Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It Happened Again

This Swedish beauty is on its way to me. It's a Viking 2000 and pretty much a mechanical duplicate of its younger sister, my Viking 6010. But look at that lovely green metallic. How could I resist?

It doesn't have a foot pedal (my 6010's will fit) and I have no idea if it even really works. But for $25.85 plus shipping, it can just sit on a shelf and look pretty and I will be OK with that. It does match the walls and will make a lovely "accessory." Although I have a sneaking suspicion that it will work fine. These machines are tanks, after all, and this one looks fairly pristine.

Of course, I do need to get that shelf to house and display my little growing herd. I think if I get my mom's table runner & napkins finished, I'll reward myself with a trip to IKEA over the weekend.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Procrastination Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Some of you may have noticed the graphic below in my sidebar:

It's a badge for and link to a relatively easy Challenge/Quilt-A-Long on the Loft Creations blog that I joined in January, thinking I'd have plenty of time to finish *something* before it ended on June 30. Hah! I should have known better.

Well, at least I started, right? I may even finish the piecing before the deadline, but I don't think it's looking very good for me to finish the machine quilting by then. (But maybe if Stephanie at Loft Creations is reading, she'll consider my procrastinator's plea to extend for one more weekend so I can have the holiday weekend to finish it. I wonder if she accepts bribes?)

It's going to be a table runner for my mom, using scraps from various projects I've done for her in the past, plus a few other prints I've had kicking around. I plan to make 4 more blocks, trim all from 7" to 6", find a border/backing print locally, and also buy enough to back more 2-sided napkins I'll cut fronts from using some of the prints in the blocks. Mom keeps raving about the runner and napkins I made/sent her in December which is her way of asking me to make more.

I'm not sure how much I like it so far because these aren't color/print combinations I'd normally choose for something in my house, but I think mom will like it. And I think I'll like it better once a border print is included and I re-arrange the blocks. Right now, it's a little messy — which is the point of string piecing, I suppose. But more than messy, it's looking *too* symmetrical in some places for my eyes so I need to shuffle the blocks.

The piecing itself goes quickly (click on the link above for instructions), and it gave me a chance to dust off the Featherweight, which I just love for piecing (big quilt piecer that I am LOL!). And it is a great way to use up those scraps I've been accumulating. Plus I'll earn "daughter points" when mom receives it totally unexpected. Always good to have those in reserve.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Quick" Pillows

I say "quick" instead of quick (no quotes) because these pillows *should* have been quick but I procrastinated so long that they took months and months to get a round tuit. ;-)

I bought the first of these stripey quilts a while ago. Then we got Dani and she liked to nibble little holes into the edges, and even in the middle. Bad dog! I patched them and decided to wait out the puppy phase beforel changing to a non-holey quilt. Then I found the same quilt again on sale (JC Penny) and bought two more. Yes, two. I'm planning for the worst.

That left me two good quilts and one holey mess. I also still had the big throw pillows from our last bedding set. So, I put the two together — making new envelope shams (for ease in removing for washing) from the old quilt and stuffing them with the old pillow forms. And, voila! Pillows for Dani to nibble on. NOT! Although I think I do see a certain gleam in her eye, don't you?

Maybe one of these days we'll paint this room, hang curtains and put in a floor. Sigh. Kind of depressing to look back at the old house and see how *finished* my last bedroom was vs. what an ungodly disaster the current one is. But then priorities and available time have changed a lot since then too. No one ever died or anything sleeping in an ugly bedroom, right? ;-)

In the meantime, I have a dog bed duvet to stitch up from the rest of this quilt, which I'll go do right now since everything is cut, ready, and waiting and then I can really scratch this quilt remake project off my list.

The "boys" are manning the grill for Father's Day dinner so I'm completely off kitchen duty tonight, which means more sewing room time. Isn't Father's Day great? LOL!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blondies for a Rainy Afternoon

It's a gray rainy day here, which I think justifies a batch of something rich and gooey. And, of course, with chocolate! These will take the gloom away. (Now, if we could only do something about the humidity.)

Here's the recipe. My sons say milk is a mandatory beverage with these.

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
2/3 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chopped nuts and set aside.

2. Melt butter (love the microwave for this!). Add brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and vanilla together and add sugar/butter mixture. Mix well.

4. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well.

5. Spread in 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges are firm and golden and shrinking away from the pan.

Cool for about 15 minutes and cut. Let sit another 15 minutes if you can, and then remove from pan. Makes 16 if you cut squares, 20 if you cut smaller rectangles.

* * * * *

And although I know Marjie is probably cringing, I have to share DS's blurry cellphone pic too. The pups always get to lick off the beaters around here. Don't worry - when they're done it goes through the dishwasher and all kooties are cleaned away. And they have much smaller tongues than Thor so fewer kooties, right? ;-)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Butterick 5488: One More Time

This is what my top looked like yesterday. Can't exactly wear it like that. ;-)

But as of 10 minutes ago, I had a complete top.

It was actually done about an hour ago but I kept looking at it, thinking it needed *something.* So I cut a strip, gathered it, and pinned it around the neckband to see if I liked it. I did, so I stitched it down. Raw edges, 5 minutes, done.

My white capris are fresh out of the dryer and waiting. I have a number of errands to run tomorrow and it will be nice to wear something new while I'm out and about.

Indulge Me Once More

Not much sewing going on at the moment, although I do have a top in progress using the same Butterick pattern as the Graduation Dress. I hope to get that finished tonight.

Speaking of the graduation …

One last mention and a link to the video DS#1 put together and uploaded to YouTube. If you click on the photo below, you should be taken right to it. (The final grad pics order hasn't arrived yet, so I "swiped" the proof in the meantime.)

There are no photos of the family because the two that DS did take are just plain horrible of everyone, but you can hear my "Whoop!" when Alex's name is announced. LOL!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sigh of Relief

Graduation is over and done. Whew! It went great, despite the huge crowd (graduating class of 550+) and oppressively hot and humid weather. Summer is definitely here in West Central Florida. Ugh. ;-) I'm trying to remember freezing my arse off in January so I can appreciate this heat better.

I'm not sure what we have for photos yet since DS#1 was in charge and what he took is still in his camera. Unfortunately, once we got outside with The Grad, it was far too crowded and hot to stand around and take photos so we departed fairly quickly.

In other news, DS#1, the Marine-to-be, passed his ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) today with flying colors. We've spent a lot of time studying together over the last couple of weeks and it was well worth it. Well, except for that part about revisiting high school algebra. ;-)

Belinda, this photo is for you. My new orange sandals. Ta Da! They are a little fancier than my "every day" shoes/flip flops because of the metallic (gold) trim, but they fit into daily Florida life perfectly. And with my red hair/Autumn coloring, yellow/bronze metals are best on me, so I was happy with the gold instead of silver which is more popular lately. I think they have a slight gladiator & 1970s thing going on, but not so much as to be too young or trendy for my middle-aged self, and hopefully not too old/retiree either. ;-) Being only 1" high and cushioned, they are very comfortable, which is usually near the top of my new shoes requirements these days. And for a bonus, they also go with at least 2-3 more tops I already own.

ETA: Here's the Zappos link if you want to buy a pair in orange and/or the other color options.

Friday, June 4, 2010

In the Nick of Time

Looks like I won't be naked at the graduation. ;-) Here's the finished dress (B5488). And I was in bed by 1 AM (usual time for me).

Overall, I'm happy with it. I'm not 100% thrilled with the repeat of the large motif down my center front but that's a fabric issue that I had no control over so I'll live with it. If *I* had been designing the fabric, I would've spread out those large flowers more. But no one asked me. ;-)

It's very bright, isn't it? (That's bright orange in case your monitor is reading it as red). I'm planning to wear some orange sandals with it. That is, IF the UPS man delivers them before we leave. The tracking says they're out for delivery so fingers crossed. Yes, I procrastinated on ordering my shoes too. ;-) If they don't make it or don't fit, I'll wear either white or black sandals I already have. UPDATE 10:15 AM: They're here and they fit!

I used a coordinating print for the neckband and I also added sleeve and hem bands using this same print. I didn't want the neckband to get entirely lost in the print and I think this slight contrast works well.

As I mentioned earlier, for the muslin I did not make any alterations to the pattern other than blending to a larger bottom-half size. For the final dress, I tweaked the neckband by pinching out a very small "dart" on both the front and back pattern pieces, to tighten up the neck opening without affecting the seam where the pieces attach to the dress body. I knew this tiny alteration would stop me from fiddling with the neckline all night.

After evaluating the muslin, I decided I would sew the top seam of the raglan sleeves with a smaller seam allowance near the edge to give me a little more bicep room. Instead, for the final dress I just added that little bit on in fabric when I cut the pattern. Same affect but without the need to remember to sew a different seam allowance. One less thing to remember when you're sewing to a deadline is a Good Thing. Don't ask me about forgetting to cut the back On Fold so now I have a useless and pretty much invisible CB seam. ;-)

I ended up adding 6 inches in length to the bottom of the dress, some of that extra length is the 3" hem band. I added 1-1/2" to the sleeve pattern pieces and also added a 1-1/2" hem band, for a total of about 2" additional length on the sleeves after subtracting seam allowances.

Here's what my sewing table looked like when I finished last night (and still looks like now). Not too bad, right? Lots of other crap I need to put away, though, that is entirely unrelated to this dress. And I see my Stars & Stripes project peeking out from under the muslin bolt on the left. Poor neglected quilt. But I have a dress to wear!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Raise Your Hand …

… If you procrastinate.

(Debbie raises hand and waves madly!!)

So why do we? My fabric arrived on time on Tuesday. I've had time every afternoon and evening since to work on my dress. Have I? No. Not until today. The Last Day.

I'm pretty sure I'll get it done tonight. It's cut out and I've basted the pleats. The only other "hard" (not really) part is the neckband (already interfaced) and after that it's just straight seams and a few hems. Even if the power goes out, I can sew by candlelight on the treadle. But why did I wait? Why do some people (me!!) enjoy working under pressure? I mean, I must, right? Since I do this all the time.

But is it really procrastination if you do get the whatever done on time? Or is there another term that fits better? I don't think I ever procrastinate past a deadline and miss it. Maybe in a warped inverse sort of way, I just have excellent organizational and time management skills. Stop laughing. ;-)

Just thoughts.

Back up to the sewing room now.