Monday, June 21, 2010

Can you get behind on a hobby?

I've been feeling so out-of-sorts lately with the hot weather, long days, outside work, etc. and I've been fretting about getting behind in my sewing.  Then a read a post from Greta about how she was getting stressed out from getting behind on her sewing and a light bulb went off in my head.  This is a HOBBY!  It's supposed to be FUN!  Can you even "get behind" in a hobby??  Jeez! 
In three days I only managed to sew one column
 I'm trying to sew together the hexagon quilt top but I have to keep it laid out or I'd be sewing everything the wrong way.  It's been laying out on the living room floor for three days and we are all just walking on it. 

The last straw was Saturday when we came back from our afternoon walk on the canal and I found Jada snoring peacefully on it while still dripping wet.  I admit defeat.  My Honey is coming for a long weekend and I'm taking a break from it until I can devote a whole day and just get it done.  The house must be at least semi-clean ... there must be some food in the fridge ... I must be reasonably well rested ... I must not fret that I don't have a quilt top sewn together. 
Ok ...  I actually snapped a picture before I shooed her off .... but it was too late at that point anyways

Uh oh ....  Look what came in the mail today ....

I better get a bathing suit soon or I'll be draping fabric around myself on the beach!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My newborn baby quilt

I finally finished my brown and orange wonky star.  It's so fun to make a little quilt!!  I think the idea originally started when I saw a beautiful orange and brown quilt on a blog last FALL, then I found a bundle of Katie Jump Rope fat quarters in the bin at Joann's (score!!).   Ok, an orange and brown quilt in June is a little out of place but I think she shines in comparison to all the pretty florals and summery colors.  I love the hint of robins egg blue I added to give it a little contrast. 

I originally used the brown and scraps of orange to piece a back, but then decided I'd like just plain blue.  I love the way the quilting shows up and it's my best quilting job yet. Of course, quilting a small quilt is a million times easier and way quicker.  Quilting is still where I struggle so I think I needed to make a small one to get my confidence up. 
Final size:  33 inches x 44 inches
I found out the girl next door to me is having a baby and I was thinking about giving this quilt to her as a gift.  I have a soft spot for teenage girls having babies since I was one myself.  But now I'm wondering what young teenage girls think about handmade quilts.  Will she be "Cool!! A handmade quilt!"  ... or ... "Ewwww!  A homemade blanket!"  I'm suddenly feeling very protective of my little baby quilt.  I hope she ends up with someone who loves her and appreciates her.  Does anyone else worry about their quilts when they go to their new home?

Jada also makes a wonderful spot to place a quilt during a photo shoot.  I wonder what my neighbors think of us?! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here's what happens when I go online to buy a bathing suit .....

 Weekends in Gray and Pink  PLUS a free fat quarter from Sew Mama Sew!   Lots of kona cotton solids from Fabricshack. 

I know I should be shopping for a bathing suit since I'm going on my first vacation in years in July.  But as soon as I start looking them over and imagining how I'd look and thinking about finally measuring my body  so I can find my size I find myself slipping over to fabric sites.  Ahhhhh... so much more pleasant!  

Still no bathing suit. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rottweilers and quilting ... a great mix!

Notice my new quilt layout underneath my assistant?
So many blogs lately have been featuring their dogs and cats.  It's made me wonder if quilty/crafty type people are drawn towards animals?  Or do I just gravitate toward blogs by people that also love animals?  Hmmmmm..... Well, either way, I have noticed a lot of animal talk lately.  Which naturally leads me to thinking about my own faithful, hardworking assistant. 

I'll be honest here.  I have no clue what she is doing or how it helps me.  She has made it her job to lay on absolutely every piece of fabric I place on the floor.  I mean she is totally serious about it too!  She can be upstairs all tucked into her bed snoring peacefully away and I will ever-so-quietly start laying out some squares on the floor and, before you know it, I'll hear her tags jangling.  She'll come thumping slowly down the stairs (it's hard for a 103 pound dog to get moving after a sound sleep) and give me an annoyed look.  "Do we REALLY need to be doing this NOW," she says as she lands on the squares with a huge exhale.  Hurrumph! 
Here she is laying on my very first quilt

Rottweilers are a working breed of dog and are happiest when they have a job to do.  They originated with the Roman armies as cattle herders and cart pullers.  I'm not sure how a Roman soldier would feel about one of his dogs being a quilter but I bet he'd be real impressed by her work ethic! 

Something doesn't feel right.  I better sleep on it. 

I'll never forget the day my oldest son brought her home as a tiny five pound, flea infested puppy.  I had told him that he was absolutely NOT allowed to bring a puppy into our house.  Especially a Rottweiler!  He was moving out soon so I agreed that she could temporarily stay here.  He had brought her home in a plastic rubbermaid bin and she was going to be either in that bin or in his arms the whole time she was in the house.  He paid his younger brother to babysit all day while he was at work and repeatedly take her outside for bathroom breaks.  I tried so hard not to look over at her when she was out because I was still simmering with anger that he had defied me. 

One afternoon I was in my garden pulling out yards and yards of tangled pea vine and I felt a tiny tug.  I looked down to see Jada with a piece of vine in her mouth.  She was shaking her little head and pulling with all her might and then she looked up at me with the conspiratorial look that said "Don't worry Grandma, we'll get this old vine out together!"  My heart just melted .... She became my gardening helper that summer and when I was watering she ran beside me with the hose in her mouth and when I was shoveling she was beside me digging holes.  Always with the sideways glances to make sure I saw her working. 

To make a long story short .... Jada was relinquished to me when my son moved out.  She's my best friend and my assistant in all matters of my life.  Baking, gardening, and, of course, sewing.  Jada is by my side throughout the whole quiltmaking process from beginning to end.  She is the inspector and sniffer of all fabric parcels that enter the house (did you know that many fabric shops have resident kitties!?).  She lays at my feet while I sew.  She lays on all my work.  She gets involved in the quilt primping when I'm doing a photo shoot.  She gets yelled at to MOVE! a lot but she never goes away.  She's there for me every step of the way.  

Now I understand the real reason that the Roman armies were such a formidable, dominating force during their time.  They had the best helpers. 

Jada and I making dog biscuits in our matching aprons. 
I'm entering this post in the Lily Pad Quilting Pets on Quilts Show.  Please pop over and take a look at all the other pet posts.   

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I can almost smell it baking ....

This weekend has been quite rainy, occasionally a little blustery, and chilly at intermittent times.  Perfect bread baking weather!  Well, maybe not perfect ... but I like to grab any opportunity I can to eat hot bread dripping with whipped butter.   I found the recipe for this bread on the lifehack website and I couldn't believe how easy it was to make.  This ciabetta bread is sooooooooooooooo delicious and it only takes about one minute to prepare.  Really!  Time it!!   (If you have boys you'll realize that timing things is very important.  Secret tip to new boy moms:  you can actually get a little boy to do ANYTHING if you tell him you'll time him).

Ciabetta Bread in Four Easy Steps

Step 1 -
Put two cups of warm water in a big giant bowl.  Add 1/4 teaspoon yeast and 1 teaspoon salt.  Stir around a little bit.  I added some freshly snipped rosemary from my herb garden.

Step 2 -
Add four cups flour and mix a little.  It will be a gloppy wet dough.  The directions said that if it's too thick to be pancake batter and too wet to be playdough it's good.   Cover with a dishtowel, stick in a corner of your kitchen counter, forget about it for 8 - 10 hours.

Step 3 -
After 8 - 10 hours lift the dishtowel.  Has it risen?  Yes!!  Turn oven to  400 degrees.  Treat a cookie sheet.  Non stick spray or flour and cornmeal will do nicely.   Now I coat my hands with a little olive oil and just gently plop the whole wet dough out onto the cookie sheet.  It's pretty wet so I can gently form it into a fat log shape with my olive oil coated hands.  I took this opportunity to sprinkle it with a little coarse salt and more freshly snipped rosemary.

Step 4 -
Pop into the hot oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.  After that check to see if it's just slightly browned.  Is it?  If so, take it out.  Not so, set the timer for five more minutes.

You're done! After it cools for a bit you can start slicing and slathering.

I have to add a disclaimer that I didn't count the time I took to go to my herb garden and get the rosemary or the snipping time.  Have that prepared ahead of time if you are having this timed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June is looking good so far ....

I was tickled today to see I won a giveaway from Aneela on her blog Comfortstitching and I won three adorable embroidery patterns.  THREE!   I love starting a day right off by winning a giveaway.  Sorta sets the tone for the rest of it, "Come on day.  Top that!!" sort of thing.  Embroidery is my absolute favorite activity to do while snuggled on the couch in the evening and these patterns are so fun.  

The Spring to Finish Challenge 2010 hosted by Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio ended yesterday.  I had five items that I wanted to get done and I'm pretty pleased with myself that I got 3.5 of them completed.  This is good for me seeing that we were entering my least favorite time of the year (GASP!!).  I know.  I'm a weirdo. I'll admit that I'm more of a fall/winter girl.  Spring/summer usually finds me out of sorts and hot and doing too much all day while wearing uncomfortable sandals.   Here's my biggest gripe .... there is still the exact amount of inside work to do ... dishes, laundry, dusting, dog hair sweeping, etc .... that there is all year.  Added to that we  now we have all the outside work to do  .... watering, dead-heading, weeding, porch tidying, lawn maintenance, etc.    Plus there is an unwritten, unspoken rule that if it's nice outside you must be outside enjoying the outsideness.   I'm so relieved when the days start to get shorter and cooler we can all go inside earlier and sit on the couch for a while.  I'm just aching to start work on my new embroidery patterns.  
Crazy, summer-bashing rant is over now.  Here is my Spring to Finish results:

1.  My Gardening.  Done!!  Here is some beautiful proof.

ok... these pictures make me a little happy it's summer :)

2.  My Sewing Station ... aka Dining Room Table Clean-up.  Done!!  Reported on at the mid-way point.  Feels good to have it more organized and I can easily move from cutting mat to sewing machine to ironing board. 

3.  The Wonky Star Quilt.  Half-done!!   Got all the squares finished and bought my first variegated thread that I'll use for quilting. 

4.  The Purse.  Not touched.  No comment.

5.  The Hexagon Quilt a long.  Stayed on track and just waiting for the final instructions!!


Coldstone Creamery Coffee Lover's Only
I'm pretty pleased with the 3.5 figuring I only can work on sewing a little here and there with all the nice weather and outside chores.   I think I deserved this reward and maybe even another one next weekend.  

Well, gotta go.  My mother is redeeming one of her Mother's Day gifts tonight and I have to do more outside work.  When will I sew?!?!

Believe me.  She redeems every one of these too! 

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