Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh the Frustration

My new singer 7470 arrived today and I am terribly disappointed. After many days of anxious waiting, the UPS man finally delivered my new machine. I promptly took it out of the box and noticed that the instruction manual was missing. That should have been my first indicator that things were not going to go as planned. I searched online and found the manual, but had to wait for E to bring it home from his work because there was no way I was printing 100+ pages (1/3 of which were in languages I can read) on my little home printer. When the downloaded manual arrived I immediately read it cover to cover and proceeded to begin winding my first bobbin when...disaster!!

I threaded the machine exactly as described in the instruction manual (and the same way I've threaded my old singer for years) and held the thread when I begin. Everything seemed easy as pie as I gently stepped on the foot control and waited for my bobbin to wind. Two seconds and about two rotations into "winding the bobbin" my new baby threw a fit. The machine beeped and the lcd screen went blank. I turned the machine off, re-threaded and re-read the instructions to make sure I was doing everything correctly, probably just a user error, right? WRONG! I can turn the machine off and turn it on again and the same thing happens (one or two rotations then the beep and the machine stops spinning the bobbin). I've looked everywhere on the internet, wrote both Singer and the company I purchased from and posted a "Please god help me" post on craftster in hopes that someone knows what I'm doing wrong. I'd like to think that someone else has experienced this and that it's just a little thing that I'm doing wrong, unfortunately I have a sad feeling that this is a computer problem and that I'm going to have to send the machine back. I'm trying to stay positive, but two weeks without my machine is just about enough to put me over the edge. I've already decided that if I have to send this puppy back I'm throwing caution (and good financial sense) to the wind and purchasing a Juki TL98 QE. I've heard nothing but good things about Jukis and I really don't need any of the fancy stitches or bells and whistles found on my machines these days.

Luckily tomorrow I'm headed up to Boston for the weekend for M's wedding so I'll have a little time to relax and cool off. I plan on working on my Telemark sweater which is taking me quite a bit longer then I anticipated. It's amazing the difference in how quickly fabric works up on a size 6 vs. size 8 needle. Yesterday I sewed the buttons on my orange baby raglan, so photos of that will be forthcoming.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Heirloom Tomatoes

When I saw these beautiful tomatoes (I wish I could have taken a better photo, they are so vibrant in real life) at Fairway I just had to buy them. Sure they were a little more costly then the regular tomatoes, but they were just so pretty I had to buy them. I think they will be part of dinner tonight. My usual summer salad consists of tomatoes and avocados cut up in chunks with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. With fresh yummy ingredients you don't really need anything else. Sometimes I serve with hot french bread and some feta cheese, but most of the time I just eat it out of the bowl.
And here's a little sneak peak of my next soon as my Singer 7470 arrives. I ordered from an online vendor last Friday and am anxiously waiting for the UPS man to ring my bell. I'm hoping it will arrive before I leave for Boston on Thursday for my dear friend M's wedding.

And lastly, here's a photo of the Telemark Sweater that I started on Saturday. I'm using Cotton Fleece yarn by the Brown Sheep Company. It's an 80%cotton 20% wool blend and I really love the stitch definition that it gets. I'm working on a size 6 needle which is one size larger then the pattern recommends. When finished it will be 12months size. So far it's working up pretty quickly and the pattern is really clearly written.

Back soothing the little gray dog. These thunderstorms make the poor little bugger shake like a leaf.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


Finally a hot and sunny Saturday and a warm but breezy Saturday night. Perfect for wandering the streets of Hoboken eating rice balls, drinking beer and listening to Frankie Valley impersonators (one said his name was Bobby Valley, "Frankie's brother", but with all of the lying and corruption in NJ, you can never tell who's telling the truth, right?) at the Saint Ann's Feast.But my very favorite part of the night guessed it Zeppoles. Made by the lovely ladies of Saint Ann’s Guild, we waited in line almost a half hour to get our paper bag of deep fried, sugary goodness.

Amazingly the average age of the women cooking these yummy heart attacks in a bag had to be 75 years old. I couldn't help myself from taking this photo of a lady dropping handfuls of batter into the boiling oil.They were like a little factory, dropping batter in, flipping, and pulling them out golden brown, a quick drop into a paper bag, a heaping spoonful of powdered sugar, 8 dollars please, next!

Oh how I love Feasts, Festivals, and Deep Fried goodness!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Broken Singer= Knitting Progress

Finally got the sleeves on my orange baby raglan, now I just have to sew up the underarms and put on some buttons. Candy Cane Lane is coming along well too. I'm debating doing a little cap sleeve instead of full length sleeves. I've never left a sweater with short sleeves but I think it could be really cute. Only problem is a short sleeve sweater seems rather feminine and since I don't know who will be the recipient I'm a little nervous to limit it's gift-a-bility.

In other news, Inspired by all the beautiful and artistic shots on flickr, I need to learn how to properly use my camera. I've noticed that all of shots I've been posting are terribly dark. The outside shots are clear and bright, but anything shot in my apartment is SO dark. I have to admit I haven't read the instruction manual yet (despite the fact I've had the camera since February, sad I know), maybe that will help.

Off to find my manual


Thursday, July 23, 2009

All the Free Time in the World

And this is what happens to me...

A terribly broken sewing machine completely torn apart that I can't seem to fix. Everyone I know keeps telling me to just go out and buy another one but in the back of my head I can't help but think that it's a bad idea to make a big purchase when I'm not working. Of course I try to stay optimistic that a job will come soon, but you never know in this economy how long it will take. I was telling a fellow masters grad the other day how frustrating this process is and he sent me this text message, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain". I think that means buy a new machine right?? I'm considering the Singer 7470 and the Singer 7469q. The 7470 has good reviews in consumer reports and seems to have a lot of options that would be nice upgrades. I've never worked on a computerized machine before so I don't know much about it, but am excited to learn.

My lovely mother told me to purchase a machine and put it on her credit card. Amusingly enough, my first machine (the one I'm currently using, or was using until it broke) was a Christmas gift from my her the year after I graduated from college. When I told her I wanted a sewing machine as my "big gift" she laughed and said ok, but asked several times if I was sure. "You'll never use it" was what she meant but never really fessed up to until recently. Well after 4 years she's changed her tune quite a bit hasn't she?
I think this cute little charm quilt made from Heather Bailey's beautiful Freshcut line might have put her over the edge:)

Off to read more sewing machine reviews


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dreary Tuesday

What a gray day here in the Tri-State area. Even the little gray dog didn't want to go out for his morning walk. Since my sewing machine seems to have bitten the dust I've been spending my time looking at sewing machine reviews, checking craftster (for more projects I shouldn't begin before I finish all of my current projects), and uploading old photos to my new flickr page.

I recently finished making my first adult size pattern. It's view A from Simplicity 4589. Although there were a few bumps along the way (user inexperience), I found the pattern easy to make. I used a moss green linen/rayon blend that I got a Jo-Anns half off. I washed and dried the fabric before beginning and made a size 12 based on the envelope's bust recommendations. Unfortunately the top was much too wide, even for a chesty girl like myself. I ended up taking in about 3 inches total from both sizes of the top, but when I finally finished and tried it on it ended up looking like a maternity top.

Although I love the way it looks on the hanger and on my mother who ended up taking the top off my hands, I wouldn't recommend this top for anyone with a large chest and I would also encourage you to add a couple of inches to the bottom since it wears slightly shorter then I would prefer (but that's my personal preference). Overall an easy pattern that sews up quickly.

Off to walk my sleepy dog in the rain


Monday, July 20, 2009

A Week With Mom

This past week my mom was in town visiting. Since she's a school teacher she has summers off and I convinced her to return to New York with me. We spent the week indulging in some of my favorites including Fondue, Pommes Frites, and delicious chocolaty goodness at Max Brenner's. Below is a photo of our fries complete with wasabi mayo, blue cheese and Parmesan dipping sauces, YUM!

We spent Friday afternoon at the Central Park Zoo

Monkey Butt:)

We also managed to do a little shopping at Borders in the Time Warner Center. My mom bought Kate Jacobs' new book and we're going to do a swap when she's finished reading. Knit Two will be sent to Maine and Comfort Food will be sent to New York. I loved the first two books so I'm eagerly anticipating Comfort Food. Doesn't the cover just make you want want whip up a batch of cupcakes? Or better yet eat a batch of batter? Not much crafting happened during mom's visit, but I did finish the body of Candy Cane Lane and will probably start the sleeves tomorrow. My sewing machine decided to break this afternoon (top knob will not turn) so it's sitting in about 10 pieces on my kitchen table while I try to figure out what the problem is. I'm thinking it has something to do with the belt. I was just sewing along on the Old Red Barn quilt and the needle motion got slower and slower and then stopped and I couldn't manually turn the knob anymore. I was thinking it was some thread caught up under the foot, but I cleaned out under the needle plate and it was clean (there was no caught thread is probably more accurate). I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to fix it myself. This poor machine has been a work horse for the last 4 years (not bad for a hundred dollar machine) and although I'd love to splurge on a new one, my better judgment says I should wait until I find a job. Crossing my fingers this will be a quick and easy fix.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back in Civilization

Well, we made it back from Vacationland, and as you can tell the little gray dog was pretty relaxed. He loves being outside and especially loved that my parents live right on a pond and far away from neighbors. This means he didn't have the wear his leash and was free to roam around (or just lounge in "frog dog" position, see below).

but there wasn't much crafting done, unless you count fabric purchasing as progress. Although I'm trying to craft exclusively from my stash I couldn't help purchasing about 25 half yards of fabric when I was in Maine. There's a fabulous chain store in Maine (at various locations) called Marden's Surplus that sells designer fabrics, hardwood floors, and weird scents of Windex at unbelievable prices. When searching for an explaination of Marden's for those of you who are unfamiliar, I was totally shocked to see that they have a flyer and even a website. According to the site they buy lots of "stuff" from stores that are going out of business or that can't sell their products, which passes on wonderful buys for fabric lovers like me. Last time I was at Marden's I picked up 13 half yards of Lonni Rossi's "Cultivated Cottons" line by Andover for $2.99 a yard. I haven't used them yet as I am trying to think about a perfect project for them. This time I picked up a ton of civil war prints and some 1930's and feedsack reproductions. Photos to come as soon as I can locate my photo cord.

I also picked up some of my stash at my parent's house. I didn't take all of my crafting supplies to New York when I moved to my tiny apartment for graduate school. Not only did I not have enough space to store my piles of fabric and yard, but I also didn't have enough time or energy to begin many new projects. Now that I'm out of school (and work) I have plenty of time to craft and have taken on far too many projects.

Speaking of UFO, this morning I began working on a baby raglan that I think I will call "Candy Cane Lane". I'm using up some Red and Cream Paton's wool. Next I'll have to find a use for the rest of the paton's wool in my stash. I guess I kept finding in on sale and couldn't resist. Right now I have about 10 skeins in various colors. I'm thinking of giving these fiber trends clogs a try.


Friday, July 10, 2009

One Morning in Maine

This adorable little book with wonderful illustrations use to be one of my favorite books as a child. As E, the little gray dog and I head off this weekend for two mornings in Maine I am excited to indulge in some of my favorites...lobster, family, and hours of lounging in the boat and on my parents' deck.

I will be taking along a raglan baby sweater that I've been working on. The pattern (by Rindy Carpenter) is really simple and I've made 3-4 of these in different variations. I'm not sure yet if this one is going to charity or if I'll keep it for my gift box. I like to keep a few simple baby sweaters on hand just in case someone I know is expecting and I don't have time to whip something up. I was caught off guard several times last year (thanks to both of my sisters) and between papers and classes really didn't have time to make the gifts I would have liked to.

The sweater is made of paton's classic wool on size 8 needles. I did a moss stitch border at the bottom last night because I like it better than the rib that the pattern called for. Other than that the sweater is worked up exactly as the pattern is written. I just need to make the sleeves and sew on some buttons. I already have some cute little wooden buttons that I picked up a Joanns for half price. I might do short sleeves cap sleeves, but haven't decided yet, so we'll see how the mood hits me when I start.

Off to the Pine Tree State!


Thursday, July 9, 2009


So here I am in blogland. After several years of lurking and reading a number of inspirational craft blogs I decided that I will give into the madness and start my own. Most of my posts will be about the projects that I'm working on with a little bit of my little gray dog mixed in.

Here's what I've been working on this week...In no particular order. The Old Red Barn Quilt-A-Long quilt. I came across this cute and easy pattern when I was searching imagines on flickr and immediately knew it would be a perfect project to use up some of my growing stash. Here's a photo of where I am so far. I'm using an assortment of 100% cotton fabrics in a variety of neutral tones. I decided to make the strips 3 inches instead of 2.5" which gives me a 15" completed block. I plan to make the quilt for a full/queen sized bed, so I estimate I'll need four blocks across for the width and five blocks down for the length. So far I have 15 complete and I plan on finishing up the remaining blocks this afternoon.

My second project for this week was embroidered onesies.
I've seen them everywhere on Etsy and finally decided to give one a go. I had some left over pink denim from a pair of baby pants that I made a few months back and decided that I would use that for the body of the owl. The other pieces are all scraps from my stash. I used an excellent tutorial that I found here on Sew, Mama, Sew! Overall the process was pretty easy, except for when I got frustrated that the owl body wouldn't fuse to the onsie (and then realized I hadn't taken off the backing paper), crisis averted. I'm a little worried that the beak portion might lift as it's not stitched, I might add a drop of fray guard just in case. The stitching is horribly uneven, but for a first attempt I won't beat myself up too much. Like everything it will get easier with practice.

And my last project (as of last night) was to give the little gray dog a trim. Inspired by several wonderful tutorial videos from via Spanielmom93 I purchased a pair of Andis clippers on E-bay and started clipping. It seemed easy enough, just go slow and be careful right? My poor baby looks like a rat. The body isn't so bad, but the feet are pitiful. It was like the first time you pluck your eyebrows as a teen...I'll just clean them up a bit and several hours later you end up in tears with no eyebrows left. Thank goodness he's a dog and not a child or I think I would have thousands of dollars worth of therapist's bills on my hands. I keep telling him how cute he looks, but I think he sees right through that.

Before photo on left- After on right
...notice he's hiding his feet and won't look at me.

Well that's all for now, Thanks for reading my first post!