Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jiminy Cricket

This is as far as my conscience allowed me to get on the quilt blocks I had cut out before I found out about the move. I kept trying to go to the sewing machine and finish up the few seams that would turn these twenty units into five quilt blocks, but the little voice in my head told me I was in no danger of losing the pieces anymore. I had no excuse to still be playing with my fabric. I had packing to do.

I couldn't ignore the voice in regard to the blocks. I did, however, ignore the suggestion that I get packing. Procrastinators unite! Tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday Moments: Tuesday Edition

I kind of feel like the dog must feel in this picture. I'm overwhelmed with every possible thing lately and I just couldn't even bring myself to come over here and post yesterday.

In the midst of moving to a new place and all of the cost concerns that come with that, I took a trip to the dentist yesterday. I was way overcharged on my bill and completely humiliated when the receptionist looked at me like I should not only have the hundreds of dollars they were asking for that day's visit, but I should have the thousands of dollars that they were asking for in total. I couldn't help but sit there and cry in front of this complete stranger who had no idea of all the directions my life is pulling me right now.

I'm still being crafty too. I started on a few projects before I knew we were moving that I hope to finish up in a couple days. Then I will be packing up the sewing machine and all of the other craft supplies until I set up my new room.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heads up!

Lila Tueller, who I mention here quite a bit (the designer of the fabric I used in my patchwork bag and the designer of the pattern I altered for the diaper bag) has posted a free pattern on her blog. For a limited time you can download the instructions for some truly adorable mushroom pincushions with some unique embellishments.

By pure coincidence, the Patches and Pieces blog is giving away a honey bun (1 1/2 inch pre-cut strips) of Lila Tueller's Soiree line for Moda. I looked around online the other day and found that you can do a lot more with 1 1/2 inch strips than I thought.

So, go download Lila's pattern and visit Patches and Pieces blog for a chance to win some of her fabric...and pretend I actually went down in my sewing room and made a cute little mushroom to show you. Honestly, I started, but I got some big news today that ensures my future will be filled with packing and boxes and a multitude of posts on craigslist. We did not get the house we excitedly took down the info of the day of the infamous gas leak, but we did get another house. A smaller house, but with a better floor plan and I am so excited to de-clutter (and de-neighbor) my life!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Moments

It has been in the high 30's here lately. The driveway turns into a pile of mush during the day and freezes at night, so we've been scraping it down in the afternoons. Gabe loves this activity. He loves doing anything we adults do. We say something and he copies it. We make a hand gesture and he copies it. Thankfully none of these things have been inappropriate so far, but he is a constant reminder that we need to be better people, or at least more careful people.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Up to something

My lack of posting has not been because I haven't been working on anything. My new Moda Boutique charm pack and my fat quarter bundle have been keeping me busy adding more blocks to what will eventually be my quilt.

I love these blocks. So much that I look at them and wonder if some of my old blocks will even work in the quilt. I keep having to remind myself that I still have approximately 60 blocks to go and I have no idea what will and won't mesh with the final layout. It could all end up blending together nicely even though it doesn't seem to now.

I have been working on this too. I'm not sure that I like this either, but it was something I was very eager to try. I'm going to cut the strips that are sewn together into rows and sew them together with the rows of flowers to make a small quilt.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday Moments: Tuesday Edition

I will admit that sometimes my excuses for not getting around to these on Monday are pretty lame...but this week, holy cow.

My husband set the alarm yesterday for 7:00 AM. At 7:40 he woke up, hearing it for the first time...and he was the first one of us who heard it. So we hurried to get everyone in the house ready as we knew we had a full day ahead of us. My step-daughter had to be taken to school, my husband had to go drop the car off at the auto shop, I had to pick him up, then make a stop to deal with some insurance issues, then we had to be at my son's doctor's office at 10:00. Lots of stuff.

I was sitting in the school parking lot getting ready to take my step-daughter in (because of course, she was late having got up 25 minutes later than she usually does) when my phone rang. It was my husband, the mechanic was refusing to honor their estimate unless I brought in my copy. I let out a great big sigh, took my daughter into school and headed back home.

I parked my husband's truck directly in front of the door and shut it off because I needed the keys to unlock the house. I left Gabe in his car seat because the estimate was sitting right on top of the microwave, literally two feet inside the door. I walked back out and saw that my neighbor (who I share a driveway with) had chosen this exactly horrible moment to back out of her garage. Meaning she'd have to back up onto the busy street, or I'd have to move my truck so she could leave. I prepared to move the truck. She started backing up, I heard a loud clunk and suddenly she was pulled up in front of her garage again. She is a notoriously bad driver (one of those people who takes up two parking spots because she's just that nervous about hitting someone else's car). I assumed that she had stupidly slammed her car into drive when I startled her, and that the clunk I heard was the sound of one very angry transmission.

She backed out onto the road and I went out behind her.

I went over to the auto shop, dropped off the estimate and picked up my husband. We drove downtown to the insurance office, got some paperwork we needed and headed across town to my son's doctor. We were 15 minutes early, so we waited around for awhile, then got in right on time and spent about 15 more minutes discussing my son's ears. (They're better, FYI.) On the way home we passed a house for rent. We pulled in and excitedly took down the information, delaying us even more.

We drove home and ate a little lunch. My husband left for an appointment of his own while I put the (not such a) baby down for a nap. I curled up in my chair with a cup of coffee and the book I'm reading. We stayed this way for two hours. Gabe woke up and wasn't crying, so I left him in the crib playing with his trains for an extra ten minutes while I finished my chapter. My husband came home, I ran upstairs quick and grabbed the baby and we all got ready to go pick my step-daughter up from school.

Then the phone rang. It was my neighbor two houses down. She said that my immediate neighbors had sent their kids to her house, there was a gas leak. I walked upstairs and immediately smelled exactly what she was talking about. It wasn't strong, but it was there, just a few feet from where my son had been laying for the past two hours...where I had left him for an extra ten minutes. She quietly told me that she wasn't sure my neighbor would report the leak, and that I should call my gas company. It seemed odd, but I didn't question it and got my husband on his phone immediately while I got what few details she had on the situation.

My husband went outside, walked around to my neighbor's side of the house (it's a duplex...might make this whole story make more sense) and saw a broken pipe, literally hissing gas out at him. The neighbor (the man this time) came out and said our meter had broken. My husband surveyed the area and came back inside. "She hit the gas line!" I asked him if her husband had told him that. He said, "No, I saw the tracks coming directly out of the garage that led right up to the broken pipe." My brain clicked away. The clunk that I had thought was my neighbor ripping out her transmission that morning was her backing up into my gas line and breaking it off.

It was 3PM before anyone reported the leak. A full six hours after my neighbor broke the pipe. The man from the gas company would eventually tell us that gas was leaking out of that pipe at 10 psi the entire time. Because the line was on their side of the duplex, my neighbors' house filled with the gas that leaked out. My own home only had trace amounts leaking in from where the walls aren't sealed around the pipes in the bathroom.

Six hours. Who knows how many times their furnace kicked on? Who knows if the kids came home from school and threw a snack in the microwave? How many chances did all that gas have to ignite and it didn't? I could have cried. And then I could have punched someone.

She knew she hit something, and I think the odds are pretty good that she knew what she hit. Her husband drug his boots up and down her tire tracks before the technicians got there, realizing at last what we had seen immediately. What kind of people don't care like that? I can't even honestly understand the complete disregard she had for the fact that my family would be here all day...but at the very least I expect her to be concerned about her own children coming home from school, her own husband coming home from work all four hours before she was due back.

I thank God that I had so many errands to run yesterday. I thank God that my home and my son are still here, because I had many chances to lose them both. And it may be wrong, but I'm praying that there's a special place for someone that stupid...or at the very least that the gas company sends them one hell of a bill.

Friday, January 8, 2010

More inspiration

I got an e-mail from Borders this morning (oh, how I miss having a Borders! We have a Barnes & Noble here and an almost as good as Borders local store, but they both lack that lovely computer in the store feature that keeps me from having to talk to people when I can't find what I want.) that said something about 75% off clearance. It reminded me of a Christmas gift I got...a little something that usually goes on clearance this time of year.

The 2010 Sewing Calendar. Now, honestly, it isn't much good as a calendar. There isn't a lot of space to write on and the weekends are condensed into one slot, but it's patterns and directions for more than 100 sewing projects, all pretty well organized into the months where you might need them. A yoga mat bag for January when nearly everyone makes that resolution to get fit, a quilted card for Valentine's Day, lunch bags for the kids going back to school in September, a superhero cape and trick-or-treat bag for October, a half-eaten gingerbread ornament for December, etc. etc. It really has some cute ideas, and was a bargain at full price. If it sounds at all like your cup of tea, go out and buy one for cheap while you can still find it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


FedEx has assured me that the package arrived. I can only assume it was opened and I am dying to hear some kind of reaction. I keep having to remind myself that she just had a baby and I'm irrational to think she's going to get right back to me.

So without further ado, I bring you the small surprise I threw in with the diaper bag.

A matching changing pad! It was so simple to do and turned out really cute, I think.

I made it so it folds up into this adorable envelope shape and I even backed it...

With vinyl! I had heard that vinyl can be really tough to work with and very sticky. Honestly, it did stick a few times but it was so much easier than I was anticipating. I even made sure to correct a problem that my own store bought changing pad had. On the plastic side (the easy to clean side that most people change the baby on) my changing pad has the scratchy hard part of the Velcro. Not cool when your baby gets his little legs and arms all marked up, or gets his clothes caught on it. So I made sure that the softer piece of Velcro was on that side. If I still changed tiny baby diapers I would SO be making one of these for myself.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Never again...maybe

Here is the diaper bag, finally, finally completed. The last time I used this pattern I decided that I would never make it again. But then someone saw the bag I had made and loved it and asked for one nearly a whole year after the first one and I thought about it. "It couldn't possibly be as bad as I remembered. I'll have more time. I'm more experienced now." Obviously, you can tell I said yes.

Honestly, I love Lila Tueller's designs. They're pretty, they're unique, her fabric lines never fail to impress me, but some of the instructions in this pattern make my head hurt. I took some different steps this time (sewing the lining and binding dead last instead of trying to sew the tabs and straps through yet another layer of fabric) and used some different equipment (denim needles are definitely not enough to do the job despite what the pattern may indicate, canvas needles made this a much, much more pleasant experience), and it really wasn't as bad as I remembered. I still think I might never make it again, but then I look at it...

I mean, really, how cute are the ties? And the fraying edges? And the perfectly coordinated little button?

I hope the mom (no longer a mom-to-be, she had her baby boy the day I finished the bag) likes it, and the extra little something I threw in with it. I'll post pictures of that tomorrow after my FedEx tracking ID assures me she's opened the package and I am not ruining the surprise.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Moments

Happy New Year! Okay, so I'm four days late and have already posted this year, but let's just ignore those couple things.

Everyone seems to be using their blogs to post resolutions this year, so I'm going to be a trend chaser and put a few down for myself.

1. Get Gabe off of the damn binky. See the face he's giving me as he's wearing that hat? You think he hated the hat, right? Nope. He was mad at me for not letting him have a pacifier hanging out of his mouth for the shot. I swear to you all that sometimes he puts that in and makes the exact same face I make when I get a good piece of chocolate.

2. Have more blog posts than I had last year. That one should be simple.

3. Finish three quilts. I think I'll probably do more than that, because I currently have one top done, 20 some blocks for another and am really, really inspired to do a couple girly baby quilts. Do I have any use for girly baby quilts? No. But I do have the fabric. My husband loves it when I come home with fabric and a plan and nothing to do with it when I'm done. HA!

I'm setting the bar low this year. Believe me, resolution number one will be the hardest to keep. This kid is attached.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I don't know about you, but inspiration always seems to come for me when I cannot do a single thing about it.

In this particular instance, I broke one of my rules about the scrappy quilt I was working on and actually bought fabric for it. The charm pack (pre-cut 5" squares of fabric) I came into innocently enough. I was Christmas shopping for my mother-in-law at when I decided to look around for a coupon code. It turned out that by adding the cost of another charm pack to my order and bumping it up past $50 to activate the coupon, I would actually come out paying $3 less for my mother-in-law's gift and get a little gift for me. Really, it would have been stupid not to.

Then I went to JoAnn Fabrics where I had gotten a gift card for my birthday and fully planned on using everything that was left on it to buy supplies for something I was making for someone else. At the last minute I decided that it was my birthday money and I deserved something fun, just for me. I bought the fat quarter bundle in the little basket there. I am not sure what I am going to do with the patterned purple pieces that have no teal or green (or the six or seven charm squares that don't either for that matter), but I cannot wait to get back to this quilt...right now. Somehow I think I won't be so inspired once I'm finished with the diaper bag I have to make and have free time again.