Friday, September 28, 2012

Let it shine, let it shine

Light! I need more light!

Lucy is great, she has multiple LEDs, but as I expected it isn't quite enough light as I prefer when I'm sewing. I want my sewing area lit up like a ???????

During the day and especially in the afternoon, the sun streaming in the window from the south is awesome but because of shadows I typically turn on my supplemental lights.
This is my current set up. I didn't alter this photo at all so that you could see what it typically looks like. It was taken around 9am; today it is raining and dreery so it is very overcast and dark outside. On sunny days it is much better. I have 2 Ott lights aimed at my extension table, on in the front and one in the back.  But it is a pain in the arse to have that lamp just to my right. And the one at the back doesn't bog me down but this isn't the ideal situation. I want them gone and something else instead that will do the job but be well out of the way.

Before Lucy actually got unpacked and set up, I had emailed a bit back and forth with Kelly from I Have a Notion. I remembered her review of a clamp lamp from a while back but couldn't remember the name of the product.  It turns out that it was the LUX Bar Clamp light by Mighty Bright.

I am very interested in this light. It sounds awesome. But Kelly actually suggested that I start with a Bendable Bright Light instead.
Now the problem is that I can't decide which one to get or get both. I want more light at the needle sure but I also want more light on the overall table. Would the bar light be enough for both areas?

So what are your thoughts? Do you have one or both of these lights? Based on what you see in my set up picture, which one (s) do you think would work best for me?

My birthday is coming soon an my mom asked what I would like. She always gets me something that I really want. The problem is that I can't decide exactly WHAT I want. Help please! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Did you vote yet?

I'm still working out the details and time line for the possible swaps and round robins that I'm planning on hosting in 2013 but I could really use more input as to what you'd like to participate in. My poll is still open if you haven't yet voted.

Please head on over and share with me your ideas. There are way many more options floating around in my head than I can reasonably do so I need to narrow it down a bit. Having your thoughts on what you want to see here will help tons.

Thanks bunches!

The quilt show entries that aren't

Do you remember my post about possibly entering a few of my quilts into a local guild's show as suggested by a quilty friend?

Well with every one's encouragement, I did just that, submitted 4 quilts for the show.

Me nervous? You betcha.

But alas it was not meant to be.

You see, I mailed my entry forms and my check and as of yesterday, still have not heard back at all. I never received in the mail the numbers that would have been attached to the backs of my quilts. I've tried calling the person that the entries were mailed to and she never calls me back. I have no email address for her so that contact option isn't actually an option.

The quilter that suggested I enter in the 1st place has tried to find out what is going on. I know she feels horrible about this. But I don't blame her at all. She did nothing wrong. The person that is in charge of receiving the entries is totally at fault here. It does blow my mind that the lady hasn't even had the common courtesy to return my phone calls.

The entries are supposed to be dropped off at the show site one week from today. I had decided that if I didn't hear anything back by the end of this past weekend, I would consider my quilts not in the show. To say that I am a bit disappointed is accurate. I was looking forward to seeing my quilts hanging for others to see and I was curious as to what the judges would have thought. I'm sure the suggestions to improve my craft would have been very helpful. At this point I'm still planning on going to the show and I hope to get to speak to both the guild's president and this lady who was receiving the entry forms.  Having a guild represented this way certainly isn't good at all.

Oh well. Lesson learned I guess, though I'm not exactly sure what sort of lesson that is for me. Yes I will enter a show again, at some point, and I hope that none of you ever go through this situation yourselves. It stinks!

Update: My quilty friend has actually forwarded this entire post onto all the important people in the guild including the person responsible for receiving the registrations. As soon as I hear something back from someone, I'll let you all know.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Big Goal? Sewing Summit 2013!

Oh I sew wanted to attend Sewing Summit this year! It really bumms me out that I am going to miss it. Seeing all the fun from the sidelines is going to be painful because I won't be part of it.

But that isn't going to happen next year. I will be there!

I have a plan. Those of you that don't really KNOW me yet will quickly learn that I always make a plan.

Anyway I've figured out how much I need to save to be able to go. With airfare, hotel (sharing a room hopefully with Melinda from Tilda's Twisted Life, can't wait to meet her in person), meals and some budget for shopping (there HAS to be some shopping ya know), I figure I need $1500 minimum.

I have an entire year to add to my jar. This shouldn't be impossible. I have my first big "deposit" of $496...I finished a bunch of accounting work for one of my private clients, sort of found money. Any other bits I earn from my work is getting added to the tally.
It goes without saying that I will be counting the days until Sewing Summit 2013 registration opens. I will be stalking my computer that day to be sure I don't miss out. This year the conference sold out in a matter of hours.

Anyone else out there dying to go next year and want to keep track with me? We could support each other until we reach our goal. Having quilty sisters cheering me on will make the saving that much more fun.

I'm hoping that Erin doesn't mind that I borrowed her logo and altered it a little for this post.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thank you, thank you!

I have to extend a huge Thank You to everyone for all the lovely comments yesterday on my dot blocks. I hope to be able to respond to each of you personally but there were so many that I'm not sure I will get enough time. Why pray tell?

Well yesterday was a whirlwind of another kind! I chaperoned at the school's annual visit to the apple orchard. First I helped the preschoolers  (4 classes, 80+ kidlets) and then after they were on the buses heading back to the campus, I headed back to the fields and joined up with the kindergarten gang (3 classes, 60+ kids). 

It was a lot of fun but also very exhausting for us grown up types. I was even too tired to cook dinner last night. We went out. Hubs had been on a fire scene since 2am so he was whooped too. At least we got to bring home a huge bowl full of these wonderful Cortland apples. They are fresh, crisp, juicy and absolutely delicious. 
The apple crops are great as always but early this year due to the bad weather in the spring. We are lucky in that New York is known for its wonderful apples and we live right in the thick of some of the best orchards around. It wouldn't be fall without some of our favorite recipes featuring this lovely fruit. Warm Apple Crisp anyone?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dots in the wind

Dots on Dots Schedule HERE

Welcome! I'm so glad you are visiting today, whether as one of the stops on the Dots on Dots Blog Hop or as one of my loyal followers. Those of you that read my regular posts know that a few days ago I was unsure exactly which plan I was going to use for this blog hop.

If you want to read that nutty post, go right on over. I'll wait for you.
Humm dee dee.......

Ok, so you are back now. Good. Well as you can see below, I went with Plan D.

This block is called Windblown Square. I followed the tutorial Jeni posted on her blog In Color Order. This is very easy to make and it resulted in some really cool blocks.

Before I show you my blocks though, I have to tell you that I had totally different plans for this photo shoot. I had the perfect setting all picked out but no thanks to the massive thunderstorms and tornado watch we had Tuesday night, every thing in site yesterday morning was S.O.A.K.E.D.  I certainly didn't want to get all my pretty blocks wet. A hunt around the house scrounged up the alternative scenery you see below. I ended up clipping the blocks to the back of my daughter's baby doll stroller and guess what, the seat and canopy is Dots, so it totally fits today's theme.

Enough of my ramblings....I know you just want to see what I made. Well here you go.

  This is my 1st block. I really love the wild pink dot fabric that is the center of the block and chose 2 other dotty fabric that coordinate for the other bits.
Then I was trying to decide which other fabrics in my dotty pile to put together for the next block and thought to take one last look in my stash in case I missed any possibilities. Ya know what? I did...well sort of anyway. I had a bunch of charms left over from the Luving Sunshine quilt and decided to incorporate some of them into these blocks. The colors were all those that I was already working with and a great number of them had dots. Here is my block #2. I just couldn't resist adding the Minnie Mouse ears prop since it teams up so nicely with the red dot fabric in the center.
Block #3 incorporated the little owls. The green center fabric is most definitely dots, just really tiny ones.
Here is block #4. On the alphabet fabric in the side blocks, both the A's and the C's are dotty. The dots on the green fabric reminds me of jelly beans.
These 12" blocks are even the perfect size for a doll quilt for the babies.
Sorry for that little side trip. I know....back to my blocks. Here is the next one I made. Again the center blue fabric is a very small dot print. My baby girl's Pink Dot Ballet Heart Box coordinates perfectly and holds all her favorite treasures.
Block #6 sports adorable turtles. Do you see the dots on some of their shells?
I have 6 more of these blocks in process and would have finished them Tuesday night but a little problem called a power outage for 4 1/2 hours put a halt to that plan. It went out right as we were finishing dinner and didn't come back until after we all went to bed. No electricity makes it pretty impossible to use my sewing machine amd iron, don't ya think?
If you want to see the finished quilt top, check back in a few days. I hope to get the rest of the blocks completed and them sewn together in rows before the weekend is over.

And please remember to visit all of the fantastic stops on today's schedule.

Simple words are not enough to express my deepest thanks to Corrie and Madame Samm for organizing yet another totally awesome hop. I feel honored to be able to participate, to see so many wonderful creations and to meet so many terrific new-to-me-bloggers. This quilty world that we are proud to be members of is pretty fantastic in my humble opinion.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Well hhhheeelllooooooo Lucy!

After a few months delay, my new baby girl Lucy was finally set up in my sewing room the other day. Isn't she pretty? She waited and waited for me to unpack her from her lovely traveling case while I was finishing up all those other project deadlines. Now that those are all done, it is her turn for my attention.

I can't wait to see all that she is capable of. There are more stitches than I'll probably ever use, a very cool circular attachment for stitching 'in the round' and a bobbin works set. What I am most excited about is the automatic tension adjusting and the automatic height adjuster for breezing through thicker seams. The extra large extension table is nothing to sneeze at either.

Once she was set up, I dutifully cleaned out her bobbin race and then wound a brand new bobbin (that also runs automatically once the lever is set; very cool). But she threw a temper tantrum, a few of them actually. The bobbin thread kept getting tangled under the needle plate. Urg! Perhaps she was royally pissed at me for keeping her cooped up on her case so long?

I took everything apart, double checked that there wasn't anything in there that shouldn't be, double, triple and quadruple checked how the needle plate went back on and she still wouldn't behave. Not good, not good. As the thread came around from the bobbin, it was getting hung up on a bit of metal on the underside of the plate. I took out the extra straight stitch plate that came in the package and after careful examination of that one determined that it was made exactly the same so there is nothing wrong with my regular needle plate. I had no clue why the thread was catching and tangling up in such a mess.

After a bunch more fiddling around, I finally got the problem solved. How I don't exactly know, but she is humming along nicely now. I have a lot of projects that I want/need to get busy with and having a new machine that decided to play not nice just wouldn't do. Would not do at all!

Truth be told, I was worried that I'd have to send her in for service already and I would be in a huge pickle for the up coming hops that I'm committed to. But all turned out well in the end. And since you may be wondering why I just didn't use my old machine instead it is because she is out on temporary assignment. Remember my friend who has been shopping for her 1st machine since the spring which is when I saw (and later bought) Lucy in the first place? Well she hasn't bought her machine yet but her Basic Quilting class started last week and she needed a machine to use so she is borrowing my old Brother.

The coming weeks and months promises to be a flurry of creative fun. There are so many things I want to sew, just never enough time. So I'm off to my studio. Catch ya all later.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reveal Date/Linky Party Announcements

We are nearing the end of the Halloween See Saw Swap and the Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin so it is time to announce the dates for the big Reveals/Linky Parties.
The Halloween See Saw Swap Reveal & Linky Party will be on Monday, October 22nd
The Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin Reveal & Linky Party will be on Monday, November 19th.

On each of those days I will post a link to all the participant's blogs. Those who don't have a blog  will be posted here on my blog if they want to share their final mini quilt with all of you (I really hope that they do).

I have been loving watching how my See Saw blocks have been coming along and I am so anxious to see how my starter Round Robin center block turned out. Not seeing that one's progress has been hard but that is also the fun of a Mystery Round Robin....I don't get to see it until the end.

I know all the other ladies in these two swaps are also excited to show off their quilts so mark your calendars and remember to come back here to see all the terrific reveals. Those days promise to be a whole ton of fun.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Scoreboard Dedication

The scoreboard donated from the softball tournament earnings (and the balance of the fund in honor of another student) was dedicted last night at the team's first home game.  Unfortunately hubs couldn't get out of work early enough for us to be there in person (it is 3 hours from us), but we were there in spirit. I can't wait to see the scoreboard myself. I know that my nephew Danny will forever be remembered in his hometown for all his accomplishments and his great personality.

Many tears come now at yet another reminder of a great young man lost way too soon. A wound my family will never fully recover from. We love and miss you so very much Danny!

August report

Here is my crafting in August results.

Not as many days as I would have liked to have done something, but with all of our traveling during the month for our China travel group reunion and the Labor Day excursion, this wasn't that bad after all.

So I managed 11 days out of a possible 31, or 35%. 

My year to date total so far is: 91 days out of a possible 244, or the same 37% as last month. I'd sure love to do more and with the kids now in school all week and me still working only 3 days, hopefully I will be able to accomplish a whole lot more in the coming months.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Uber Cool!

I've always wanted a good set of knives but I didn't want to spend my entire life's savings to get one. Well last week I finally got what I wanted. These arrived a week ago. They are the Guy Fieri Knuckle Sandwich collection. And I absolutely love them!
The best part? I only paid $2.85 for them. Yes, you see that right. Less than $3.00 for the entire set. You see...I earn points on my credit card that I can use to get gift cards to retailers and after I turned in said points and applied the gift cards to the cost of these knives, my out of pocket was a whopping $2.85. You can't beat that deal!
I researched the net and couldn't find one bad thing said about these knives, except for the folks that don't like the design, but I do. They are fun and funky. Plus they slice like a dream....through anything like cutting through butter. They are made of German steel with full tangs and the balance of the weight of the blades to the weight of the handles are perfect. With hubs' hands so much bigger than mine plus the fact that he is a lefty, finding a line of knives that both of us likes wasn't easy.

Yes I like Guy Fieri but no I don't get anything from endorsing his product. I just wanted to share my find with my readers. I actually like these so much, I ordered a 2nd set. Not for me, but for my oldest sister. She is getting married on Saturday and the other 2 sisters and I couldn't for the life of us figure out what to get them as a wedding gift. I was telling oldest sister about these knives over the weekend and she admitted that she's always wanted nice knives too and that she'd like to see this set. I emailed her a picture and she loved the look and was thinking that she might spend some of their gift money to get a set for themselves. Light bulb moment! I called the other 2 sisters and we agreed to go in together on this for their gift. I can't wait to see her reaction when she opens the box.

So if you too want a nice set of knives but don't want to spend an arm and a leg to get them, you might want to check these out.

Indecision? Go with Plan D?

Might you be wondering what I'm up to with this stack of fabrics?
Maybe they have something to do with the Dots on Dots Blog Hop?
Here's the thing....when I signed up for this hop, I figured that I'd just make a few interesting blocks for my Ackfeld wire hanger = Plan A.
Then I got to thinking (which isn't always a good thing since it typically changes the plan). I need a baby quilt for the new little girl my neighbor across the street just brought home. Even though I have another stack of fabrics already chosen for a girl quilt, I could use these instead. A simple Double Pinwheel block in a variety of colors with White sashing would be quick and simple = Plan B.
Another couple of days went by and I wasn't sure I wanted to do Plan B. I pulled out my copy of Quiltmakers's 100 Blocks Volume 4 and decided instead to use one of the blocks in there that I marked in the beginning for a future project = Plan C.
Then I was catching up on blog reading and I saw a tutorial for an interesting block done up by Jeni of In Color Order and immediately changed paths for this quilt = Plan D.
So which one am I actually doing? Honestly I don't know at this moment. I haven't had a moment lately to actually sit down and sew at all but I will definitely be making some me time today. You'll just have to come back here on my Dots on Dots Blog Hop day which is Thursday Sept 20th to see what I ended up choosing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt for Miss M - a finish

I'm so happy that the binding on this quilt is finally done and I can get it on its way to its new owner. I absolutely love the way it turned out and I know that she and her mom will love it too.

One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts are more than just a simple scrap or I Spy quilt since each square represents a family member or friend who contributed it to the quilt and as the tradition goes, the child will be wrapped in the love of those 100 people. You can read about the tradition here.

It took me quite a while to find just the right fabric for the border. Once the center was completed I stared at it for days trying to visualize what color scheme and type of pattern would work the best. Many of the options I came across were either no longer or scarcely available. I finally found the Soiree line by Lila Tueller for Moda and one shop, Quilt Home, had enough in stock.

The quilt's future owner loves Pink and Light Green and I really wanted to use those fabrics in this quilt if I could. I think the border fabric in just those exact colors was the perfect choice. There is also a little Yellow in it to tie in with the sashing.

When my friend sent me all the fabrics, she told me that she wanted Pink for the sashing. But once I laid them out on my Great Room floor and looked at them from my 2nd floor balcony, it was very apparent that if I used Pink sashing, all the Pink in the blocks would get lost. I suggested a Pale Yellow instead and she agreed.

I found the Pale Yellow Fairy Frost at my LQS. This is the block that was the inspiration for the sashing color. The quilting is a swirly wave pattern, just what my friend requested. They live near the ocean and manufacture surf boards so waves were the natural choice for the quilting design.

The backing and binding are from the same Soiree line. More Pink and Light Green. One little girl is going to be tickled Pink when she sees this.

Tomorrow it is getting boxed up and shipped out to California and I cannot wait to hear their reaction when they get it. This quilt was truly a labor of love for me and I know it will be cherished for many, many years to come.
I believe that a 100 Good Wishes Quilt is a terrific gift for any child, whether adopted or homegrown. All new babies need the love and good wishes of their family and friends surrounding them and keeping them warm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recent insanity

Life has been overwhelming recently hence the reason for a whole 2 1/2 weeks with no posting. Hopefully things wills start settling down a bit and things can get back to normal around here. I have a lot of posts to share with you in the coming days.

So what have I been up to? Here goes....

A long Labor Day weekend with my BFF and her family in southern NJ, which included lots of play, a great lobster dinner, visiting the Ocean City boardwalk, some fabric buying (I'll show you what I got soon), meeting up with another friend and a bit of rain.

Once we were home, there were 2 days of back to school prep and 2 kids who were bouncing off the walls.

Back to school started last Thursday. We are starting to get back in that routine.

And to add to all that, one of my private accounting clients finally gave me all their stuff to do their work from last May (as in 2011) through now. They filed an extension on their 2011 returns and guess when they are due? Sept 15th. I worked like a mad woman for days and days since getting home from NJ to get it all entered and off to their CPA. Thankfully that was finished yesterday so I can finally get back to some sewing.

Next up.....Lucy, a finish and what is on my cutting table. I hope you all have a great day!