Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tea & Other Ramblings

As my dear friends know, I am an avid tea drinker. I'll drink just about any kind of tea (although I ended up throwing out some truly distusting Chai tea that I had gotten a few years ago). I've even gotten to the point of buying my tea online from Harney's & Son's. The last time I started to run low on tea, I ended up buying 3 pounds of tea! Now, one might think 3 pounds is a lot (which it sort of is), but I did split it with one of my friends, so I only ended up with 1.5 pounds of tea. I guess the truly odd thing is that I've almost completely drank the Earl Grey Supreme tea that I had gotten. I only have about 3 oz left of the stuff.

So a tea run is in order very soon. The only bad thing is that our weekends are booked from now until the end of September! This coming weekend, while we're not really planning on going anywhere, we need it as a weekend to basically stay at home and relax. Thankfully its a three-day weekend for us so we get an extra day. We'll probably go up to my in-laws lake house at least once this weekend since its supposed to be nice.

The weekend after that, my older sister is coming up to visit for a week. She's not staying directly with us, but she'll be up at my parents from the 13th to the 20th. It will be good to see her and I'll be spending most of both weekends up at my parents. Rich, of course, is travelling all week, so I'll be making the drive myself out to Syracuse and back. I'm still excited to see my sister though. I saw her at Christmas, but didn't have enough time to really sit down with her and chat since we were only in Florida for 5 days. Plus, she was just getting over a pretty nasty cold and ended up with some kidney stones so she was not a happy camper and was tired all the time from the pain meds she was on.

Hopefully I'll be able to do some hiking with her (I know - I have to take it easy so I don't twist my ankle and screw up my tendon again) and just generally spend some time with her. Sometimes the best vacations are when you do nothing and can just enjoy not being at home and having to go to work or clean.

Anyway - hopefully this coming weekend I'll be able to post some pictures of my quilts. I've made quite a bit of progress on our quilt (I just need to sew the rows together to get the main pattern in the middle of the quilt) and I was able to put together a preemie quilt. I'm trying to use up the remaining thread in a bobbin so that I can start out with a fresh, clean machine and new needle when I start quilting the baby quilt.

Happy Quilting! ~Sarah

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've been a very poor blogger lately. It seems like I have every intention of posting something, and then I get distracted and forget to post. I also haven't gotten a lot of quilting done lately. I think I'm in a bit of a lull right now. I've been trying to finish up the thread that I have pre-wound in a bobbin (when its empty I know I have to clean my machine and replace the needle), but I haven't made much progress. I want/need to start quilting the baby quilt, but I want to start out with a fresh needle when I do it.

We've been pretty busy lately, too. I went to the orthopedist on Wednesday, and they finally gave me a clean bill of health. I'm allowed to run, jump and do whatever I want on my foot now, but they advised to still take it easy and not doing any trail running for a while. So I was going to try to wear "real" shoes to work last week instead of sneakers. I walked around in my shoes (they only have a 1.5" heel) in the house for about 2 minutes and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it the entire day in them. I don't even think I'd last a half hour in the shoes. So I have to start doing some exercises to strengthen my arches again. I think its just a case where the muscles are still fairly weak.

Friday evening I was able to get about 2 hours of sewing in. I pieced together a preemie quilt that I am going to test out some free-motion quilting on and donate it to a local hospital or something. I also finished sewing the sashings onto the blocks for our quilt. I have to press a bunch of stuff before I can do more sewing, so that's probably what's holding me up at this point. I was also able to sew the raw edges of the binding material for the baby quilt so I can wash it without the whole thing unraveling.

Saturday, Rich and I went to visit my parents. I hadn't seen them in a while, so I wanted to go up and spend the day with them. Needless to say, I didn't get any quilting done that day. We got home around 9pm and I was so tired that I went straight to bed. Then yesterday, our neighbors were having a little bar-b-que, so we hung out over there pretty much all afternoon. There were probably about 15-20 people there and we had a good time.

Anyway - tonight we'll be doing the grocery shopping (Walmarts on Monday nights are absolutely dead so its a great time for shopping) and the laundry. I am hoping to get some quilting done though, or at least pressing the material so that I can sew it. Hopefully I'll get some pictures taken of our quilt so that I can post some pictures on here instead of just text.

Hope everyone is getting more quilting done than I have been! :-) ~Sarah

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not Much Quilting :-(

There hasn't been much quilting happening lately. I think I lost a little bit of my "quilting drive" when I was trying to decide what to do with the baby quilt. I've decided that I'm just going to leave the borders as they are (mostly because I really don't want to have to rip out all those seams) and I'm just going to make the quilting on the borders a lot denser than the middle of the quilt so that it shows up more. I need to test out using the yellow thread in the bobbin and a red thread on the top. I think it might look good, but I want to make sure the red isn't going to show through on the back.

I've gotten some more done on our large quilt, though. I have white sashings sewn around almost all of the blocks and I just need to finish up sewing the blocks into rows and then sew the rows together. I have two rows completely done, but I haven't bothered to take a picture of them yet.

We've had a busy week with my in-laws getting a new puppy (we went to visit them after work the first two days they had the new puppy), then on the weekend we celebrated my father-in-law's birthday. On Sunday we did have a little bit of unwanted excitement though. Some kids decided that our obelisk (similar to a trellis) that supports our climbing rose shouldn't be in the rose garden anymore. They also beat on our mailbox a little. We called the police to at least report the problem and they told us that about 6 other houses further up the road had their mailboxes damaged. We had the most damage by far with the obelisk having the top broken off, a leg broken, and some of the branches on the plant broken. The kids would have had to really work to get the obelisk out as we had buried the legs about 8 inches in the ground.

We're rather annoyed, but the most annoying part is that some woman from one of the first houses hit, heard the kids, saw them causing trouble, and didn't bother to call the police! If she had just called, she probably would have prevent 90% of the damage! GRRR!! So now we have to glue the obelisk to fix the leg, add a support behind it so that it will support the weight, and find a new top. Then we have to paint the whole thing again... which I just put a fresh coat on it earlier this summer. Oh well, at least the kids didn't do any real damage that couldn't be fixed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baby Quilt

Here's the baby quilt that I just finished up. I like the inner pattern, but after seeing the picture of the quilt with the borders on, I don't think I like the borders. They don't really set off the middle of the quilt. I was originally going to do it in the stripe fabric, but ended up being about 6 inches short. At this point, since its not pinned to batting or anything, I'm tempted to rip the borders off and put something else there.

Any thoughts???

Quilty Stuff

Since its been a little while since I last posted (about a week), I figured I'd give a quick little update on quilty things. ;-)

Last week I was able to get some progress on both our quilt and the next baby quilt that I'm making. I showed pictures of the baby quilt material in my last post. Now, the fabric has been washed, pressed, cut, and sewn into the quilt-top. I finished up the entire top yesterday afternoon including the borders. I have the backing already washed, but I should probably press it before I start putting the layers together. I do also have to get some batting at the store before I can continue, but at least I got the entire quilt top together in a week. It actually only took me about 8.5 hours of pressing, cutting and sewing to get it together.

I was also able to make some progress on our quilt (the fifty-four forty or fight blocks). The green borders are sewn onto all 35 blocks and I cut material for sashings between the blocks. I have all the strips cut, but I haven't cut them to the length I need yet. I'm trying to plan out where I want my seams to be on the quilt. The blocks look pretty awesome and the picture I posted a few weeks ago doesn't do them justice.

I plan on posting some pictures, hopefully later this evening, but it may take a little while to get the camera battery charged and the pictures actually taken. I'll definitely put a picture of the baby quilt on here, but I may wait until I have a few of the sashings sewn before I put a picture of our quilt.

My next challenge is to figure out how to do the curling ribbon border that I've planned for our quilt. I haven't ever done it before, so it could be interesting. I think I'm going to have to dig through some of my scraps to find some test pieces to try things out. I have a few templates for making 1/2 square and 1/4 square triangles, but since I haven't used them yet it may be interesting to see how it works out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shopping Trip

Since I haven't posted in a few days, I figured I'd put some pictures on of my latest shopping trip. The sewing store I go to wraps up the items you buy like the picture below. Plus, if you spend over $50, they give you a free 1/4 yard of fabric. :-)

I think I'm actually going to try the teapot appliques with the rose fabric that I got for free. It seems very "teapot-ish"...

And here's the fabric that I'm using for the next baby quilt. I already have most of the fabric cut and sewn at this point, so hopefully I'll get some pictures on here soon of the partially (or completely) finished quilt.

I LOVE the teddy bear fabric!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August To-Do List

A good way to start out the month is to figure out exactly what I would like to accomplish this month. In July, I was able to accomplish more than what I had originally set out to do in terms of quilting and sewing, so I'm going to see if I can get a bit more done in the month of August. I almost feel like if I put this stuff online, then others see it and then I have to get it done. At least it seems like a decent motivator. :-)

So here goes....

1. Complete 15 hours of needlepoint.
2. Wash, press and cut the material for another baby quilt.
3. Sew all the pieces for the baby quilt.
4. Pin the layers together and do the quilting on the baby quilt.
5. Sew the binding onto the baby quilt.
6. Attach the green borders onto all 35 blocks for our quilt.
7. Plan a baby quilt with my extra pieces from previous baby quilts.
8. Make a preemie baby quilt to donate (16-18" square).
9. Cut 1 yard lengths of fabric for our quilt border and press.
10. Test out putting together the curling ribbon border with scraps.

What are on your to-do lists for August?