbage cans, pails, and pots and the other half was covered with sheets and plastic bags to try and keep everything alive.

Only time will tell at this point whether the plants will survive the hard frost we had. When we took the covers off this morning, the plants' leaves were very brittle and a few of them cracked. I don't think we've actually lost any plants, but they may have to start over with their growing which probably means that we won't have many flowers this year. I'll be posting our photos later today showing our nice yard decorations. ;-)