Monday, January 30, 2012

And now, presenting..... video !

Recently I purchased a little videocam on eBay.  It cost me less than $20, had to come from Hong Kong, and was advertised as a "good for a child" type of camera.  So, of course, I had to give it a spin.  So, without further delay, here are the views from my sewing chair.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Dad's Birthday

Today we celebrated my Dad's 80th birthday.  For a number of reasons, this was remarkable.  First of all - he's 80 !  As my Mom lamented this week, "how did that happen?"  (She was not at all pleased when I remarked that she's not that far behind - go figure!)  Secondly, we had a lovely brunch at a new to most-of-us restaurant, and everyone liked it.  You see, of late, my parents idea of a "nice dinner out" and my sibs and I, our ideas are totally different.  We FINALLY let Mom and Dad in on it that we really didn't like spending our money on such mediocre food that the "usual" place had.  Turns out, they were suggesting that place because they were concerned about the cost if we went elsewhere, as most of us have children in tow.  Now that that cat was out of the bag, it turns out they had been entertaining friends at the "Old Mill Inn" in Tillsonburg lately.  So that's where my brother made reservations for us today.  The food was great.  The atmosphere was great.  We had 20 people sitting down - raging in age from 2 - 80 and all had a good time.  Oh, and yes, we are a rowdy bunch when we get together - lots of laughter and carrying on - and the staff joined right in.  I really enjoyed myself, and my fussier than fussy son even ate.  Not a great variety, but he ate!
Thirdly.  We actually got together on a special day to celebrate - on the exact day!  Now, this "never" happens in our family.  Dad always worked shiftwork, so occassions were adapted around his schedule.  Then when the older kids got part time jobs, we adapted even more, to accommodate that.  Then some of us were nurses, don't even start on that shift issue, and Sunday shopping started happening, so my brother in grocery retail had to start pulling Sunday shifts, and things got more complicated.  Add to the mix, some moving overseas, some moving south, some moving north, and it is now quite rare that we all get together.  So, despite the Ottawa Four, and the Bermuda Duo not being in attendance, and the January weather being so-so,  the rest of the gang was there - except for 2 who are now in the student-job scenario.
But we celebrated.  And we had a good time.  And we had good food.  And all in attendance were healthy (~give or take). 
We are blessed.
Happy Birthday Dad.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Help! I'm being held hostage.

Help!  I'm being held hostage by prepaid cards.  It used to be "Mom, can I have a dollar to get some candy?"  Now, it's "Mom, can I have $20 to get a PS3 card, or an iTunes card, or a Roblox card...."  Thank goodness he hasn't discovered prepaid VISA cards!
Now before anyone thinks I don't give my son anything - perish that thought - I do indulge him.  He's an only child.  We have very few kids in the neighbourhood to send him out to play with.  So, yes, he spends too much time on his computer, and on the PS3, and on Roblox, and playing with Lego, and playing the drums, and beating up the heavy bag that's mounted on a basement ceiling joist and shakes the whole house when hit.
I'd love it if he would take to a sport, but the competitive spirit gene seems to have skipped his DNA.  It's hard to accept for me, as I grew up in a household where breakfast was a competitive sport. :)
He's not even a teenager yet.  I dread the day he has a license to drive.  I'm sure I'll hear "Mom, can you spot me $100 to fill the tank?"
I love him to death. And he loves me.  And sometimes I let him get away with manipulating me.
It's a "Mom" thing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Personal note - losing weight !!

For anyone who knows me, I've struggled with my weight since high school. I've gained and lost the same 30 lbs several times over, and it always comes back and brings friends. Well, finding myself the heaviest I've ever been, huffing and puffing to get up stairs, and having worse problems with arthritis in knees, back, and hips, it was time. My doctor has been bugging me for quite a while to trim down, but it didn't really sink in. I think the word I'm looking for is "denial." So, in October, I made a commitment to myself to loose that weight.
I joined Weight Watchers. Again.
I was pleasantly surprised at how it has changed since the last time I was on the plan. It is so easy now. And it's working.
Last night I hit a milestone. I've lost 25 lbs. It's taken 15 weeks.
(caution-shameless plug coming) In Ontario, right now signup is free until March 4. That's a good deal.
Even better, if you sign up to pay monthly, it costs approx. $20 less than paying by the week /per month. And the bonus is, monthly signup entitles you to the e-tools that are awesome! You can track your food, your activity, your weight, your inches. You can use a recipe builder to make up something out of what you have in the fridge. Best of all, you can use the recipe builder to enter your favourite recipes and calculate how to count them.
There's even a book of "Eating out" tips, that show the points for restaurant, and fast food meals. (You'll probably opt to not go once you find out how "expensive" they are in points!) With fresh fruit and most veggies being free, that hamburger doesn't look that appetizing anymore.
So, yes. I'm losing weight. No, it's not hard. Yes, I'm feeling the difference. And yes, the dog is getting more walks!
I've got a way to go. My next goal is to get down to the weight I was the day I delivered my son. Then reassess.
I can't wait to shop for clothes in a regular store, and bypass the fluffy sizes. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FNSI results

Despite several setbacks ( :O ) yesterday, I did make some significant progress on Jean's quilt. I got the FMQ done in the main body of the quilt. There still is the top section that covers the pillows, and the sashing and borders to do, but I still think I got a lot done.
The vines are fused, then stitched down. The leaves are tacked on, or floating. The floating ones are just stitched down the center, so the fold up 3D style. That allowed me to continue lines underneath the leaves!

Here's the photo of the quilt so far.

Now I get to have fun this week checking all the other entrants' blogs to see what wonderful things they worked on for FNSI.

I doubt I'll get more done on it today as my sewing students are coming this afternoon. We're going to work on their flannel pj pants. Hopefully we'll get them done and choose our next project.
ttfn. Go Sew!

A day to myself, and FNSI too. Oh, wait a minute...

So, it's Friday, and FNSI too. I have the day to myself so plan to stitch all day and evening.
Then the phone rings at 11:30 am. The school calling, please pick up DS, as he is ill.
OK, poor little guy (11). He had the flu last week, so I'm not surprised.
I pick him up and take him to the clinic to rule out strep throat - he gets that at a drop of the hat, it's negative. Diagnosis - a cold. A cold my foot. By the time we got home, he was feeling quite fine thank you. I think I've been hoodwinked.
Start bad mood here.
I did get back to my quilting, with "Mom, look at this" interrupting every few minutes. I finally told him that I was glad he was enjoying his video game but that didn't mean that he was free to interrupt MY activity every time he saw something in the game.
*yes, I was grumpy.
Continue to sew, making good progress. Had to set it aside to have supper.
Return to sewing "pile" to find cat, stretched out , sound asleep in the middle of the quilt. If it were my own quilt, not a big deal. However, this is a quilt for a client. Move cat.
Make a bathroom break, return to find said cat, quite comfortable, on the middle of the quilt. Move cat.
"Mom, can I have a snack?" (good grief, we just finished supper) "Sure son..." Return to project.... damn cat!!!!
So, I'm done for today. I don't think it would be wise to continue FMQ when I'm so p***ed off I could spit.
I'll post photos tomorrow.
No, not of the cat.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Really? I won? But......

You have to understand. I never win anything. It's to the point that I don't buy lottery tickets. Then I got an email this am. From my blog buddy Cara. She asked for my address because I had won a prize on Talkin' Tuesday !!!! Woohoot, happy dance!
You can find Cara's blog by clicking her button on the left side panel here. It will take you to her home page. Find the Talkin' Tuesday button on the side of her page and click on it. It will open you to a wonderful happening - every tuesday night.
On Talkin' Tuesday, quilters link up in a Twitter chatroom to talk about everything quilty. Cara sends out several questions over the 9 pm- 11 pm time period and everyone answers and comments on each others answers. We even have show and share :)
The best part is that Talkin' Tuesday is sponsored by some really cool companies, like the Fat Quarter Shop. Sooooooo, that's what I won. A fat quarter pak from The Fat Quarter Shop.
The only thing better than winning a prize - is winning a fabric prize.
I invite everyone to check out Talkin' Tuesday. It's a great time.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January Free Motion Quilting Challenge

This month's tutorial was on leaves. You can view the tutorial by clicking the button on the left side bar and going to the January 1 st post.
This was my practise piece. I serged the edges and it will go in the pile for the animal shelter.
I can't wait to see who presents the February tutorial, and what we'll be practising.

Cotton top, cotton batting, cotton flannel backing. Gutterman thread, top and bottom.

The photo reveal of the Tie Quilt.

Pardon the snow flakes fluttering by, but here is the long awaited picture - drum roll please- of the Neck Tie Quilt! I finished it last night, bound it and attached my label before crashing into bed with a case of the flu. My DS has been home for 3 days with it, so I guess it was only time before I got it.
The weather is not cooperating today, so the recipient has called and asked for delivery tomorrow instead of today. I'm totally fine with that. It gives me a day to pamper myself and feel better.
This is a large queen size, so I could only hold it up so far, but you get the idea. The center medallion is set down 10" to allow for tucking up under the pillows. There is a corner fan in each corner. The backing is flannel. The base fabric behind the ties is bridal satin.

Note to self. No more necktie quilts. No more queen sized quilts with flannel backing. They are just too heavy for me to tug around under the machine. I'm liking quilters cotton a lot more these days. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The end is near ..... Yay!!

The end is in sight for the necktie quilt from h**l. I did an all over feather quilting, so right now I'm just having to fill in some areas that were just a bit too big to leave open. I'm a bit concerned about the corners because the fans of ties on the corners make them quite stiff. I think it will take a while for them to drape nicely on a bed. (She may need to put the whole thing in a steam room for a week, or two, or three...)
I phoned the client yesterday and made an appointment to deliver it on Friday. Now I have a deadline. So, what did I do today?. Spent 4 hours making matching pillow shams. Bang head on wall here.
Now I'm just hoping I have enough of the fabric I want to use for binding.
I also had to make a quick trip to the Janome service store - to replace the thumb screw that holds the pressor foot on. Silly me - just because it has a slot for a screwdriver, doesn't mean you're supposed to use a screwdriver to tighten it (so the clerk said.) Well, I don't like wobbly feet, and if I finger tighten it, it domes loose, so I AM going to continue to use my trusty stubby screwdriver. I just won't reef on it quite so hard :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Not enjoying this project !!

I've been working on a quilt made of neckties. I took on this project because it seemed interesting, and I'd never made one before, and let's face it, I'd be paid for making it.
Will I ever take on a necktie quilt again? Not on your life.
Just two words = silk, bias.
The silk ties are all different textures and thicknesses, and I had to take them all apart to take out the interfacing inside.
And - all ties are cut on the bias !! What was I thinking?
I have the top all assembled, and this afternoon I sandwiched it. Did I mention the client wants the backing to be flannel? This quilt weighs a TON.
I couldn't wait to get stitching on it, so I started stitching the straight line sitiching between each tie, which makes a wedge on the center medallion.
One seam started to buckle, so I unstitched it. When I saw the back ---- URGH!!!!
There were several huge folds in the flannel backing. How they got there I don't know - I did stretch the backing before sandwiching = honest!
So, I spent twice as much time unstitching, as I did stitching today.
I am so not in love with this project. I am seriously looking forward to it being done.
I'm going to need some fabric therapy, maybe even a stash-enhancing-exercise trip!