Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sew Crafty Houston

I dropped by Sew Crafty Houston today to drop off my Morsbags for their charity sewing effort. They are giving the bags to a local shelter for their clients and to a local food bank. Both receivers seem like great places with clients who can really use these bags.

I must have spent over an hour there just chatting with Sarah. The place is so energizing and, even though it was realtively quiet, you could feel the creativity oozing out of the walls. I got a chance to see the projects for the Kids Can Sew classes she will be hosting this year. These kids will be able to make whole outfits by the time they are finished with the classes. Even the very first project (a notions bag and a supplies bag) teaches usable skills, besides just sewing straight lines.

I also got a chace to see a Gocco unit and what it can do. I have been intrigued by these mini silk screen machines and will probably take a class there to learn more about it. The size of the screens is about 7" x 5" so you are limited in size but I think the toughest part will be deciding what to print rather than worrying about size restrictions.

I followed up with lunch at Niko Niko's before heading home for grocery shopping and a nap. What a great day to spend a Saturday - sharing a love of sewing, eating fun food and napping through a horror movie. I wonder if I will get the incentive to get that trim painted before Gustav raises his ugly head? You never know :-)

In the Mail

Today I got a special surprise in the mail. The August version of the Bag Lady Swap was to create a bag using a technigue/material/style you had never used before. I worked with leather while my partner worked with ribbon. Check out this fabulous bag:
It appears to be made out of woven ribbon fused (or maybe not) to a very heavy interfacing like Timtex. It is nine inches tall and seven inches wide at the bottom. The button loop is braided ribbon and the strap is made out of the lining material plus two layers of ribbon.

I love it and can see myself using it a lot. Heck, who couldn't use a red, black and white bag? In addition to the colors, the variety of textures in the bag make it a sure winner. Thanks Jennifer aka Flyinghippogirl!

Here is her flicker page.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Trouble Over

The floor is completely installed and I really do love it. The flooring I chose is very rustic looking and should hide any problems that may come up with wear and tear. Heck, you can even see the pretend floor sander marks that I had on the floor of a 100+ year old house I owned may years ago. I have not moved back in all the furniture yet as I think I need to re-paint the trim. No matter how careful you are with this kind of installation you will get nicks and rubs on the trim. That should not take too long and I hope to get it done this weekend. What do you think?Until my knees are ready for the trim painting, I will be making Morsbags for Sew Crafty Houston to give away. There is a different 'Craft for a Cause' every month and these bags are ideal for using up spare fat quaters. This is an easy sew and the instructions are by someone who knows how to sew. I happen to have a lot of Texas themed fabric just looking for a new purpose than sitting in my stash.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trouble Update

After a day of work I think Paul believes that I am the most useless helper ever created. Today he brought his girlfriend with him to help out. So far about a third of the new floor is done and I am really loving it. It is also a great experience that my floor is the prep for the bigger project he has in mind. Unfortunately most of the mistakes will be visible and not hidden under the bed. On the other hand, the mistakes are very minor and good for learning. Here is the crew today:
I hoping that I will be able to sleep in my own bed tonight and that the leftovers will have found a new home. One can only hope!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Into Trouble

How to get yourself into real trouble? Let me tell you a tale....

A few days ago Paul mentioned that he would like to put hard surface flooring onto the stairs and floor of the second floor of his home. He asked if we could go floor browsing together. Yesterday we went to my local big hardware store and quickly became overwhelmed with all the selections. He had decided to do the stairs first as they would be the hardest and therefore a good project to do first. BTW he has installed Pergo type floors before but nothing as complex as stairs.

We found out that the special lip pieces would take 5 - 10 business days to come in on a special order. That bummed him out as he only had part of this week available for this project. I suggested that he take samples home so he and his girlfriend could decide on the right type of wood/or fake grain. Both of us still wanted to do something so..... I am now having a fake wood floor put into my bedroom today and probably part of tomorrow as well.

So far I have moved out everything I can move on my own and started to set up the chop saw to cut the planks. I say started because, for some unknown reason, I can't get the blade switched out. When he gets here, not only will we need to finish moving furniture, get the blade installed correctly but we also need to rip out the old carpet. Did I say today and tomorrow? Probably the rest of the week.

Now, if I could just get him to get out of bed and get here we could get started.

Trouble? you don't know the half of it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

South Korea Adventure

All my worries seem to have been for naught about my brother's big adventure. He has actually started a blog to record his thoughts and tell his stories. If you are interested you can access it here. He is an excellent writer and I can't wait to read his tales of new food, new drink, new culture and new people. It should be fun.

And if you are really into knowing more about him, he has a Flicker account where he shows photographs of his adventures. You can access it here. I must admit that it was a shock to me to see how grey his beard has gotten over the years. ... or maybe it was from the trip.

Big sigh of relief from this quarter.

Olympic Recap

I can't believe that the Olympics are over. For the past few days I found myself searching the Olympic channels for some coverage. Here are a couple of observations:
  • There are some sports that realy, really weird like handball (soccer for those who can't use their feet), steeplechase (looked like the running of the serfs), and trampoline (a mother's worst nightmare).
  • Bob Costas has a nightmare making voice - don't ask!
  • Bela Karoly needs to take some drugs and English lessons.
  • Why was the gold medal basketball game shown when I wasn't watching?
  • The Brits will have a hard act to follow when it comes to quality facilities.
  • The Chinese should be ashamed about denying all political protests, using shills to fill the stands and using computerized generated, pre-recorded visuals during the opening ceremonies.
  • Limited commercial interruptions did cut down on my tidying up time.

All in all, I did enjoy them a lot. I also found that I consumed a lot of popcorn. I found a simple microwave popcorn post somewhere and have been using it ever since. The steps are:

  • put a quarter cup of plain popcorn in a lunch size brown paper bag
  • put a small fold in the top
  • staple closed with one staple
  • microwave for 2 minutes and 15 seconds
  • take out of the microwave
  • open (its hot so be careful)
  • pour into a bowl
  • add favorite add-ons
  • Enjoy!

Looks good, doesn't it? My favorite add-ons are a bit of unsalted butter and a sprinkle of salt. The chopsticks are because I hate greasy fingers. Try it during all of the political convention coverage that's coming up over the next two weeks.

Bag Ladies Swap

The challenge for the August Bag Ladies Swap was to create a bag that would have you use a new technique or material. I decided that I would use the use piece of purple leather that I have had sitting around here since my last trip to Toronto. I puled it out and went to the 'Making Leather Handbags', published by FIT, that I have had for a while. I should have read it before I decided to use this leather.

There are a lot of tools and skills that you have before you work with leather. The glues can be very toxic, the needles are deadly weapons, there are multiple weights of leather and there is no such thing as second chances. I experimented with a simple, simple pattern for an eyeglass case and realised that I would need to do lots of stitch samples before I made the final product. Here is a picture of the eyeglass case plus the other materials I used in the swap bag:
I ended up using a design from 'Making Vintage Bags' by Emma Brennan for the final product. I can't show you the final product as it is a secret until my partner in Ireland gets it. The best part about this experiment is that I still have some of the purple leather left so I can do one for myself and anyone I want to inflict with my experiments.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Every Mother Will Relate

I came across this response, in English, from a Japanese mother to her sons who hate her making them elaborate bento box lunches for school every day. The English is a little fractured but very understandable. Thanks to Crafty Daisies for pointing out this post to me.

PS. Don't install a Japanese language pack just for this post. However, if you do read Japanese, I bet the rest of her writing is just as pointed.

PPS. Ribbon designed by 'How About Orange' and sold locally by jcaroline creatives - of colorful Dachshunds... just wondering how many yards to order... or rather how much I can store... its so cute!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I have having an anxiety attack due to a change in my immeadate family. I have always felt that I was the unconventional one in our family. I married a foreigner, I moved to another country and then I moved someplace where no-one in my family could get to me in less than a day of travel. I don't think anyone ever understood my job or why I travelled as much as I did. There are other reasons why I have felt like the odd one but they are not for public distribution. Why they are relevant today is that my family dynamic will be changing dramatically in the next twenty-four hours and I am not the cause of it.

My younger brother, formerly the ugliest baby in the world, who has been unemployed for over a year, is moving to South Korea to teach English in a school there. Mr. Controller is steppng onto a series of planes and ending up in the land of Kim Chee, phonetic writing and strict social rules. My anxiety comes from the fact that, although he has an artisitic soul, he likes order in his world and I hope he will be able to successively navigate such a different culture.

On the other hand, I envy him more than I could tell you. My son is from South Korea and, as he came here when he was eight years old, he told us many things about his life there - all of which I would like to experiene. South Korea has some of the best cotton mills in the world and I know I could spend my complete net worth on it without satisfying my fabric lust. Except for Kim Chee (a spicey, pickeled cabbage that has been called 'the world's most effective birth control'), I love the food, the celadon pottery is magnificant and the traditonal dress in beautiful on everyone.

So, Bon Voyage Dave. We will sort ourselves out without you. Although you will be on the other side of the world know that my best thoughts go with you and remember... I want lots and lots and lots of pictures!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Operation Care Package - Update

As I mentioned earlier, this project looks like it will be alot of fun. I got a stocking pattern from Barb and in almost no time I made up three of them. The first one was a patterned denim. Since my embroidery machine has not been getting much of a workout, I embroidered a Santa on some of it. It took THREE HOURS of Olympics watching to get it done but I don't regret a minute of it. The second was just plain denim. The third is from a fat quarter I found while trying to clean up around here. As soon as I saw it I thought stocking and whipped it right up. I guess those of us from the flower child days will smile at this fabric!

These are very easy to do expecially with soft curves. I serged up the sides and around the top edge to cover the raw edges. I then sewed the deams, flipped it all right side out and turned down the top edge and sewed it down with decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I thought about adding gewgaws and doodads but, as weight may be issure, I restrained myself.

There seems to be a lot of interest locally in making these so I am going to see if the local community room is available for some Saturday this September for a community sew-in. With the amount of Christmas fabric everyone seems to have in their stashes, we should be able to get quite a few done in one day. The incomparable Ms. S. came up with the sew-in idea. She is such a ball of fire when anyone mentions that there is sewing to be done and given away. She wears me out with her energy and her stash is awesome.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finny & Donk's Sewing Adeventure Aug/Sept

The project for August and September from the 'simple gifts to stitch' book was the cover project of the Tri-pocket Ticking Tote. I had always wanted to make it because of the attractive cover photo. What I did not realise was how large it would be. At about 17" tall and 13" wide it is one big tote bag. The cover shot showed the bag made in lovely pink and brown mattress ticking. I happen to have the first laundry bag my mother made me in a red and white ticking when I left home in from sixth grade many, many years ago. I had always intended to use that fabric for this project but it was way too small. Instead, I used some of the fabulous fabric I purchased at Vogue Fabrics in Chicago when I was there in July.

Here's how the bag came out - three pockets on the front of the bag as shown in the instructions:
Here is the back of the bag with one pocket just because I wanted to see if I could match up the other part of the print:
The fabric is a home dec weight canvas and is slightly stretchy. I think I need to add at least one set of red lips but I just can't figure out which face to deface. In any case, it turns out to be the right size to carry around my supplies for my position on the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild Executive Committee so it will get a lot of use.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quilting ... sort of

I titled this "Quilting ... sort of'" as I didn't do traditional quiting for two projects recently.

The first project I worked on yesterday was the table runner from the Bent Pieces class I took with Debbie Bowles. As I was contemplating how to quilt it I realized that I didn't have enough fabric from the original fabrics to do a traditonal binding. I had seen a process called 'birthing a quilt' and decided to try it out. 'Birthing a quilt' is like making a pillow cover. In this case I quilted the front to some fusible fleece. I then put the front and the back of the quilt right side together, sewed it all up, leaving a gap for turning. Turned it righ side out, top stitched around the sides a couple of times and Viola!
The strange thing about this is that I thought this project would join the 'good ideas gone wrong' pile because of the busyness of the prints. It turns out that one of the colors in the table runner actually matches the color of my dining room walls. This may end up high on the wall over the Japanese wood block prints. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I also completed a wheelchair quilt top to give to the local guild for distribution at the Houston Veterans' Hospital. This time I decided to do a traditional birthing. This is done by taking the front and back of the quilt and putting them right sides together. Then you put the wrong side of one of them onto a piece of batting cut the same size. I sewed the three pieces together around the outside edge, leaving a gap on one side for turning. Turned it right side out, with the batting inside, and sewed up the turning gap. I then top stitched around the edges a couple of times to crisp up the edges, making sure that the turning gap was well camoflaged. I still needed to quilt the layers together so the batting would not pull apart when the quilt is washed. Most people seem to use yarn or floss, tied into knots, every 4 - 6" around the quilt. Buttons are a good option as well. I used the button attaching stitch on my machine to quilt the quilt. After washing the quilt, this is how the quilt turned out:
The pattern is super simple. The quilt turned out to be 36" x 45", the ideal size for not catching in the wheels of the chair. I can't find the pattern on-line but it is essentially a nine patch, simplified.

For this size quilt, without any extra fabric for binding or backing you need about 3/4 yard of each of two different fabrics. Cut eight 3 1/2" strips, from selvage to selvage, from each fabric. Using three strips of each fabric, contruct two sets of new fabric, one that is ABA and the other BAB (A represents one fabric, B the other) with th long sides joing to eahc other. Cut these lengths into 3 1/2" widths. Cut the remaining stips into 9 1/2" lengths and join them to the two color lengths you cut, so that the exterior of the blocks will be color A, as a for instance, and the interior will be fabric B. The blocks come out to be about 9 1/2" square, unfinished, to finish at 9". If necessary you can cut them down a little if your edges are a little uneven. Alternate the blocks in the quilt top with four across the top and five down the length. Cool, right?
So I did quilt .. sort of. I think I am going to play with this method of finishing quilts a few more times until I am comfortable with it. It certainly makes the whole process of finisihing a quilt go quickly.
I wonder if the Quilt Police will approve?

Operation Care Package

Operation Care Package is a group based in Joliet that sends thousands of care packages on a weekly basis to our troops overseas. I heard through the e-mail grapevine that they are in the unusual position of having lots of stuff to put into holiday packages but are short on holiday stockings. They are trying to accumulate 10,000 (yes, that's TEN THOUSAND) simple stockings to pack for our troops for the 2008 holiday season.

The requirements are really, really simple - fourteen inches tall with a seven inch opening in the top. No cuffs, no lining, nothing fancy, no specific themes needed. The website for the group is here but I did not see any information there on this particular project. For some ideas on the types of stockings possible you can check out pictures (with informative comments by Barb, the owner of the site.) here from last year's effort. There is one requirement - the group needs the stockings by October 30th.

I know I have some weird winter themed fabrics hanging out here as well as some orphan quilt blocks that could be put to good use for this project. I even have some home dec fabrics that would make good stockings. And what about the old juenile embroideries I have sitting around? The possibilities are endless.

If you would like to participate I have Brab's e-mail address that I can send on if you would let me know in a comment.

Now I am off to make myself a pattern while watching some really, really long track race.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Silk Ties

While watching the Olympics I have been ccupying my hands with many tasks. One that I've been working on today is disassembeling old silk ties. Some are from my Dad's collection, some are from thrift stores and some are from another member of the wearables group of the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild. We have set ourselves a challenge to create something from old ties. I decided that I did not need to leave the ties in one piece thus the mess of ties bites all over my house. I expect to use the bits and pieces in a few crazy patch inserts in purses or handbags.

While covering myself and the dogs in all sorts of bits of thread I remembered that one of our group makes little shoulder bags and clutch style purses out of whole ties. Abandoning my ripping apart, I went to the sewing machine and this is what I came up with:
I used three ties, squared them up as much as I could, used decorative stitches to bind things together, added some velcro as a closure, added a small interior pocket and sewed up the sides. I then took some of the leftover silk to construct a flower and bound that together with some grossgrain ribbon. Fabri-Tac, my favorite flexible glue, holds the rose together and attaches it to the clutch flap.

This was fun to put together but it doesn't meet my, admittedly low, standards for something I would actually use. If I try this again I think I would choose my ties more carefully. The ones I used were of three different thicknesses which made for some unevenness in the sewing. I would definitely stabilize the ties in some way so that they don't slip around as easily and, they might square up more easily as well. I would definitly add a lining and probably rethink my closure choice. Definitily something to make for a funky gift or something to sell in a bazaar.

Fun while the women's marathon grinds on. Still another hour to go. How do they do it?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meet Kimora

Alex is always in the spotlight and Kelis got her day on the blog so now its Kimora's turn. In fact, that is how it is around here most of the time. Kelis is always insertng herself into my vision and Alex is always there... within inches of where I am. Kimora, on the other hand just hopes you notice her. She is very submissive except when it comes to treats and food - then she lectures me unceasingly until I feed her hunger. Its actually quite funny. I will call them to eat and Kimora walks just ahead of me lecturing me on how I am not fast enough and that no-one desires treats or food more than she does. She will even steal edibles from Kelis... and Kelis lets her! That's partly why she is the biggest of the bunch at sixteen pounds. She really is a big girl but the vet tells me she is not overweight just big.

The oddest thing about Kimora is that she lets the others do anything to her.. excessive licking, pseudo sexual stroking and pushing her off the comfy chair. It takes a lot before Kimora will get mad and retaliate. Alex particularly tortures her by denying her a chance to chew the latest toys. Even when presented with multiple squeaky balls, that are exactly identical, Kimora will sit around and moan until Alex looses interest.

She is not a complete wimp. She is the only Dachshund I know that can catch full grown birds. Yes, the sweet and gentle one of the bunch will catch and kill a bird in about a minute. I have to keep my eyes open when she is out and any birds are around. I am thankful she can't catch squirrels. There are so many around here that I would be picking up little bodies all the time.
Here are some cute shots:
Just after she came to live with us:
Exhausted puppies!
If this face doesn't say "I don't want to go out" I don't know what does! t was raining that day and she really hates being in the rain.
Such a soft belly!
This afternoon under my desk - note the uncomfortable postion of her rear leg. It doesn't seem to bother her at all as long as we are near each other.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I have lied to you. Yes, your online correspondent has been watching the Olympics during almost every waking hour since the opening ceremonies, BUT I have also been cleaning up some projects as well.

First of all, I found instructons for making a thingy to cook baked potatoes in the microwave. It uses a fat quater of fabric and about 9" x 21 in batting. Cut the fabric into two pieces about 9" x 21". Put the pieces right side together on top of the batting. Sew up the short ends only and turn so that both fabric pieces are right side out. Top stitch both ends, lap the ends over each other, sew up the sides, turn the raw edges into the interior and voila you are now ready to bake. Wrap a potato in a paper towel, heat in the mricowave for about eight minutes and enjoy! You can also use this to heat tortillas or buns in the microwave or use it to serve these items at the table. Here's my rendition with my potato for supper.
I have also been cutting up and sewing Bath Towels into things to wrap your hair up in after a shower. You can get two out of each bath towel. Here's mine which I have already used and love. I don't have the pattern in an electronic format but I am searching for one. The person who demoed it for us at the Kingwood Neighborhood meeting of the Houston ASG Chapter calls it a Twirly Towel - a very apt name.
Also, I have finally finished a new bog coat. I started off planning to make one from some silk yardage I had the I had died orange and green. I also used some stencils with some spray bottles of dye. I should have left well enough alone. I ended up ruining the sleeves so came up with using it as a lining for a piece of fabric I have add in the stash for many years. I still have a couple of tweaks to do to it but I love the colors for the winter here.
Not as busy finishing things as I have been in the past but when I can't take being glued to the TV set I have been trying to work through a kntting project. Its called the Ballet Camisole and I found it here on Ravelry. Its not so much that I need another sleeveless top but I need to practice more on knitting evenly before taking on anything more challenging. I just finished the decreases for the waist. Next up, I will be knitting evenly before the increases needed for the bustline. I am using a yarn caled Hempathy made out of 34% Hemp, 41% cotton and 25% Model. I think it will be great under the bog coat or over a crisp white shirt this winter.
What have you been working on during the games?

Fashion Show

Are you in a rut with your fashion sewing, whether for yourself or for others? I have the cure for you. The American Sewing Sewing Guild conference, this past July, a fashion show. The website has been updated with pictures from the runway show. Check this out. There are about 80 photos so it will take a while to get through but I guarantee you will be inspired. There are articles modeled by several icons of home sewing, (like Shirley Adams) by teenagers in their first show and some wonderful local members with their creations. The best part about this runway show is that a lot of the clothing modeled could be worn by regular folk in thier real lives and not just as costumes for once in a life time events. Even if you don't sew clothing you will be inspired by the fabric manipulation used in many of the garments. Heck, the white 3/4 length style jacket that is embellished by Mondrian style art is fabulous and should inspire many quilts, accesories, paintings and scrapbook pages. (Thanks, Lou!)

During the commercials during the Olympics, watch this show, and be prepared to be dazzled.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympics Fever

Before the Olympics started on TV I did not think I would be interested in watching them. After all, I really don't watch sports and the summer games are full of things I know nothing about, like Water Polo, Beach Volleyball, Weightifting or Rowing. Much to my chagrin I have been watching almost every moment I am awake. There are three channels here that show the Olympics and if I don't like the sport on my local NBC affiliate there is always USA or MSNBC. Its kind of like when OJ was in the back of that SUV and the chase was shown on TV. I couldn't turn that off either.

So please excuse my lack of activity for the next 14 days or so. But after the Lightwieght Quads Men's Rowing final, I must see the Archery finals but what about the recap of the Dressage finals from this morning. Decisions, decisions.

Enjoy the games!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Debbie Bowles

What a great day I had today in a class lead by Debbie Bowles. She created my all time favorite Block of the Month quilt called Yikes! I see by reading the description that I must have been in the very first group of people who did this quilt as a, black, pink and while batik fabric, block of the month program. What you may not be able to see from the pictures is that the rows of this quilt are offset from each other by about three inches so none of the blocks line up vertically ... a definite advantage when you are unsure of your piecing skills.

Today we did not do Yikes! but worked with Debbie on her curved cutting and piecing techniques. The pattern we used is called 'Bent Pieces'. She is an excellent teacher and spent most of the day working with individuals. She only taught, in the traditional manner, twice during the day. Once to outline the whole process of cutting and piecing such wiggly pieces and another, later in the day, to review how to add the borders and finish up. Her hints and fabric ideas were invaluable.

There are two basic size choices - one is a table runner size while the other is a lap quilt, though, I bet, any size is possible with this pattern. The projects use just about every scrap of fabric and, based on you fabric choices, can be very dramatic or very suble. I went for a subtle table runner and actually finished the top in class. I used the Moda pattern called Posh which is a lovely brown, pink, cream, yellow and light blue fabric line. Here's how it came out:

To me it looks like a Chinese garden.. but that might be the influence of watching many hours of the Olympics' opening veremonies this evening.

Someone asked during class if my home was decorated with these colors. Since I've never met a color I didn't like I had to disappoint her by confessing that I really didn't know how I would use it. It might fit in my bedroom, but maybe not. Heck, it might end up in someone's christmas package later this year... you never know!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Home Sweet Home

For those of you who have read this blog or have heard my dog stories, know that the dogs live in my master bathroom when I am out of the house or at night. I primarily restrict them them to the bathroom because I am very allergic to them and I don't completly trust them (expecially Alex) to not get into trouble while I am away. A friend recently thought it sounded cruel to leave them in the bathroom so today I'd thought I would give you a view of their accomadations.

The puppies primarily stay in my bathtoub. It is a large 'garden tub', with jacuzzi jets (rarely used) and a large window that looks out on a bunch of ginger plants. They don't huddle on the bare porcelain but there are layers of luxury. The first layer is made up of two dog beds. There are two as I couldn't find one large enough for the tub. I had made the girls a custom made bed but Alex kept peeing on it so I eventully discarded it. The beds are from Walgreens where they sell them for $10.00. All of the dog beds I have tried end up in the trash as Kelis and Kimora eventually destroy them by ripping large holes in the beds.
The next layer is a queen size quilt I made several years ago. This seems to be the quilt that Alex likes the most and he usually makes a little nest in it.
The final layer is a king size quilt I made years ago with flannel as the backing. The girls seems to prefer this quilt and the two make a nest in it and sleep curled up around each other and under the quilt.
Since they are all away this week, I had the opportunity to wash all their bedding. I found a couple of holes in one of the dog beds and one of the quilts had the binding chewed off on one side. I took the opportunity to repair their bedding as well as washing it. One thing that always surprises me is that their bedding always smells of, to be frank, poop but there is none in the bedding. I must have the most gassy dogs in the country - another reason not to have them sleep with me!
BTW - when they are not sleeping in the tub they are on the window ledge barking at every passing leaf or the meter readers. The window is always covered with nose prints evn though I clean it almost daily. Then again, any window they can get to is covered with nose prints... the dining room, the sewing room (from standing on the back of a couch), the doggy door and all the interior windows of the car. I guess that is the price of dog loads of wndow cleaner!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What a Disappointment

Edouard was a complete bust! When I awoke yesterday he had already made landfal as a tropical storm. The eye of the storm passed over my neighborhood and I didn't even notice. Yes we had a lot of rain (1.25 inches) and strong winds (30 mph gusts) but neither were really exciting. My car got covered in pine needles and the bird bath overflowed but otherwise it was a pretty boring storm. I must admit that I spent most of the day watching the local stations try to out-do each other with storm impacts. There just wasn't that much to report. I am glad the dogs weren't here as they would have been spooked by the dark skies. Alex really doesn't mind the rain but the girls really hate getting wet.

Since we still need rain I hope we get several more of this type of storm before hurricane season is over. No hurricanes, just a lot of rain and wind for a day or so.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Waiting for Edouard

It looks like Edouard will be making a direct hit at Galveston tomorrow but he should be relatively mild. The last news I heard put him at a catagory one storm when he hits Galveston or, at least, a tropical storm. This should be an easy storm for my area with only four to six inches of rain and moderately high winds of only fifty miles an hour. My neighborhood has a seven inch deficit of rain this year so the rain will be welcome but I fear that much with the predicted winds will mean lost power and fallen trees. I have done my stocking up on water and have located my rechrgeable flashlight/radio so I will be fine. The dogs went home with Paul yesterday and, as his neighborhood has very reliable electricity they should all be fine. If the inevitable power outage here goes on for days I will relocate to his home.

While waiting for Edouard I decided to work on a problem I have been having when I go grocery shopping. Its been in the nineties with high humidity here for a quite a while. This means, that even though I tend to grocery shop very early in the day, by the time I get home my cloth shopping bags are soaked with condensation. The ones I have made take forever to dry out and the cloth bags from the store seem to take longer. Throwing them in the dryer seems to defeat the purpose of avoiding disposable bags. Sometimes the milk or other things will leak so I need to wash them out. This is the kind of maintenance I hate so this evening I constructed a new bag just for refrigerated and/or frozen groceries.

I took one of the large platicized rice bags and made a shopping bag with handles, a boxed bottom and a roll-over top with a velcro closure. I anticipate that most of my cold stuff will fit in one bag and, by sealing the top, they should stay cold/frozen until I get home. Even if things leak or have lots of condensation I can just wipe the bag out and put it back into the rotation immeadiately. The added bonus is that this is a unique bag decorated by the Three Ladies brand... oh, so elegant!
(Front, Back, Interior)

So take that Edouard! While many of my neighbors have been swarmng the grocery stores here, I have been having fun at the sewing machine and I'm still ready for you!

BTW - If you would like one, I have about a dozen bags left to work with and would be glad to send you a copy of my cold food bag. Just let me know.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

UFOs #11 and # 12

Finally, after a couple of years of the pieces in my stash and months of waiting to actually be quilted, I have finished the second quilt for one of my Dad's friend's daughters. I must say that it looks great even though the quilting was the thing of nightmares. I used a large meandering pattern to quilt it and bound the edges with left over striped material. The binding was a small challenge as well as I had to piece together a lot of little bits to finish up the fourth edge. The whole thing is about sixty-four inches on each side. One more UFO bites the dust - YAHOO! Now into the washer and dryer then off to the post office. Bye, Bye, nightmare!
BTW - the original quilt was taught by Charlotte Angotti in one of her 'let me surprise you' classes at the Houston International Quilt Festival. I made the original quilt for my mother and my father now uses it on his bed at the nursing home. I bought an additional kit from a friend and combined it with my leftover bits and some yardage to create two quilts and two pillows for the daughters of my father's friend.
UFO #11 was a scissors sheath and fob that came in a kit I purchased a long time ago. It took a few hours to get the beading done on the edges and I added a lot of Fray Check to make sure that the edges didn't fall apart. I wonder where and when I actually picked up this kit?
Two more down... many more UFO's to come. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the Mail

Chronicle Books had a friends and family sale last week and I couldn't resist ordering a couple of things I am always thinking I need but never buying. With 30% off it was finally my chance to get 'The Complete Wosre-Case Scenario Handbook' . It is 500 plus pages of advice on how to survive many extreme situations. Like, the pilot is dead, or you are locked in a walk-in freezer, or your child won't eat their vegetables, or you meet a mountain lion in the woods - this book has hundreds of solutions to these and other scenarios. Most of the advice seems very practical for the layman and gives you the confidence to actually survive a bad situation. The book also includes a DVD of all the worse case scenarios from the eleven books in the series. I have not looked at the DVD because the book is so engrossing.

For your bathroom library or reference shelf, this book would be a wonderul addition.

Now if I could just remember the advice about meeting a mountain lion or landing a plane without carrying the book with me all the time!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Avoidence Projects

I have been avoiding finishing the quilting of a project for about four months now. Its not like I don't enjoy quilting, Its just that the quilting of this quilt has become pretty tedious. I stopped working on it when I realized that I had quilted a huge pleat into the backing. I could have ignored it and continued but, as this is a gift, I decided to stop and rip out the pleated portion. I finished doing that the other night and I still have not returned to the quilting. What I have been doing is avoiding it by doing other sewing projects like:

I re-did the dogs' leashes. The originals were getting pretty ratty so I cut off the hardware and re-did the fabric portion out of cotton belting. I also added some trims and some refective tape to each leash. These are probably not as durable as the originals (cotton versus nylon webbing) but I like them. I don't think the dogs care even though they went nuts everytime I picked up the originals to cut off the hardware or measure the length. BTW the leashes are hung from the door stop thingy on the front door - an ideal place to store them between walks.

I made a new everyday wristlet. I got a cute wristlet through the bag ladies swap and have been using it every day. Its pretty bold so I decided that I needed one that is a little less noticeable. In the mail from Craft Leftovers came the makings for my new wristlet. The pattern is called the Temari Ball bag. It came with two fabrics, pre-cut, and a zipper. The zipper was black so I swapped it out for a hot pink that I had in my stash. I also added the riboon decoration. Two other changes I made were to add lavender between the lining and the exterior and some fusible batting to the wrong side of the exterior. Its a pretty good size for me and I have already started to use it for runs to the grocery store and other errand running.

I went to the movies. A real avoidence activity! A friend and I got togeher the other day and we were both felling a little of sorts so we to see Hancock at our local multiplex. Hancock was very enjoyable and it will definitely by in my DVD collection when it is released. The best part about it is that the previews did not spoil the fun. If you get a chance, go see Hancock.. even if you don't like science fiction, I think you will enjoy it. There is one really yucky part, definitely not for kids, but the rest of the movie is a lot of fun.

I picked up a UFO. That's right, UFO number eleven is an hour or so from being finished. It's a beaded scissors' sheath and fob. I don't need either of these but they are elegant. I will post these in an official post later on. I just figured out that if I had just bit the bullet and finished quilting the quilt instead of doing this scissors project, I would be done with it.

I took the girls to the vet. This one is true avoidence! They were both due for their annual exam and vaccinations. I originally stopped by with them to get all of them weighed and ended up wasting about two hours between weighing and exams. I know I needed to get this done but it was quilt or put them through some anxiety. Anxiety won out and they are safe for another year. I'm pretty sure the girls don't blame me as they competed to lay on me all evening.

I have nothing else I can do today in all conscience to avoid the quilting. I have the whole weekend ahead of me with no scheduled events so I should be able to get the quilting and binding done in time to get it packaged for the mail on Monday. Wish me luck!

And to my Canadian friends in Ontario - Happy Civic Holiday on Monday! I don't know when it became Civic Holiday but that's as good a name as any for a freeby in mid-summer.

And, to my big brother - Happy 59th Birthday! And to him and his wife - Happy 38th Anniversary!

Definitely a big weekend coming up. Have a good one!