Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thinkin' about RETREAT!!!

About this time tomorrow, I should be getting my sewing machine and other things settled in at the quilting retreat. YAY! Sleep, eat, and sew for 48 hours. Well, 46 hours once you take out the set up and tear down time. ;-) I've been to this venue before, and the scenery and meals are fabulous! My Mom and my friend Wendy will also be going, so I'll have someone I know to talk to as well as being able to meet new people.

I have a quilt (lap size) that I plan on making, and hopefully I'll have enough room on the floor for my "design wall" since I don't know 100% yet how I'm going to lay out the blocks. I'm PRETTY sure I know where I'm going with it, but you never know until you get the fabrics and blocks together how it's going to look. Unless you use Electric Quilt. But that's too much work for me in this case. ;-)

If I have time left over after I get the lap quilt top done, I'm going to either start on a wall hanging (if I can remember what fabrics go where for the block) or make some more purses. I bought a new pattern the other day that's a lot like the Thimbleberries purse (see Purse mania) but it is a little bigger and doesn't have outside pockets. My struggle now is to figure out what fabric I want to use for it out of the many purse fabrics I've purchased lately. ;-) I'm also wondering how many projects I should take. More purses? Different purses? Purse organizers? I don't want to have nothing to do at any given point in time. It's always hard to know how long things are going to take. The quilt I'm doing is a pretty straightforward block, so it shouldn't take me the whole weekend. The wall hanging could take me the whole weekend to figure out my notes and where I was going with it! But it could also frustrate me greatly, and then I'd need something else to work on.

I also have a wallet in work that I might have to take with me to finish up. I'm pretty sure I won't get it done tonight before I need to start packing up for retreat (I haven't even started packing yet). I also want to try the machine embroidery thing on my backpack pocket. Oh, I didn't tell you that story! I got my old XP laptop and Janome to talk, so I tried out a machine embroidery design last weekend, with the Queen of Machine Embroidery (Mom) by my side. The thread broke. And broke. And broke. Adjustment A. Broke. Adjustment B. Broke. On and on to about Adjustment M. I finally after the fourth hooping got the design to stitch with only one thread breakage. So I'm going to try it on real fabric tomorrow when Mom's around and see if it cooperates. I wrote down all the adjustments we made (tension, thread cone position, needle, room temperature, planetary alignment....), so we'll see how it goes. If that goes well, I can finish up that backpack at retreat, too.

I think that's all the news I have for now... I've just been looking forward to retreat for the last couple of days and wanted to let you in on the ramblings in my head about it. ;-) I'll report after I get back, and hopefully have some pictures. The camera is on my list, but will I remember I have it with me??


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Purse mania

Hi, all!

Well, I was brave enough to do Show and Tell at Sew Fun this month... for those of you who don't know what that is (and care), it's a monthly seminar with demos of products and techniques relative to sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery. Anyway, we have Show and Tell every time, and this was my first S&T in the year and a half that I've been attending. Partly because all my projects are LARGE (like queen size) and I don't want to haul that to Sew Fun and back, and partly because I rarely finish anything. So I showed off (ha) my backpack purse, my purse organizers, and a purse I made out of Thimbleberries fabric. I've since made another purse (yesterday) that I don't know that I'll make another of. It needs a higher caliber of sewing prowess and patience than I have to make it well enough to give away or to sell, my purse organizer doesn't fit in it, and it doesn't have a closure. But it's a cute style and I'm sure I'll get some use out of it. I may make a second one because I have some fabric DYING to be used and I don't know that I have enough to make a strapped purse. It'll be close - I'll have to check that out.

Here are some links to the pictures of my creations (except the backpack purse - I don't have pictures of that because I'm not thrilled on how it turned out. I'm planning on taking pictures of the second one that's in progress now, just waiting for machine embroidery).

Purse organizer (pattern my The Crochet Diva) and Thimbleberries purse (pattern by Keyka Lou)
Dewdrop Purse (pattern by Keyka Lou)

I found a wallet pattern on Etsy that I really like, but I have a couple reservations. First reservation is that the pattern writer is not a native English speaker. Her English is decent, but I can tell from her product writeups that English is her second language. Second reservation is that there are 48 pages of instructions! This could be good or bad. ;-) I'm still thinking about it. I like the wallet and I think I would use it even though it's a smidge bigger than I would like, but it's got a lot more compartments and is smaller than other wallet patterns out there. I'll probably go for it, but I'm still thinking. :-)

Last weekend Bill and I went up to the Tulip Festival with our friend Kelli, her two boys, and her mother and mother in law. I took over 150 pictures and I don't know how many she got. We usually trade CDs of the pictures we took, too. I took quite a few of her boys because they were entertaining playing in the mud. :-) Here are a few pictures that were taken of the tulips and of us.

Do any of you go to JoAnn Fabrics? If you do, you know that this week was Daffodil Dash - lots of sales and some 50% off coupons! I went on Tuesday before I got my temporary crown put in (that's another story - ugh) and I found some fabric I really liked, but not enough! WHAA! They were also out of the magnetic snaps I wanted for my purses. So yesterday I violated a stay-at-home day and we went to a different JoAnn's and it was SO worth the trip!! Four packages of the snaps I wanted, three yards of the fabric I wanted, plus some fabric for other projects that was all either on sale or I used a 50% off coupon for! YAY! And Bill and I went to Applebee's for dinner. It was an anniversary of sorts - 2 years and 5 months. I wonder when we'll grow out of counting the months? ;-) You may gag now. ;-)

I mentioned a temporary crown... I went for my dental checkup a couple weeks ago and they found some cracks in one of my molars. So I have my first temporary crown, and I asked if getting a crown means I'm a princess now. They got a kick out of that. They tried to tell me that once I get the permanent crown I get to be queen, but I don't want to be queen. Princess is fine. Queens have too much responsibility. ;-) So I go in a week and a half for my permanent crown, and hopefully that will be the last one for a while. Or ever.

Today before our church activities this afternoon and evening, I'm planning on trying to get my old laptop (XP) to talk to my sewing machine and transfer some embroidery designs. I'm guessing that my Janome is a Vista snob since I couldn't get my new laptop to talk to it, no matter what patches I installed or what things I tried. I have an email out to Tech Support - we'll see if they have any other ideas that the forum didn't address. Hopefully XP will do the trick - we shall see! It'll be slow, but it might just work. If that goes well, I might do some sewing today, too. If it doesn't go well, I'll probably go in a corner and pout. ;-) Nah, I'll probably sew anyway. I've got a few hours before I have to think about getting ready, and I might be able to whip up a purse in that amount of time.

Thanks, everybody, for reading my ramblings! Let me know if you like the links to the pictures or if you'd rather see pictures in the blog itself. I was being lazy this time, but I am able to share more pictures this way. I'm just curious how it works out for the readers.

Have a great day / week / month until I blog again! :-)


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I have purses!

I don't have pictures [yet], but I've made one backpack purse (but not without incident) and a shoulder tote. I'll try to get some pictures together sometime and post them since I'm sure both my readers would like to see them. ;-)

I've been bitten by the sewing bug lately, and I've even been thinking about making some sewn items for my Etsy shop. I have a purse organizer pattern that I really like (I've made 2 so far) and the latest purse I made came out pretty well for a first attempt. I also have patterns for little pouches and business card wallets that would be great accessories, as well as another purse that I haven't tried yet. The backpack purse is really fussy, and I wouldn't be able to charge enough to sell it. Nor could I come close to getting it "shop" quality. Not that my other stuff is perfect or even outstanding, but this bag is pushing my comfort zone significantly. Plus to sell it I'd have to make the straps adjustable, and I am so not going there.

I have a bracelet I need to make to sell to have something new in my shop, but between my recent sewing spree and my limited time when I'm not sewing, it hasn't gotten done. It'll be beautiful when I do, though! ;-) It's similar to a bracelet I made for myself that has been getting some nice comments. I also have some beads I ordered that need a home (and more things on order), so we'll see. I just know it won't be this week since it's a manic week anyway. Something going on every night this week plus both days of the weekend. And it's baseball season again, which means I may not get anything constructive done until October or November! ;-) GO MARINERS!!!!

I have a quilt retreat coming up in a few weeks, so I've been trying to decide what to take to work on. I have one quilt that needs the binding sewn on, and may have another if it's back from the quilter by then. Those will keep me occupied for a few hours. I also found some fabric I bought about a year ago with a block pattern that I must have meant to be a quilt, so I can get started on that. That's if I finish the wall hanging that I also bought fabric for a year ago and now I can't tell where I was going with it, even though I have the measurements and the pattern with the fabric. Which fabric was which in the pattern? Did I buy backing and binding? Where are my instructions on a mitered border? Oh, brother. Retreat could be interesting. But it sounds as if I won't have to wonder what to work on since the wall hanging will take me forever to figure out and the other quilt is a large lap size (since I have a large lap, hee hee). Yep. I should be able to entertain myself from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.

As I said, I'll post again once I have some pictures to show, and if not before, I'll have to give you a retreat report (that will be the first week of May at the earliest). Until then....