Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wips, gifts, and other assorted stuff

First -- thanks so much to everyone who has been cheering me on in the "mommy vs. toddler" nighttime wars. (we won't even mention the potty wars) It helps knowing I'm not alone in this one -- and that it will end. Eventually. In the meantime -- sleep, ah yes, I remember it fondly :0).

On the plus side, I have had a few spare moments to work on some projects. Mostly handwork since, well, by the time I get all the machine stuff set up -- someone is daring me to come up and tell her to go to bed -- again. But, hey, couch time is good :0). I've been able to work a bit on my hand quilting.

And weave in the (seemingly) bazillion ends for this sweater. There weren't really a bazillion -- but, more than I really wanted to deal with anyway. I still need to sew in the sleeves and the side seams and knit a little bit of trim (more ends, yippee!).

Oh, and work on some little tiny flowers. These are part of my solution for this quilt top.

And so is this. Speaking of which, I need to do some blocking tonight so I can get an accurate read on the length of it. More will be revealed in time :0).

And I did get the bunny houses done as well. Here's the front of the finished Victorian number -- may I say that glitter and small children is a BAD idea? Yeah -- thought I could :0). I think I'll save pictures of the other house for Sunday. Yeah, um, Easter and all.

I also got some great mail this week. A beautiful whole cloth quilt that I just CAN NOT get a good picture of. I won it in a blog drawing a few months ago from Suzanne over at Art, Quilts and Other Adventures. And since I, of course, chose the option of a mini-whole cloth rather than the faster, and easier, fabric -- yes, it's my fault, and not Suzanne's. I WISH I could have gotten a better picture. The machine quilting on this is just sooooo incredible. Maybe, someday, if I work really, really hard -- um, yeah, I can be something like 1/10 as good. Thank you Suzanne -- this one is getting hung in my office. Mostly so I can walk past it and pet it every day :0).

I also got a lovely goodie package from Sharon over at Red Geranium Cottage. When I posted about some of the mitts I've been knitting, she commented (once, or maybe twice) about really liking them but that she can't knit. Soooo -- I proposed a trade. Mitts for some fabric. :0). I think I came out waaaaay ahead in this deal. Thank you so much Sharon!!! I love, love, love these Japanese fabrics she sent as well as the little koala -- um, I think it's for making muffins or something? Help?!?! (if I'm not careful Miss Tink's gonna take it over for her play doh!) I can't wait to play with these -- and the hedgehogs?!? oh yeah I NEED to get some projects out of the way!

Ok, well, that's it for now (more than enough don't you think?). A lot of things in the works -- not a whole lot done. Kind of like my cleaning, but hey, Mom won't be here for another 12 hours or so...

Ooops -- almost forgot. Again. Geesh, my mind is full of swiss cheese. See -- last weekend wasn't just my hubby's birthday (he got some lovely sushi delivered to him as a special lunch/dinner together -- I wasn't quite THAT forgetful). It also wan't just National Quilting Day. Seems it was also my one year blogaversary as well (take THAT Ides of March). Oh, and I passed the whole 100 posts celebration thing sometime last January too. Sooooo -- I should probably do something about that shouldn't I?!? Yeah -- I think so. Post a comment to this post to be entered into a drawing. What, exactly the prize is I'm not sure. It may be fabric. It may be a hand made goodie from me. It may be a combination of the two :0). I'll keep the comment/blog drawing open until Midnight, Easter Sunday (sounds like a good enough time to me) and announce the winner next week :0). Thanks for sticking around and listening to my angst and my quilting/knitting/crafting babble for the past year. When I started this blog I had NO idea how much I would come to enjoy it and/or how many great friends I would make on the net. Just goes to show -- quilters (and other crafters) are some of the best kinds of people!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Unintended Blog Break

Hey all -- wow, when I made my last post I had no idea I would be taking a week and 1/2 off from blogging. I'd love to say that it was due to some mysterious, dark stranger who came and whisked me off for a romantic trip filled with fabric and yarn shopping. (hey -- we all have our fantasies right? I mean -- it COULD happen, we won't mention pesky details about my hubby or child waiting for me at home. This is after all a FANTASY) But, well, nope.

I've mostly been bad company to be around -- a combination of winter hanging on way too long (will this snow and cold NEVER end? maybe -- it's sunny out now and almost human temps), a few nights of "bedtime battle" (who knew a 2 yo could be THAT passive aggressive? I mean, one or two potty accidents in one night I'll buy -- the 8 times we had?? Each one pretty much calculated to allow me to get downstairs and sit down before she called me up to tell me she had wet her bed? Yeah -- not buying it. We are now having serious conversations about only wearing big girl panties. If her control of her bladder is that good -- um, I'm not buying pull-ups anymore. That particular battle also lasted over three hours folks, meaning she got to sleep close to midnight, I got to sleep a heck of a lot later -- so not doing that again), and being ticked off at a universe where a really sweet lady is no longer here -- and her 14 yo daughter is without her mother. Yeah, that one has really been eating at me. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing to really be angry at, but -- still, makes me want to scream at the universe or something. And yeah, the funeral. Have I mentioned I don't do funerals well? (no, I don't make a scene or anything -- I go, I'm polite, I'm even presentable -- I just, well, don't like doing it. I never know what to say -- then again, if I did maybe then something would be wrong?)

Unfortunately, the something I've been doing hasn't been much on the crafty end. I've got a few things in the works but nothing worth showing really. Um, unless you count some mommy/daughter Easter decorations? You will? Great (hate to have a post without photos here). This one started out because Tink asked me if we could "decorate" the house. (sniff, sniff, so proud) Ok -- no problem. Wait. Possible problem. So I look through my decorations. Halloween. Check. Christmas. Check. Birthday. Check. Easter. Um, nope. Nothing, zilch, nadda. So, a trip to Michael's -- cute bunny house kits. Sticker backed pieces. A project we can do together, on sale -- perfect. Yeah, until I got home and realized that this lovely little bunny Victorian included glue. And glitter. (please refer to what happened with little one and sprinkles) Ok, so less the little one could do -- way more for Mommy. (at least, if I don't want EVERYTHING in the house covered with iridescent glitter)

Back to Michael's for the simple cottage. Smaller, fewer pieces, no glitter. No glue. We've been working on both of them -- she peels off the backings to the stickers, I do some placement, she pushes in place. At the current pace -- both should be done for Easter. Yeah team. (that is IF Mommy gets off her duff and finishes gluing down all the extra pieces.) I'll share finished photos when appropriate.

Other than that -- a few books I was planning to review but I had to return them to the library. And some other crafty goodness in the works. I'll post more about those projects later. Until then -- um, I've got a certain hubby who has a birthday soon (soon? crud -- it's tomorrow. Ok, a present to make tonight -- or, a card? cards are good right?), an anniversary of sorts coming up, a sweater I said was going to be for an Easter gift, and a visit from my Mom in a week (panic cleaning -- goodie -- though her only request is that the bathrooms be clean -- that I CAN promise). Enough with the feeling down in the dumps -- who the heck has time?!?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Playing with Pastels

Let me start off by saying that, despite seeing a whole lot of Cherry Baby fabrics hanging out here lately, I'm not really a pastel person. There's nothing wrong with pastels. They're cool. They're lovely. I just tend to gravitate to more saturated colors. But, as most of you know, sometimes fabrics just call to you. They say "play with me". And hey, who am I to ignore it when fabric is talking?

First step to play with fabrics? Yeah, that would have been clean the mess in my sewing area. Here's an "after" shot. Still a few things on the table (it's never REALLY clear -- but, getting ready to sew now takes all of 2 minutes rather than the hour and 1/2 it took to get it to this point).

And then, while I do have a few other projects I need to get to -- I played. I will have the "need to finish" projects done this week -- but, well, some bad news over the weekend kind of sent me into a place where I needed to play. I needed to remember that while this winter seems to have been dragging on forever, the world won't seem like it's in perpetual hibernation forever -- and that there is rebirth and renewal that will come.

So, this is what I came up with. In a few ways it's totally unlike what I usually do. It's pastel for one thing. And then, well, it's a pretty darned traditional quilt piecing design. (I like traditional designs, I just don't make very many of them) Of course, I did add my own "twist" to the traditional -- but, hmmm...

I'm just not sure it works. I had an idea for a series of four of these little quilts (this one is about 18 1/2 by 18 1/2). I was going to play with different border and edge treatments and kind of do an ode to spring (and yes, one of them in a slightly smaller size to accommodate borders was going to be for my Four Season's Swap). I also had some vague ideas of doing some embroidery embellishment to the top. I'm just not sure it's worth continuing on with -- or whether I should call the experiment a bust and start over.

I think part of the problem is lack of contrast in the fabrics. The design I chose (bonus points if you can tell what the design IS -- I'm not sure I can and I made it) is one that should have a bit more contrast. Maybe I was being influenced by all of the lovely blended quilts (the link takes you to Nicole's finished challenge quilts, but the post has links to others) I was seeing last month?
Part of the problem is surely my own fault -- I'm usually of the "more fabrics is better" school of thought (why use one or two when you can use 10 or 20?). And I did that here -- maybe confining myself to 5 or 10 would have been better than the, um, I think 30 or so I did use? (gotta love those jelly rolls -- oh, yeah, that was how I got into this mess in the first place) But seriously folks -- here's a bit of a closeup with the sun shining on it, how could I have chosen just a few of these fabrics?

I guess the question now is whether to keep on trucking with this experiment or not? Any advice, opinions? For those of you involved in the Four Seasons swap -- um, would you hate something like this (though not this one) in your mailbox? I welcome some good, constructive criticism here. In the meantime -- I have a few "have to finish it" projects that are calling out to me. Oh yeah, and some blog reading to catch up on, oh, and laundry, grocery shopping, etc. I suppose it will keep me out of trouble. But oh, I really want to play!