Thursday, December 17, 2009

While Visions of Dingos Danced in Their Heads

If you have a dog I'm sure you're well aware of dingos. Little gray dog has already put in his order with santa (his grammy in maine, shh don't tell he still believes) for a bag or two.

Here's a shot of the tree this year. The theme is blue and silver. Little gray dog decided he (as always) needed to be the center of attention (even if he was asleep). Patrick the cat also decided to take part in the photo shoot. Don't mind the lack of tree skirt, the dog drinks the tree water and I decided putting presents under the tree wasn't a great idea, unless we wanted dog drool all over them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Long Time No Post

Where have I been...Well I've recently discovered coupon shopping and I have to admit that I'm hooked. Hooked is probably an understatement. A good friend of mine sent me a video clip about a woman in Massachusetts who buys thousands of dollars of groceries for only pennies. After watching I did a little research and discovered that there are tons of bloggers out there explaining step by step how to save money. I got so engrossed in my coupon shopping that I literally haven't done anything else for about a month. It's like crack, in credit card form (but luckily you're never spending much). For the month of November I spent about $93.53 (minus rebates and rewards that I have left to spend next month) and bought everything in the photos below (over $900.00 worth of product). Now I have a ton of stuff to give away for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers (let's just say that everyone and their brother is getting a razor set this Christmas).

On a crafty note I did finish my bella mittens and my knitty cabled hat and will post those photos later today or tomorrow. Sorry for the long absence. I frequently get obsessed with things (be it crafts, or coupon shopping) and lose track of time.


Monday, November 2, 2009

"The Squirrels Will Never Recognize Me Now!"

Said the little gray dog to E and I while we were walking him around on Howl-o-ween. His costume was actually a 3 month old baby costume that I picked up the night before Halloween and altered to fit him. It was a little beat up and missing eyes so I asked the manager for 1/2 off, he agreed and I only ended up paying $7 bucks.

I had the buttons on hand and used his lands end fleece jacket to measure fit. I think he was horribly embarrassed, but everyone else thought he was really cute. I thought the costume was especially appropriate since I'm originally from Maine. I thought about tying a sign around his neck that said Maine or Bust and sending a photo to my parents, but got sidetracked. Do I see a Christmas card in the works?...Am I turning into one of those people? EkkYes, even the kitties wanted to get in on the "action".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Goodies

This weekend I was cleaning when E took the little gray dog for his morning walk. He returned later with this adorable little quilt. It's all hand quilted and the woman selling it told E that it was made by her mother. It always amazes me that people can give away/sell handmade gifts. Perhaps it wasn't her style, but I guess I'm too much of a packrat and/or too sentimental to give away something that was made specifically for me. I often find myself purchasing handmade items (quilts, afghans etc) at thrift shops and garage sales even if their color scheme isn't my taste.
Maybe I'm crazy (ok I know I'm crazy), but I know how much time and love when into making them and I'd hate to think they'd get sent to the dump. So to save them from an uncertain fate...they come to my house, which is exactly why I need a bigger place. Something with a space for my craft workshop, so I can finally hang all of these "misfits". I'm not sure exactly what I will do with it yet, since I don't have a studio, but I'm happy to have it.
Here's a kona color card that I received in the mail from Karen. Her etsy shop North Country Quilts is here. She has a great selection of moda's precuts, some beautiful batiks, and a large selection of kona cotton solids. Now that I have the color card it will be much easier to purchase online and know the the "tangerine" I ordered from Hancock fabrics is WAY too bright to use on the front of the Halloween wall hanging that may or may not be finished in time for Halloween.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Take This Job and Shove It!

Let's just say that my week was absolutely miserable. The job I started Monday turned out to be a NIGHTMARE. The people (who only spoke Hebrew because they knew I couldn't understand what they were saying), the work itself (which was nothing related to HR, which was the job I was hired to do), and the office itself (which didn't even have a bathroom...think using a key for a public restroom in the hall. I was basically treated like a secretary/personal assistant to 15 people (which would be fine if the pay was much more and that was explained to me in the beginning). I should have known when I asked for a job description and there wasn't one, or when I realized they didn't ask me for references, or perhaps when I was offered the position an hour after interviewing (I guess I just thought "man they must recognize how uber talented I am and want to scoop me up"). Which of course is probably true in some respects since the job was so encompassing and complicated that they would need to hire 5 different people to handle all the crap they were delegating. But enough of's all in the past. For the first time in my life and very happily I must confess, I resigned from a job (and after only 5 days).

In happier news, I took my licensing exam on Saturday and I PASSED!! woo hoo. Now I can officially add LMSW to my name. I wasn't planning on taking the exam since my major was social enterprise not clinical, but I think in this economy having another credential can't hurt, right?

So here's what I've been working on this week. Bella's mittens by subliminalrabbit. I found the pattern on ravelry and immediately fell in love. I have to admit I don't know anything about the Twilight movie they were inspired by, but I really love how quick they work up and how professional they look. I don't know how long the first one took since I didn't know very much over the week, but the second one is working up much faster. I always save the thumbs for last, I guess that's because it's the part I like the least, well that and weaving in ends.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One of These Things is Not like the Others

Ok none of these these are like each other...In a logical time progression order, I give to you my weekend.

Banana Bread bought at a rest stop in upstate New York, delicious and moist, yum!
Artichokes (deep fried with blue cheese and buffalo dipping sauce and sauteed in garlic and butter with parmesan cheese) I waited in line for an hour and 20 minutes to get these delicious treats. Luckily there were some friendly ladies also enjoying the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival who kept me company. Shout out to Loraine if she's reading, and no my shih tzu is not a humper:)
Here are a few sheep at the sheep and wool festival. I wanted to take one home but had a strange suspicion my little gray dog wouldn't like them very much. He already has to show the kitties who's boss and doesn't need any more competition for mama's love.

And...a kangaroo! I saw kangaroo's last year at the festival and one of them had a joey, it was the most adorable thing I've ever seen. The owner of the kangaroo told me all about joeys and her farm last year, it was fascinating.
And on Sunday's trip to Fiesta Grill we drove by this adorable little hair salon selling...Doobies? was right next to a police precinct so your guess is as good as mine. If anyone knows what a doobie is please please write me, I'm dying to know.
That's all for today. It was a long first day at the office, but I'm so thankful to have a job.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival

So I've been looking at all the beautiful quilts listed on Park City Girl's Blogger's Quilt Festival for a few days now and just noticed that the deadline to take part in the festival is tomorrow. So without further ado... I give to you Mardi Gras
The pattern was based on bento box by Tracey Brookshire. I didn't actually have the pattern so I just made up my own measurements. I purchased all of the batiks for 40-50% off at a local quilt store when I was living in Boston. At first I wasn't really sure I liked them, but when I was finished I was really pleased with the result. Normally I would choose a much more subdued color palate, but I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone a little to make this quilt. It was my second "bed-size" quilt and was quilted on a long-arm machine by Debbie Allen in Utah. The quilting was done using an all over pano and variegated thread (the last photo shows the detail the best). When I first put the photos of this quilt on flickr another quilter said I should name it Mardi Gras because of all the bright colors, at the time it was unnamed, so the name stuck.

A big thank you to Amy for hosting such a wonderful festival. With so many talented and inspirational quilters, I look forward to looking through each of the entries.


Ask and Ye Shall Receive...Good News and Finished Projects

Finally, finally I have a job! Woo hoo I'm so thrilled to be among the gainfully employed again. I received an offer yesterday from a financial consulting company to be their Administrative and Human Resources Manager. I start Monday and I'm very excited about the possibilities.

Here are a couple of projects I've been working on. The first one you'll remember from a few months ago. I couldn't get a decent photo in color so here's one in black and white:
Pattern: Telemark Pullover by Erika Flory-a pdf can be found on ravelry for free! Modifications: Made the collar and arm and waist bands in seed stitch. Made the sweater short sleeve instead of long. It sort of reminds me of a polo shirt.
Cotton Fleece in a chocolate brown colorway
Size 8
I love how quick this knit up (despite the fact I put off the sleeves for months). It's a well written pattern and makes an adorable little sweater. I would say it runs a bit small though so I would recommend making at least one pattern size larger then you normally would need.

And a candle mat I made for my grandmother for Christmas

Pattern: Inspired by a pattern by Barri Sue Gaudet
Modifications: I didn't actually have the pattern, just saw one and decided to buy the materials to make one using my own guesstimates about how big the berries and flowers should be.
Wool Felt and embroidery floss
Other:I'm really pleased with how cute this came out. I think my grandma will really like this since her whole kitchen is strawberry themed. It took forever to stitch around every little piece, but it was a good project to do listening to tv on the couch.

Off to clean up the apartment a little, since next week I'll be working:)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

I won! I won!

So today I sat on the couch for most of the day sort of feeling bad for myself. I'm getting frustrated since I still haven't had any luck in my job search. I know the economy is bad and yada yada, but I guess I was sort of hoping all the money Obama promised would go to social services would add some jobs in my field. I'm sitting on the couch pouting and all of the sudden I notice my phone is e-mail... a slight glimmer of hope that perhaps an employer is contacting me to set up an interview, but no...even BETTER!

I won Karen's give away. I've been reading her blog for a while and admiring her "Dear Jane" quilt, so I decided that it couldn't hurt to enter, just in case. I'm not usually one to win contests or giveaways, so this is indeed a pleasant surprise, and perhaps a sign that things are going to get better. So, here's a shout out to any hiring managers in the greater NYC area who might be reading and have an job opening for me (who knows, maybe I'm on a lucky streak, right?)

And a BIG thanks to Karen for making my day!! Stop by her blog and check out her projects, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Christmas Quilt is Complete!

Overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I love the red and white combination and I was able to use up a bunch of fabric from my stash. The only think I needed to buy was the backing (Kona Cotton:Snow). Luckily I saw a post from a fellow craftster member who mentioned that Hancock Fabrics was having a huge sale on Kona Cotton (52% off to be exact). I purchased 10 yards of snow and a few yards of other colors to make use of this wonderful bargain. Unfortunately they were out of many popular colors (which I didn't find out until I placed my order and got a call from customer service ugg). What I really need is a color card so that I know what I'm buying and don't have to guess what papaya "really" looks like. The shipping took a long time too, but I guess for 52% off I should stop complaining. I only wish there were a Hancock fabrics closer than 150 miles away.

I didn't use a pattern for this quilt, but was inspired by this quilt that I saw on flickr (of course). The stars are just 5 inch squares cut into triangles and arranged accordingly.

All of the quilting was done on my juki using a walking food and straight lines. I used Signature cotton quilting thread in a variegated red/pink colorway. The stitches aren't as perfect as I'd like, but it wasn't too bad for my first try at more "complicated" quilting i.e. I didn't just use painters tape this time to make a grid. Batting of course is warm and natural, for that well worn crinkly look. Binding was a bit smaller (2.25")then I usually make since this is a smaller size quilt. I actually rather like the 2.25" and might start using it on all my quilts.

I haven't made a label yet (I know I said I'd be better about this...bad bad i know). I was so anxious to get it binded and in the washing machine I couldn't force myself to make up a label.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Snow Mum Finished

I've been wanting to make one of these for so long and even had the materials but for some reason couldn't get the motivation. So finally here it is finished and I think it's rather cute. Simple and Elegant at the same time. The pattern was really easy to follow and I only made a few substitutions.

Pattern: Amy Butler Snow Mum Pillow

Fabric Used: White Wool Felt Bought at Joann's with a 40% off coupon (wool felt is really expensive, I'd recommend saving your coupon)

Notions Used: WonderUnder, Interfacing and a button and embroidery floss from my stash.

Pattern Alterations: Used 16″ instead of 18″ pillow and needed to add several petals to the second and third "rings". Otherwise exactly as written.

Patrick gives it his Himalayan seal of approval (where's my lint roller?)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fabric Baskets and Snow Mum

I've been wanting to make one of these since I saw them a week ago on flickr. I used a great tutorial by Pink Penguin that can be found here. I adapted the size a little to make mine larger. The blue print is Bohemian Rhapsody by Blue Meadow Designs RJR fabrics and the brown used for the bottom and lining is scraps from a new brown flat sheet that I had from another project (oh the joy I get from up-cycling). I might make a few of these for Christmas gifts. All total with the cutting and sewing it probably only took me an hour and a half to make. They would be a nice little gift with a bottle of wine tucked in, or maybe coloring books and crayons for little ones.
I also started making the Snow Mum pillow (Free pattern from Amy Bulter) that I've been wanting to make for forever. It's a little tedious with all the cutting (in fact I had to stop several times because my thumb was going numb), but I think it's going to be really pretty when it's finished. I'm using 100% wool felt in a snowy white color.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Apologies in Advance

A- the terrible photography of these gorgeous quilts
B- not having written down the titles of the quilts and names of the quilt makers
C- the horrible lighting in the auditorium (this one wasn't my fault, thankfully)

So as promised here are a few of the many photos I took at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza.

The last two I believe were made based on patterns from Kaffe Fassett's books. I wish I could have taken a photo of every quilt there, such inspiration!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Two down-Many to Go

Here's Jack's Finished quilt. I quilted this one in a two inch diamond pattern. The quilting is a little heavier than I did on Quinn's quilt and I really like how it turned out. I also used green cotton fabric scrap for the embroidered label and I like how it stands out a little more on the backing fabric. I'm glad to have them both finished and feel quite accomplished.
This weekend E and I went to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. It was really amazing and the quilts there were absolutely gorgeous. I took a bunch of photos that I'll upload in the next couple of days. Now I have so many ideas for new quilts I want to start, I hardly know where to begin. I bought some beautiful batiks and some wool felt that I plan on making into a strawberry candle mat for my grandmum. I also saw some fancy longarms which was pretty neat. When I have an extra 15-30k lying around I know where I can put it to good use.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Does it Take Me So Long to Take photos?

Probably the same reason it takes me 2 months to sew buttons on an otherwise completed sweater. I finish the body and see what the sweater will look like and then the excitement is over. I make the first mitten or the first quilt block or figure out that complicated lace pattern and then I lose my attention span. One sock syndrome a fellow knitter once called it.

In any case they are finally finished (buttons and all). All 100% wool and all top down raglan variations. I'm pretty sure they were all done on size 8 needles. The last one with toggles was wool purchased by my dad when he was in Ireland. You would think there would be wool everywhere in Ireland given it is a country known for its farms and sheep, but apparently my he had a horrible time finding yarn. France was also a difficult place to find yarn he tells me.

Whenever he travels I ask him to bring back local yarn or fabric. It doesn't quite make up for the fact that he's traveling while I'm living the life of an impoverished grad student (even though I graduated in May and it's now almost halfway through September), but it is better than a crappy t-shirt or little knick nacks I'll never use.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quinnie Done, Jack to Go!

This afternoon I finished up Quinnie Boo's quilt. I ever hand embroidered a little label to go on the back (this is the first quilt I've ever labeled, that's horrible, I know!). Sadly, if I had known how terribly simple it is to whip up one of this little labels I would have done it long ago. I just used a scrap of off white cotton and some red embroidery floss. I wrote the words on with a crayola washable marker and followed the lines.

The solid colored cottons are mostly Quilter's only cotton from Joanns and were scraps from previous projects. Some of the prints I used (in various colorways) include: Henry Glass Gardenia by Linda Lum Debono, Dots by Cranston Village, Maywood Studio Bee's Knees by Glenna Hailey, Peas and Carrots American Jane patterns by Sandy Klop and a few other 100% cotton polka dots and prints of unknown origins.
The batting is 80% cotton 20% poly. I typically use 100% cotton by warm and natural, but wanted to try something different to experiment with shrinkage. I love that wrinkly look on most of my quilts but would also like to find something that doesn't shrink for some of my bigger bed quilts. Wool perhaps?

Backing is a precut 100% cotton Ikea print with various zoo animals that I've had in my stash for a while. The one large piece was big enough to be the backing for both baby quilts and If I remember correctly I bought it for under 10 bucks, what a steal!

Quilting was done in straight lines with my walking food. This is the first quilt I've quilted with my new Juki and I am thrilled with the quality of the stitching. Now I just have to quilt and bind Jack's quilt and I can cross two Christmas gifts off my list (and it's only Mid-September). Maybe this terrible economy and lack of jobs does have some perks afterall :)