Sunday, September 26, 2010

Putting things in perspective

I spent most of this weekend seething, crying, and generally feeling sorry for my poor self.  I posted about the hassle with the car last Thursday.  Friday the saga continued as I dropped the car off at the auto body shop and picked up a rental car.  It was raining.  It was hot.  I'm so tired of hot and humid.

Friday night I was on the computer and all of a sudden I get a "Microsoft Security Essentials Alert" pop up telling me I have a Unknown Win32 trojan virus.  I couldn't do anything.  No internet.  No Task Manager.  I was livid - seething - so mad all I could do is cry.  I stayed up until after midnight fussing with the computer to no avail.

Saturday morning I machine sewed the binding on the second Slide Show quilt and headed over to my best friend and quilting buddy's house and spent most of the day over there doing the hand sewing.  We had a nice time, but I was weepy while I was over there and when my mother called I was short and snappy (in a bad way).

This morning I was wondering if I needed some medication for depression.  I finished hand sewing the binding on the quilt, but couldn't get the computer virus taken care of, so I was still weepy and angry.  Finally, I turned off the stereo because it was irritating me, sat down on the couch, and took a couple of deep breaths.  Then it dawned on me - I got perspective. 

First of all, the car and the computer are not essential for survival - in reality, they are necessary to maintain my lifestyle, but not for my survival.  My pity party and anger just dissipated when I realized that my well fed duff is parked on a comfy sofa in an air conditioned house, I have a kitchen with refrigerated food, clean water, and I have a healthy family.  If I were a mother in Pakistan in 118 degree heat in a refugee camp watching my children fall ill or worse, then I would have something to be angry and cry about.  Good grief - I am so blessed to have the kinds of inconveniences (not problems) that I have.  So, the pity party came to a quick halt and I quickly said a prayer of thanksgiving for this perspective.

...and obviously, the whole computer issue is fixed.  Tonight I simply downloaded the files I needed onto the
Blackberry, plugged it into the computer and transferred the fix to my desktop.  That's how the virus got cleared up.  Going to bed tonight with a happy heart and knowing that I am truly blessed :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Loveliness of Ladybugs on the Wing

Today started out much better than yesterday :)  This morning I sent the ladybug quilt top, backing and batting off to Angela and so I thought I would look up the term used for a group of ladybugs - so now you's a loveliness of ladybugs :)

Yesterday was a bummer - started out with a real "bang."  I was headed to Em's school for a Grandparent's day celebration and was all excited to see the little pumpkin in action.  I was driving along one of the major roads around here and when I stopped in traffic, the car behind me did not.  If that wasn't bad enough, some of the people driving past the accident were so busy gawking instead of driving that another much worse accident happened right next to ours.  There is a very high concentration of morons on the roads around here.  So my pristine, beautiful vehicle that didn't even have a scratch (and with less than 15,000 miles on it) looked like this

Of course, the driver who rear-ended me was faulted, but when I got to work later and called the insurance company listed on the police report, I found out there's some issue with their insurance.  Again, this is FL, so there is a high likelihood that the insurance card they provided was nothing more than a worthless piece of paper.  So - I'm going to vent here. 

I do the responsible things, maintain insurance, maintain proper distance from the vehicles around me, keep my vehicle in proper working order, don't yak on the cell phone while driving, etc.  Why is it then that I'll likely wind up penalized for being responsible?  After speaking with my insurance company - a well known nationwide insurer, I found out that even though I have uninsured motorist coverage, that this coverage doesn't pay my deductible if it turns out in fact that these people had no insurance.  It only covers medical-related expenses.  Furthermore, the driver appears to be a real dirtbag who doesn't have two nickels to rub together.  So, I'm probaby going to wind up paying out the money for my deductible for a crash I didn't cause. 

I dropped the car off this morning at the auto body shop, and the owner of the shop told me that about 50% of the accident repairs he performs involve a driver hit by someone with no insurance *sigh*

At least I had my Blackberry with me so I could capture the whole experience for posterity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Already?

Time sure flies when you're having fun, so the saying goes.  This has been a fun-filled weekend for sure.  I had my little Em for awhile Saturday afternoon and we had such a nice time - she is a little dynamo and loves to make up all sorts of stories.  It is hilarious!

The binding for one of the Slideshow quilts has been sewn on.  This one is going to a young Mom with three boys ranging from six-years old to two or three.  She is expecting a little girl in early October, and is so excited (Can you blame her?  Three boys?  That's what I call perseverance!) 

The binding for the second Slideshow quilt has been made, but I didn't feel like doing anymore hand sewing this weekend, so that will have to wait.  The ladybug quilt backing has been finished, so the top, backing, and some batting will be making it's way to Missouri so Angela can work her magic on it.

I also starting making another hushabye tote/diaper bag with some left over charm squares, but I'm done sewing for this weekend.

I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting my sticky dot thimble thingies out

I can't remember exactly what they are called, but my best friend and quilting buddy gave me these sticky dots that are made of moleskin-like material.  They can be used in lieu of a thimble, you just stick them on your finger (they can be used over and over too) and get going on the hand sewing.  They are one of the best inventions ever.  Unfortunately, I don't have the package so I can't tell you who makes them.

The reason I need the sticky dots is because...look what came home from the quilter last night

The two slideshow quilts :)  and yes, I'm using the red Christmas Cheery Circles fabric that's laying on the table for the binding.  By the way, this is the third cut of this fabric I have bought.  Wondering why?  Read the story here.

There's a new project swirling around in my head that I may want to make for the mother of one of my daughters' friends.  Both of my daughters have been friends with this girl since kindergarten.  Her Mom is giving Emily a full size mattress set that has been in her guest bedroom and has been used only a couple of times.  What a fabulous thing!  Since she won't accept money for the mattress set, I'm going to make her a quilt.  Here are some candidate fabrics.

I have to find out what colors she likes though - the colors and patterns in these fabrics are very bold and may not work in her house.  I purchased them quite some time ago, and if they are right, I'll need to get a yard of the olive-ish green fabric to mix in.  I checked the Kona Cotton color card and the peridot green is also a perfect match in case I can't find the coordinate I'm looking for.  My daughter is going to scope out the colors in her home when she goes to pick up the mattress set.

Finally - and most importantly - Angela from Quiltingismytherapy has agreed to quilt the ladybug quilt.  I am so excited because I wanted the green/blue nine-patch blocks quilted with green thread and the ladybugs quilted with matching/blending threads.  The local quilt shop does a great job quilting as long as they can set the computer and just let it go, but that's not what I wanted for this quilt.  Can you imagine green quilting all over the ladybug blocks?  Since Angela does such fabulous quilting and knows just how use quilting to turn a quilt into a work of art, I couldn't imagine handing this quilt over to anyone else.  I want Emily, her children, her grandchildren, her enjoy this quilt so the quilting has to be just right.

Have a great day :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finished Flimsy

It still needs a good pressing.  This quilt is sized for a full size bed, but here it is on a queen.

I think this will be very cute paired with a white eyelet dust ruffle for Em's big girl bed.  I also have enough of the blue background ladybug fabric to edge a couple of pillowcases to match :)

Here's the backing fabric

I hope it doesn't give her nightmares - lol

Well folks, I hope your weekend was wonderful - signing out ...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What's Black and Red and Blindly Flops Around in Circles?

Why a one-winged, headless ladybug trying to fly of course...

Like I've mentioned before, a very sick sense of humor - sorry...

This how the flying ladybugs were constructed.  First, small squares of the green batiks were sewn to three corners of the black ladybug body squares.  The seams were trimmed and blocks were pressed (you can see what a hasty pressing job I did too - check out the top block *blushing*).

Then the same process was done using one green batik square and each red/orange wing rectangle, then one wing was sewn to each body (creating the one-winged, headless ladybug).

Ladybug heads:  This is where the applique' comes in. Before I started these blocks I had gone to the local quilt shop to find out what fusible web would be best to use (since this is my first applique' project).  They recommended Lite Steam-A-Seam2 and let me tell you what - my inexperienced opinion is that this is a great product.  The fusible web is sandwiched between two layers of freezer paperish stuff.  One side peels off fairly easily and the fusible web is more stuck to the other side.  Plastic templates were made for the two different ladybug heads by tracing the shapes from the pattern onto the template plastic, and then cutting them out.

Once the templates were done, the black fabric was washed and dried to remove any sizing and then pressed.  I tested pulling back the outer freezer paperish layers to see which one peeled off easily (but didn't peel the layer off), then traced the fourty-four ladybug heads onto the other paper side that was more stuck to the fusible web.  Then the layer that easily peeled away was removed and the fusbile web side was put down onto the black fabric.  Since it is quite sticky (but can still be repositioned if necessary), it is great to work with.  Then the forty-four ladybug heads were created by cutting on the lines traced from the templates.  A rotary cutter was used for the straight sides and very sharp small scissors for the rounded edge.

The heads were then placed fusible web side down on the green batik after peeling the paper off .  They were pressed according to the fusible web instructions.  I was a bit worried about the web fusing to batiks that had not been washed because there often is some waxy residue on them, but this stuff worked like a charm. 

So, I ran around the curved edge of ladybug heads with an open overlock machine stitch.  Then the blocks were assembled by sewing the heads to the left over wing blocks, and then joining them to the other side of the one-winged, headless ladybug blocks.  Unfortunately, the instructions tell you to sew the blocks together with the seams pressed in directions that are impossible to achieve.  Don't you just love it when you get to the instructions to assemble the LAST blocks and the instructions suck?  I am so aggravated because I'm going to have to clip the seams in half of the blocks in order to assemble them with the seams in the proper position.  I laid the blocks out on my bed just to get a peek though...

Okay - so crappy instructions aside, I like it :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ladybug Population Explosion

This is what was left

after making thirteen of these

When I finished adding the sides and tops to the blocks, I couldn't wait to lay them out as they will be in the quilt with some of the nine patch blocks I made probably a year ago *blushing*

I am a terrible procrastinator.

If you looked at the pattern shown in yesterday's post (here), you will notice that I omitted the red from the nine patch block centers.  Instead, I chose this adorable print for the centers.  I also used only green batik prints for the other eight patches in the blocks.  I think not adding other colors into the mix makes them more appealing.

In my opinion, having red centers for the nine patch blocks competes with the red in the ladybugs.  I like this fabric a lot better.  Now there is nothing competing with the ladybugs as the focus of the quilt.

On a totally different subject, Alsley will be fourteen this Thursday...Fourteen!  Where has the time gone?  It seems to have evaporated.  He is the best dog ever and I tell him so everyday when I give him his breakfast.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

One Little Ladybug

One of Em's favorite books is called "Five Little Ladybugs" and here is the first ladybug block for her Ladybugs on Parade quilt.  I bought the pattern and some of the fabrics in Seattle at Undercover Quilts a cool little quilt shop at Pike's Place Market.  This was the same trip where we made the mad dash to Quilting by the Sea in Langley on Whidbey Island - you can read about our madcap adventure here.

This is my first ever applique'd block

I didn't think my older Pfaff had a blanket stitch - I looked all through the owner's manual and couldn't find one anywhere.  Then I spied the open overlock stretch stitch that looks like a slightly slanted blanket stitch. Since the ladybug heads are curved, this stitch works just fine.  I'm glad I assembled one complete block first because I need to take a narrower seam allowance for the tiny squares sewn to the corners of the ladybug bodies otherwise the heads are going to be a bit wider than the body where it is attached (like it is in this block).  I'm pretty sure Em won't mind though.  That's one of the best things about sewing for my granddaughter - she loves everything I make.  I applique'd all fourteen of the ladybug heads for the closed ladybugs around the center of the quilt, so now I'm in business and can get busy making the rest of these blocks. 

I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend, and that you get to spend some quality time at your sewing machine at some point :)