Monday, January 27, 2014

Random Notions – Readin’ and Sewin’

A word of advice – be careful what you wish for!  If you stopped by last time, you know that I said I was a little disappointed that my classes weren’t a bit busier.  All I can say is I am glad I was able to waive one class I was going to take so I only have two.  This grad school thing is not easy.  My hat is off to everyone that has managed to get through it successfully.  I think what is really getting to me is the amount of assigned reading – textbooks tend to be such boring reading.

It has not been easy, but I have found a minute or two to sew in the last couple of weeks.  I tore the tropical birds into strips and lined them up as best I could – that was not easy to do.  But I got four 10” squares out of it, which I cut each square into 4 pieces, half diagonally and the other half straight across – and got 16 blocks out of it all.  When sewn together, the blocks averaged out to 9 ¼” but I cut them all down to 8 ½” – this is going to be a wall hanging and I thought that 8” finished would be a better size.  And here is what they all look like-
The blocks have been up on the wall for at least a week – I have been trying to lay them out so the color balances.  I have even been looking at them in the middle of the night trying to decide – in the dark, I can’t see the colors, just the light and dark, so I think that has helped a bit.  It is more difficult than it sounds because I am trying to alternate between the diagonally sewn and the straight up and down sewn versions.  The picture above is the current configuration and I may just go with that.  Now I have to decide what to put between them.  I just don’t know what color to go with – black, green, orange, red, or yellow.  I don’t think I want black, so I may have to go with a dark green. And by the time I decide that, I could possibly have moved the blocks around more.

My good friend Rebecca turned me onto a couple of awesome sites for embroidery machine designs the other day – and I just love Embroidery Library Inc.  Unlike many other sites I found when I first got my embroidery machine, this one actually has free designs that are really nice.  They also do not charge an arm and a leg for their designs.  When I signed up for their newsletter, they sent me a welcome email that had a 50% your first order coupon.  I have been looking for some nice peacock designs, which are way too expensive everywhere, but at this site, I got a nice set of 7 (one full bird and 6 border type designs) for $5 with the coupon.  If you have an embroidery machine and haven’t been there yet, I suggest you visit.  Another nice site Rebecca sent me to is  Weird name, but they have a lot of cute free designs. And what I really like on both sites - you can actually buy one design out of a set at a reasonable price – I have seen so many sets that I liked just one design, but you had to buy the entire set for $20 or $30, so this is really nice.

Anyway, I pulled out the embroidery unit for the machine – I had been using the machine just to sew the tropical birds blocks together – and then had to rack my brain to remember how to use it because it has been about 6 months since I had it close enough to the computer to use it!  I was happy I didn’t have to pull out the manual.
 The only problem I had was I really didn’t hit the mark with the colors of thread I was pulling out, but it came out kind of pretty-
The design is approximately 6” by 2 ½” and I am going to use it to make an eyeglass case.  I forgot to mention that, after about 7 years of the same old glasses, I finally got some new ones and I can now see much better.  I need something to put them in, instead of the ugly old black cases the vision center gave me.

I also got some really nice dragon designs at Embroidery Library that I want to try to put on a shirt or something else wearable.  Just need to find some time to get to that.

Okay, I’m off to try to get more reading done.  Please send good thoughts my way to get me through it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Random Notions – Containing Stuff

Here it is already the 12th.  I had hoped to get back here before the month got into double digits, but oh well.  For almost two weeks, I haven’t sewn anything, because I haven’t been able to decide what to sew.  My next color study will be green, but I’m just not feeling the green right now.  I wasn’t feeling the paper piecing even though it is something I really want to do. My classes have started again and I thought I would be really busy and I haven’t been – I’m actually disappointed about that.

So I have been attempting to organize some little bits of stuff that are spread across my sewing table.  I have always had a love of containers, but lately I am really loving jars – like mason jars.  When I was in a Goodwill not long ago, I found these-
A few days ago, I found these awesome acrylic containers-
and these cute plastic paint cans-
Today I was in the 99¢ store and found these-
Aren’t they lovely?  I love the colors.  I’m sure I have many more than I need now, but better safe than sorry, right?  I think I have enough to put everything in a place.

Yesterday I made my first trip to Joanne’s in more than a couple of months.  I have been really good about not buying fabric, with the exception of a fat quarter or remnant here or there.  As I walked about, I found my next wall hanging fabric-
This just screamed out to me.  Whenever I see a large print like this now, all I can think of is kaleidoscope or stack ‘n’ whack blocks.  I can’t wait to get it washed up and ironed so I can start cutting into it!  Since making my first kaleidoscope quilt, I find I’m not afraid to cut into beautiful fabric anymore.  This is going to make some awesome blocks.

I hope the month has started out well for you.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Random Notions – Day 1 of a New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope everyone rang in the New Year in a safe and fun manner.  I was asleep until I heard the neighbors setting off fireworks, and then the fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip.   I could have looked out one of the bedroom windows to see the fireworks, but I was way too warm and snuggly in my bed, so I turned on the TV to watch instead.  I couldn’t even get through the entire show – I was so tired, I turned it off and went back to sleep. 

So today, I worked on The Rainbow Project, this time A Study in Yellow.  Finding yellows did not prove easy – just like the red, I seem to stick to certain shades of each color.  I must have just lucked out when I made the orange one.  I had to use some fabrics that had a bit of other colors on them, and I had to pull out some things that leaned toward gold/brown.  I honestly didn’t care for them as I put them together-
-but I continued forward, as I know they always look different when all put together.  Then came the problem of finding something purple or lavender, preferably with a bit of yellow in it, and I could find nothing!  (If you ever saw just how much fabric I have, you would say that was impossible!)  I finally had to settle on some purple from one of the baby quilts I made last year-
I switched up the order from the picture above to figure out where to put the purple, and this was the final result-
I tried to space out the darker fabrics this time, because I figured yellows would be like rays of light.  It came out better than I expected with those fabrics.  That’s the beauty of this pattern – nothing ever looks exactly like what you think it will.  The complete title of this wall hanging is A Study in Yellow – Lightning Strike.  Still need a sub-title for the red.

In the next couple of days, I will try to embellish these quilts with some fancy threads, cords, and trims.  Well, I will try doing one and see if I can make it look not too bad.  Other than that, I think I am going to embark on some paper pieced blocks – just some random stuff to get better at the paper piecing.

Okay, getting late.  Have a super New Year!