Friday, February 29, 2008

Are you still here, February?

MARCH 0, 2008!

On February 12th I officially broke up with February.

(No, don't even try to bribe me with a LOVE day on the 14th! I'm over February.)

It was while I was shoveling a foot of soggy snow from the end of the driveway and digging out the mailbox. In the pouring rain. Again. We were headed for a deep freeze and every time the snowplow went by it deposited another foot of crap at the end of the driveway. There would be no moving it if it freezes; no mail deliveries and no getting in or out of the driveway.

Photo is Wednesday's snowfall (covering our sledding course).
More forecast for tonight.

Black Fly Season can't get here soon enough.
I promise NOT to complain.

I say: Let's leap into March early.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Well, THIS ticks me off a little.

NEW Easy Open Box?
(new EMPTY SPACE design)

Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete has a new box design.
This seemed like a good idea . . . at first.

BUT. We go though a lot of pancake mix and by the 2nd box purchased with the new opening, I noticed something not quite right:

Because the easy open pour spout they designed is a good 2 and a 1/4 inches down the side, the box is necessarily 2 and a 1/2 inches EMPTY.

My first comment sent off to them via their website was returned with a snotty "not out product" reply from Pinnacle Foods. I encouraged them to check their own website and they promised to contact the webmaster. I see they have fixed it since and Quaker Oats is actually the package designer.


And fill the box up, dudes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wish you were here!

P.S. to Stephani...

The reality of your mother's aging is undeniable. Taking a running start and throwing myself down onto the old sled so that I might PLAY with the boy has taken it's toll.

It's the walk back up the hill that will get you, though. I FELL! I can't lift my left elbow high enough to throw asprin in my mouth. It's bad.

I need a nap!

Political Diversion: EcoSewing

Recycling (more) jeans into bags

I've been hiding out (away from cable news political coverage until we see who wins...WAY TO GO WISCONSIN!) back in the sewing room, deconstructing more jeans into totes & messenger style bags.

I made another collapsible bucket to store the second denim Circle Jeans Quilt. For ease of carrying it to the perfect picnic spot! I made it taller and the rolled up quilt fits just about right.

Also made several messenger style bags, including one big enough for my laptop. I put 2 pockets on the front flap, tops sewn together facing each other, to try making a pocket big enough for the charger/cord. It didn't fit very well though.

I worked on more kindergarten Letter People during the day on Tuesday and unfortunately turned on the TV in time to watch way too much of the Clinton attack machine going after both Obamas'. I grow weary of the Clinton "power at any cost" tactics, but am not surprised by it.

I actually watched Michelle's speech live on C-Span and it was clearly being taken out of context, even given the fact that her "adult life" is not such a long span of time. I personally have not found much to be proud of for the last 8 - 12 years of Bush/Clinton regimes. Clinton Impeachment. Bush's War against the wrong enemy. Government sanctioned Torture. Our Constitution shoved through a shredder. Hardly our shining moments.

But clearly I came out of the sewing room way too soon. I'm going to need some more jeans to hack up and take out my frustrations on. Or perhaps a stash busting scrap quilt to keep me busy for the next round of rooting for Obama. I found this Project Linus pattern that seems perfect: HOPES & DREAMS.

Yes, I will!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Like HOPE. Only different?

Are you kidding me?

Compare and Contrast.
It makes you laugh at the end. Really.

Or cry?

Can I look now?

(who did we vote for?)

Me and my sewing machine.

We've been hiding out in the other room with the TV off.

Listening to Pandora on the laptop.

(So what if I've had it since December and just caught on that the thing is actually meant to be portable. Like a really expensive radio.)

I've been sewing up a storm.

NOT listening to cable news talk.
Too much can drive a person crazy.
I'm tired of screaming pundits, push polls and back stabbing talking points delivered by straight faced political hit people.

And I'm tired of being angry.

Not sure if lifting eyes heavenward to request a presidential candidate get the most votes is proper use of a spiritual aid?

Perhaps there's a forgivable Good Intentions clause.

But, THANK YOU MAINE for voting for Obama most!
You had me worried, I'll admit because I really had no clue which way we would go. Sunday's caucus turnout did us proud.

So while tucked away hiding out in my sound proof Laundry slash Sewing room:

I've finished my 2nd Denim Circle Jeans Quilt!

And a tote bag to match the 1st Circle quilt. Actually called the Collapsible Bucket, found here at a recently discovered website called Instructables. "The World's Biggest Show & Tell". Very cool. Detailed how-to directions for making stuff. I've been on the look out for more things to make from denim. I'm blaming it on Project Runway's 501 Jeans & a T-Shirt episode ;) So that makes it all Stephani's fault since she got me hooked on the show.

I changed my bucket...a bits.
Recycled materials including waistband handle. It needs another button though, because the belt loop at the top guiding the strap is not stable enough with just the one button I reused at the bottom.

Also tried this Protect the Tech project, since I've been saving the pockets from all the jeans I've hacked up.

Plus a Denim Quilt Leftovers Tote (I made it up :) I'll probably fill it as a diaper bag for a baby shower gift at the end of the month.

Busy, huh? I missed a whole new technique for destroying a News Reporter's career while sewing. Shustered: “to lose a career for an inappropriate, relatively minor utterance about a powerful person or group.” Okay. Back to the sound proof room.

I'm about out of worn out blue jeans. Perhaps I'll put out the word to family I'm looking for donations. Noble cause. I'm willing to help with your spring cleaning!

Want a picnic quilt?
It's a long time until November's election.

And after 40 years of using a sewing machine and NEVER sewing a finger I've managed to stab a machine needle through a finger tip. TWICE this week.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Denim Circle Quilt

My 5 day impulse project is complete!

In under a week, 7 pair of worn out or too tight blue jeans became a "quilt".

It could be a table quilt or an "It's okay to put on the ground for a picnic" quilt.
Not really a comfort blanket ...because it weighs a ton.

I didn't have a clear plan when I started this project so had to stop back at the store next time by to get another yard of the window fabric. Funny how cutting cloth into 4" squares and sewing it back together again takes more yardage than you would think to make a quilt?

Probably spent too much supplementing fabric for a recycle project since I bought it full price at a real quilt shop. Then again I probably saved a few dollars in gas by not driving across town to use a coupon at a chain store. Plus a childhood Best Friend owns the new shop so stopping in for my first visit was part of the impulse of this project. The fabric I chose was an impulse as well and perhaps not quite what I was thinking when I went in. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Sock Box

The Sock Box is the tote where finished knit socks go to wait for someone to need them. Either for personal use or as a gift giving purpose.
Sara tends to shop from the Sock Box. (Frugal shopper!)
Stephani is all about her own feet looking good. (Personal comfort & joy, baby!)

The Sock Box was getting a little low with only 5 pair left from last season's knitting binge. I've finished 3 more pair since the last time I blogged. Well not counting the other entry this morning on quilt progress. That would have been some fast knitting!

This is more stash knitting from yarn on hand and the variegated is supposed to be Simply Soft. But they're not. Soft. It was however $1 a skein from Goodwill so when the bottoms wear a hole through (and they will) disposing of them with the "Darn it!" method won't be too painful. (Socks with holes should be dropped straight into the trash can as you yell "Darn it!", per Yarn Harlot advice that I take very seriously.)

The (not) 6" Blocks are for our local newspaper's By Hand charity drive for the Humane Society. She wants 6" knit or crochet squares to be sewn together with all the other 6" squares she gets, for pet blankets at the shelter.

I swear my blocks started out 6 inches but a Seed Stitch border screwed that up pretty good. My plan was to make six so she would have enough same sized blocks to work with for one blanket. Too bad they're all coming out a little different at about 7"... and not very square!

She's getting them anyway. Then they'll be her problem!

Recycled Jeans Quilt

(1/2) of a Circle Blue Jeans Quilt

Internet Exploring a couple of mornings ago for inspiration, I stumbled (back) upon this site for Mock Cathedral Windows - a technique for recycling worn out jeans into a useful thing.
I've made pretty good progress after a few hours of sewing.
Half of a quilt!

I had to figure out a couple of the short cuts on my own as the written directions are not as easy to follow as pictures would have been.
So I'm including a few progress shots. (They are out of order of course because I never upload pictures in the right order first time out. I may or may not rearrange them later!)

Some things I figured out:
  1. "Right sides together" does mean right side of blue jean fabric - which is actually the BACK of the quilt. (Which I mistakenly figured was the WRONG side.) So DO start out with 2 circles "good sides together." And sew right off the fabric both top and bottom along 1 seam. (Repeat!)
  2. You only need to trace the center square sewing lines on about half of the circles. AT FIRST. Later you can draw the missing lines on rows of circles sewn together in a strip. But there is NO SENSE in trying to play the matching game with pairs of circles. Your lines will undoubtedly be out of line on the back. And things go wonky fast if you try sewing down the side that's out of alignment later. I know!
  3. Finger press open the seams and stack 2 pairs together. YES. You can sew a strip of circles together and then add them all at once for the next row! I started out doing one circle at a time -Set in Seam style. SLOW!
  4. Lift up the stacked pair of circles, making sure the seams match. Follow the opposite side seam line as you sew a strip of circles together.
  5. Sew right down the traced lines at the top of the oval windows, without doing more than just touching them. And DON'T MISS the top of the oval or you'll have a hole!!
  6. Press Windows open with an iron well before adding the window fabric, and press again once center fabric is laid in place.
After trying a satin stitch zig zag, I didn't like the effect. So I used a fancy stitch on my machine with a first back, then forward criss crossing motion. It's a little too jerky now that the quilt is getting big! Will experiment some more next time before committing myself.

I intend to experiment with a miniture version to see if I can make a Fabric Postcard Quilt for the next round of Postmark'd Art swaps. I've signed up for "Recycled" already so hope it works. Maybe I should have tried it first or I'll be left thinking up a new idea. I'm thinking of trying a dream catcher in one of the "windows" of a postcard, so stay tuned!