Stash Report Week of September 22 2015

What went out of my studio/office this week:

  • 400 pages of reading
  • two papers
  • one wedding outline (for my BIL and SIL-to-be whose wedding I officiate Friday)

What came into my studio/office:

  • Two new ink cartridges
  • Two reams of printer paper
  • Binder clips
  • A multi-pocket folder
  • My favorite new stapler in the world

Oh stapler, faithful stapler,

How you have served me for lo these 25 years or more

Stapling two, nay, even four pages together at one time.

I could forgive you the occasional jam.

How do Stapler Years compare to People Years?

25 years old in stapler time equals 75 in human time? 145 years? 

I would jam too.

It's not your fault--not really--that you just were no longer up to the task.

You couldn't wrap your little stapler jaw around 30 pages at once. 

You're too delicate. Too dainty. You only want to chew small bites at the dinner table. So polite.

Happy retirement, O Stapler.

Welcome, O New Friend Stapler--open your jaw wide! 

The office is a No-Etiquette Zone.

30 pages? Bring it on! 40? Chomp it all down!

May we have many happy years of stapling doctoral reading print-outs together!

One of my DMin cohorts posted this picture in our cohort GroupMe today.  968 days...if we stay on schedule. Just keep taking it one day at a

Home again, home again...

We had a great vacation in Nova Scotia last week. We spent a little time on Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, and the Eastern/Northern shores of Nova Scotia--basically, Halifax area. Both my husband and I had been there on family vacations as kids (my family went twice that I recall), but we had never gone together. It's just a lovely as I remember and, of course, we both probably appreciated the scenic views a lot more as adults. ("Dad, when are we going to stop driving???")

Here's my Steller album of the trip. 

We got home around dinner time on Friday so we'd have all weekend to regroup before heading back to work. On Saturday, I spent about four hours straight doing embroidery. I'd taken my current project with me on both my work and vacation trips with the goal of having it finished by the time I got home--I didn't get as much embroidering time as I'd hoped, so now I'm doing a full-court press this weekend so I can take it to the shop for framing tomorrow or Tuesday.

This morning, my daughter and I decided to head to a big flea market about half an hour south of us. It opens at 6:30a. Neither of us is that dedicated. We got there around 8:30a and it was not really crowded at all, but by the time we left at 10:30a, I was thrilled to be heading out of the parking lot instead of into it.

She achieved her main goal: She's got a yen to try her hand at refinishing furniture, as well as knowing it may be the most cost-effective way for her to furnish an apartment whenever she gets to the point of being able to afford to move out. She picked up this very nice little cabinet--and didn't do too bad a job bargaining, although neither of us is that agressive about it.

It's got nice bones, and really interesting dove-tailed joints that are a dove-tail-esque design I'd never seen before. She's debating several options about how she'll redo this--I'm looking forward to seeing what she finally decides on. She's waiting until I head to my on-campus weeks at BU so she can take over my side of the garage for the refinishing process.

I didn't have any firm thoughts in mind about what I was looking for. I was just along for the fun. I did miss out on a little folding cabinet kind of thing--about the size of a small briefcase--that would've been great embroidery storage, something that looked nicer in the family room than my current collection of bins and bags. Since I'd have had to do some work to it for it to really look nice and I'm just not sure I have the time to do that these days, I decided I'd think about it instead, knowing it would likely not still be there when I went back (thereby making my decision for me). When we made our way back to that corner of the flea market again, sure 'nuff, a woman was looking at it. The only thing that burns me a bit is that I'm quite sure I heard the vendor tell her it was all of $2.00. Well, dang. I know the cardinal rule at flea markets is to pick it up when you see it because it's most likely not going to still be there later. I just wasn't 100% convinced it would really be all I was hoping it would be once I got it home. So I'm okay. But still. $2.00. Dang. 

I consoled myself with tchotchke. 

The citrus juicer in the handled bowl came home with me for $6. Saved a whole dollar--can't you stand it? My daughter and I immediately noted how much easier this will make my next margarita party, as I do margaritas from scratch with fresh-squeezed lime juice. I won't pony up for an electric juicer, but this will be a step up from my hand-held juicer. 

The four bracelets were from a jewelry designer vendor. I have a love-hate relationship with bracelets. Love the way they look, can't stand to wear them. They drive me nuts when they bounce all over the place or bang on my keyboard while I'm typing. I only manage to wear them for about 10 minutes before I yank them off in frustration. I have high hopes for these! They're actually elastic but done in such a way that you can't see any of the elastic between the beads when it's on (and my wrists aren't as small as they used to be). It fits very comfortably, but doesn't roll around on my wrist; they're also really light-weight. I was in love the first time I tried one on. I wore the blue one all morning and kept even forgetting I had it on--it was that comfortable! 

The other little bottle is just an aromatherapy blend named "Breathe," that smells better than the current "Breathe" blend I've been using. Sinuses, donchaknow.

Then I hit the vendor selling warehouse summer tops and dresses. 

The dress is of a fabric that would also be fine over a swimsuit, so good for poolside lounging. Not that I'll have a lot of time for that this summer, but a girl can dream. And it was only an $8 dream.

The silk wraparound skirt can supposedly be worn "100 different ways." I tried three of the ways demonstrated on the tag. Nope, it'll just be a skirt. It's two skirts layered over one another so if nothing else, it's reversible. And it was $10. So I don't mind the 98 other ways I won't be wearing it.

And this pretty embroidered shirt has ties in the back to give it a little more shape, but I like the looseness of it. 

I'm wearing the $8 dream now. I have hopes of lounging poolside later this evening. If the bugs don't drive me away.

So that's my adventure of the last few weeks. I'm actually going to be in a routine between now and August 4 when I head off to campus. Routine is good. You might hear from me a little bit more.

But for the moment, I'm off to pick up the embroidery needle again...




Fight the Funk Friday

Still nothing stellar to report here. As you may have been able to deduce from my absence in the blogosphere of late, I've been a bit crammed up schedule-wise, and those times I have been home and had downtime, I pretty much just crashed. So not many goings-on going on. 

I've been keeping up with the physical therapy. Clearly there really was a problem given how much my knee aches every time my PT pokes around at it, but there has been improvement so that's a good thing. And the PT exercises are as good as going to the gym from a strength-training perspective, although only focused on certain areas. I did one of my Daily Burn videos this week, and I had to do a few modifications for the knee issue but mostly it went well so, again, I did see improvement in my knee from the PT--nice to have that confirmation. I've been trying to occasionally get out for walks with the Doofus, something both he and I appreciate. (He has his fan base on the canal trail--Goldens always make people smile.)

Love my little stretch of the canal...

Love my little stretch of the canal...

Today we leave for my daughter's college for her Graduation Weekend Extravaganza. Most of that extravaganza involves helping her move out of her dorm room on Saturday so I'm sure I'll be building up some steps that day! 

Eating-wise I haven't done too badly, although I'm really working hard to re-focus this week; a tricky proposition given that I'll be eating out all weekend. Still n' all, it's easier to eat light when it's warm out, and it's supposed to be a pretty warm weekend.  And I've only got a couple more weeks before my CSA kicks in--I can't wait!


Monday Musings: The 5 Ss--Stay the Course

It's the last of our Monday Musings in the 5S series, with thanks to Wegmans for the fodder. This one is sort of a wrap-up "S," to be sure: "Stay the Course." In other words, keep doing everything you've been doing for the last several weeks. 

I remember once hearing someone talking about weight loss efforts--they made the comment that we all mistakenly behave as if we have to cut calories rigorously and exercise the heck out of ourselves until we've reached our weight goals, and then somehow magically we'll be able to resume our old habits again while staying at the same weight. Well, of course, we know it doesn't work that way. To be successful at losing weight, one needs to embrace new habits that will last a life-time.

The same is true with keeping our quilt studio ready for us to run in with a sudden burst of inspiration and be able to actually accomplish something because we don't have to waste 20 minutes clearing off a surface or trying to find our rotary cutter.

It's a habit that needs to be developed, and it will always require a certain amount of effort and intention. Some of us are more naturally inclined towards organization than others (I remember watching my two-year-old son line up his Matchbox cars in neat little rows, although now that he's 24 I'm not convinced his apartment benefits from the same attention). However, even those of us who have a natural bent for it have lazy days, or get busy, or have the one room or set of drawers or closet that seems to capture all the chaos and disorder we've driven from the rest of the house.

Don't look in my bedroom closet right now. 

I know I have problems, like most people, getting into different habits. If something hasn't been in my consciousness for the last several years, it's unlikely to keep naturally appearing in my consciousness just because I want it to, or I know it would be good for me. I have to send myself constant reminders of this new habit I'm trying to develop. Lately, as you may recall, I've been working on upgrading my ability to track the myriad tasks I'm juggling between work and personal life, so that when I add school into the mix in a few months it doesn't all come crashing down like a house of cards. I'm working on developing some new task-tracking habits recommended in David Allen's Getting Things Done, such as doing a weekly review of all my projects, looking over my "waiting for someone" file every couple of days, and filing newsletters and such into a "read and review" file for those times I'm mentally fried but have a few minutes to kill. However, rather than trusting myself to remember I even have a "read and review" file or "waiting on someone" file, I added recurring tasks to my list: "Check Read and Review file," and "Review Waiting on Someone File." Usually I think about how much I've turned into my Mom, but in this instance, I've definitely become my Dad. We used to joke that if he didn't have us written down in his notebook, he'd forget he even had kids. He wrote everything down and checked his notebook several times a day. I've become the same way, although I rely on my digital version of Dad's notebook, my smartphone. If I don't write something down, I can nearly guarantee it won't get done. Once it's in my task list, I know I'll do it--even if I move it around a few times before it finally gets done.

And yes, I even have a recurring task: "Check your task list." Ahem. There's a reason for that one that we needn't get into just now.

My stash when I first set up this shelving system. It doesn't look all that different now 10 years later. In fact, I even still have a lot of those same fabrics!

My stash when I first set up this shelving system. It doesn't look all that different now 10 years later. In fact, I even still have a lot of those same fabrics!

Consequently, in terms of my quilt life, I've worked hard over the years to set myself up for organizational success in my quilt studio. I'm at probably 95% on the "everything has a place"-o-meter. IOW, things have a place where they belong, where it's easy to locate them, use them, and then put them away again to be easily found again next time. That being said, I can only stay at that 95% if I keep paying attention, if I stay the course. 

I still have some work to do on my bookshelves--they tend to get overrun and need their own little purging ceremony about once a year. But that's for another blog post.

This ends our 5S series. Anything in particular that's been useful or meaningful to you? Any new habit you've decided you need to develop? Anything else you'd like me to muse about? I've enjoyed reading your "talk-back"--your own thinking on this topic. In fact, the response to these posts has made me decide I'm going to keep going with Monday Musings for awhile, although not always focused on organization. I haven't really thought that far ahead. The task "plan Monday Musings" doesn't show up on my task list for another couple of days yet. 



While I've Been Away...Playing with a New App

I left you in the good hands of my 5th Podcastaversary Giveaway and Rafflecopter, while I was off and traveling about. Meanwhile, I entertained myself with playing around with a few new apps on my phone. So far, the big winner--in terms of coolness and actual usability--is Steller. (And no, I'm not an affiliate, so this is just a straight-up review and introduction!)

Steller is a really super-cool storytelling app for smartphones. Steller allows you to create online photo books, of a sort, called stories. You can create pages with photos, videos, or text, or a combo package. It has several very nice templates and several layout options for pages within those templates, so it's pretty simple to learn. It also has a social-networking aspect in that you can follow and be followed by other Steller users, "like" a story, and leave comments. A lot of Steller users are professional photographers so just scrolling through all the Steller stories available is wonderful eye-candy. I'm a particular fan of the travel-related stories. Gorgeous. There are also a lot of stories that are recipes with step-by-steps included that may be useful, although I haven't tried any yet to know how well that works in the kitchen. 

When I first found it, I thought (of course), "This will be GREAT for documenting the process on quilts!" I've thereby got a Steller WIP on one of my quilty WIPs going on. Meanwhile, to learn the app and to entertain myself on my second trip that involved a ton of time sitting around in airports, here are the three Steller stories I've created to date.

Story #1:  I had pictures from our vacation to Washington D.C. handy on my phone still, so it was pretty fast to throw together. I was just learning the basics so I didn't get fancy with anything--it's pretty straightforward.

In Story #2, I had other photos on my phone from fibers I'd recently acquired. I messed around a little more with Steller layout options on this one.

For Story #3, I had to wait until I could get on WiFi and download a few photos from one part of my trip to Burma. I only did a little photo editing and for some reason I couldn't download a couple of the videos I have related to this, so this one is still fairly straightforward at this point. I might edit it later to make it a little more whiz-bang.

Finally, Story #4 is the one that kept me entertained in airports. I decided I may as well kill time messing around with all the various photo and video apps I have on my phone--and I have a lot. So you'll see at the end I listed which ones I used in this particular Steller story.

Super-cool, right? Love this app. It's probably my favorite new app find of the year. I even got @carolewool hooked. Here's a link to one of her Steller stories. (She beat me to the punch on getting one done on a quilt process--mine's not finished yet! The project is taking me a lot of time to work through so it may be awhile...) I've found several people to follow--including one young man who is documenting his study-abroad semester in India, which is fascinating!

You can follow Steller on Twitter if you're not sure you want to actually sign up for the app yet--they tweet links to newly posted Steller stories (although only featured ones), so you can see what they're like. You can also set up a Steller account even if you never intend to create a story, and only want to be part of the network. It really is a beautiful app.

I use it on my iPhone (it's not available for iPad but I'm checking out similar iPad apps to decide if I like them as well); it's also available as an Android app. I really do suggest you check it out!

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post on my favorite photo editing apps. Like I said, I have a lot, but a few are standouts! 

2015 Personal Resolutions

(If you're looking for the 2015 Quilty Resolution Challenge, click here.)

Since I did so well on my 2014 quilty resolutions by blogging about them, thereby holding myself accountable, I figure putting some of my personal goals down here and tracking them through the year may be helpful.

Goal 1: Attend to personal health.

This has to do with fitness and weight, of course, but it also has to do with setting up better sleep patterns and paying attention to my mood, especially during these dreary winter months. I'm already blogging about this with my Fight the Funk Friday posts--thanks to @Ozzypip and @QuiltCabana for the inspiration (Philipa and Sandi respectively, although I do tend to automatically think of people by their Twitter handles these days). I've also been appreciating @Butterflysews, aka Sue, who just recently became a Weight Watchers Leader and has been inspiring me with her tweets. Too bad it would be a heck of a long swim for me to attend her meetings, as she's one of our UK buddies. As always, SherriD aka Walker Lady continues to motivate me, as do all our QuiltCast Fitbitters crew--those of us with FitBits who cheer one another on, even when our steps are (ahem) not very steppy; for example, today when I forget to even put my FitBit on.

Goal 2: Rework my daily schedule.

This has mostly to do with Goal #1. My best time for working out is late afternoon after work--my body feels best then. However, as you have probably experienced yourself, stuff tends to come up so on a busy week I may only make it to the gym once. I try working out at home but I don't enjoy it, nor are my workouts as good. Plus, since I work at home it's just really good for me to actually get OUT of the house on a regular basis and be in the presence of other people, even if we're not actually interacting with one another.

That being said, it also has to do with quilting, reading, cooking, and other stuff I like to try to do on a regular basis. So I need to look at how I'm using my time every day and possibly set some different priorities. However, I also know I need a time for mindlessness and un-productivity, so I'm not going to book every hour of the day in the name of "time management." I work my calendar by blocks of energy, not time, these days. 

This is a trickier one to figure out how to hold myself accountable. Maybe I'll add in a piece to my Fight the Funk Friday posts about how well I did on scheduling during the past week.

Goal 3: More cooking.

This one is just a matter of getting back into good habits I used to have. As you know, I do love to cook and do a lot of my own cooking...some of the time. This fall, things completely fell apart. Other than my weekend homemade pasta-making habits, I was doing very little other meal prep. It was a very stressful fall and generally I was too burned by the end of the workday to do much creatively in the kitchen. I don't travel a whole lot over the next few months so I'm planning on buckling down and getting back into my routines of drafting menus for the week for smarter grocery shopping, and more attentive meal prep and eating for my health efforts. 

So, those are my personal goals. They're not particularly measurable--I don't have numbers or timelines attached. Just general intentions. I know that doesn't fit the "SMART" goal rubric, but hey, this is how I prefer to treat myself at the moment. Taking it one day at a time...

Farewell Friday (In lieu of Fight the Funk Friday)

I haven't been to the gym this week so "Fight the Funk Friday" would have a whole lot more with what I didn't do than what I did do. However, this is likely the last opportunity I'll have to write a blog for a few weeks so I didn't want to walk away from it completely. Fortunately, "Farewell" has nice alliterative magic as well.

Tomorrow I get on a plane. For a very long time. (30 hours travel time, all in, if everything stays on schedule.) I've got me some podcasts. I've got me some Great Courses lectures. I've got me some Craftsy classes. Since I'll be on Dramamine, though, I'm likely to be dozing quite a bit and probably won't get through everything I've downloaded to keep me entertained.  

I'm not bringing any handwork. First of all: airplane. Very cramped. Secondly, packing space. Very cramped. Thirdly, once I'm there I won't have a lot of downtime--at least, not other than when I'm on planes or buses or in vans and, again, cramped.  

I'm hoping to have halfway decent access to WiFi at least often enough to occasionally tweet or post on Facebook a pretty picture and short update. The hotels we're staying in all have WiFi, but quality and endurance of the connection are always questionable, so we'll see. 

We've got a couple of markets on our schedule and I'm quite familiar with textiles from that area, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm also hoping to visit some local artisans, especially spinners. It'll be interesting to see the techniques and tools they use. I'm familiar with the weaving as I've worked with groups of weavers originally from Burma here in the U.S., but I haven't met any spinners yet, so that'll be fun.

Meanwhile, as of 4:30 p.m. this afternoon I'm as packed as I can be until I'm done getting dressed and ready tomorrow morning. The clothes only take up about 1/3rd of the suitcase. The rest is pharmaceutical supplies (for any eventuality!) and gifts for people I'll be meeting. 

Fortunately, our flight is very late morning tomorrow so although we need to get to the airport a couple of hours earlier, it's still a very reasonable time, so I won't be rushed in the morning--always a nice way to start a long travel day. The weather looks clear. But I won't say any more about the flights in case I jinx something.

So that's it! Until sometime in very late December...

Sing it, everyone! "So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good bye... I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly..."

A Not-So-Random App Review (with Quilty Implications)

This is random, but not entirely off-topic as I can definitely see quilty (and dye-y) implications from this.

The very first experiment.

The very first experiment.

I follow Lyric Kinard's blog, and this morning she posted about an app she'd started playing with, named Waterlogue. I immediately downloaded it and started messing with it myself. 



I love this app. 

Mind you, I've got several photo-editing apps and most have some sort of watercolor filter effect but I've never seen any of them work as well as this one. 

I was posting these images to Twitter and a couple of folks checked out the app and have since downloaded it themselves. Unfortunately, we also discovered it's only available for iPhone/iPad, but not Android*. Sorry about that!  

My favorite Happy Sam photo.

My favorite Happy Sam photo.

It has 12 different filters with very different effects--my photos here only include three or four of them. It's fascinating to watch how each filter interprets your original photo. You definitely get a lesson in line and color as each filter breaks your photo down into component parts. 

Other than just good, clean fun, what are the quilty and hand-dye-y applications? Well, gee, let me count the ways. At the simplest, you could print the resulting image onto fabric and thread-sketch or quilt it up for a nice art quilt. You could use the watercolor image as a guide for an applique version: It breaks complicated colors from a photo down into much simpler color splotches (which is a very technical artistic term) that would make it easier to interpret those colors into fabric. You could use the outlines it creates in some filters as a guide to hand-draw the image onto your fabric. For hand-dyeing/painting, the benefits are pretty obvious: It gives you a clear view of what colors appear in the photo that you could easily use as a guide for creating a project. 

(I stole this photo from one that @sewexcitedquilts tw  eeted this morning of sunrise on a lake. Thanks, Jackie!)

(I stole this photo from one that @sewexcitedquilts tweeted this morning of sunrise on a lake. Thanks, Jackie!)

The app is $2.99. I'd say I've already had about $3.75 worth of fun and I've only had the app for about four hours. When I start using it as a way to create a quilt design? Priceless.

I'll close this blog out with a gallery of the original photos with their filtered counterparts. I've got it set in autoplay to change images every two seconds, but you have controls on the right and left to move forward and back if you want to see something again. If you can't see the gallery in whatever way you're receiving this blog, just go straight to my website.  

*The Waterlogue blog explains that they have no plans to release it on Android. They're a small, independent iOS developer and Android is much harder to program with reliable stability as it's used on such a wide variety of devices. If you want to read the whole blog post, go to their blog.  (You may have to scroll down to find the pertinent post.)

A Little Bit about Birthdays and Food

So yep, a birthday happened here. This week, I turned 49. Age doesn't bother me--I guess I figure I've earned every one of these years or something. Still n' all, it often surprises me to think, "Oh. I'm 49. How did that happen?"

I'd rather have reached 49 than the alternative. Thus, no hiding my age or being coy or cagey here. It is what it is, and I've had a great 49 years. Looking forward to the rest!

(For those of you reading this through feed readers or email, there's a photo gallery that appears here with controls for sliding photos back and forth. You may not see it in feeds and may need to check the website version.)

This year for my birthday, I did a cooking class at the New York Wine and Culinary Center and invited a few family members to join me. There were eight of us: me and my husband, my son and daughter, my nephew, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.  You work in pairs, so I paired with my daughter, my husband was with my mother-in-law, my son and nephew worked together, and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend were a pair. I went with eight as that's the number to fully surround one island in the classroom (four stations of two people each at every island). Everyone cooks their own dishes, but then you can share around the island--or even through the classroom--as you may choose. (The gallery shows my family and everyone's dishes--my son and nephew brought in a ringer and a chef-in-training did their plating for them. You can tell.)

I've taken several classes there before and have blogged about them in the past (here's one, and here's one, and here's one with a recipe I learned at a class, and here's another one). My favorite is the Farmer's Market class, so that's the one I chose for my birthday celebration. You start out by meeting at the Farmer's Market in the town where the institute is located, and the chef talks you through the process, lets you know what proteins and pantry items are available at the institute, and then gives you a portion of your registration fee back in cash and sets you loose on the vendors. You make up your meal plan as you go, making use of the chef as consultant as needed. My daughter and I were partners since she's a vegetarian and I was game to go meat-free, and we decided it would be fun to learn how to make pasta. I've looked into doing it in the past, but had never taken the dive. What better time, though, than when surrounded by chefs and culinary students?

DD and my ravioli

DD and my ravioli

And now I'm hooked.

I made the ravioli, and my daughter made the sauce. She riffed off a sauce she sometimes makes at home--also with no recipe. (My daughter has developed my love for free-wheeling cooking. Recipe? We don't need no stinkin' recipe.)

We filled the ravioli with a mixture of risotto, arugula (we wanted spinach but there wasn't any at the market--at this time of year? Really?), and garlic. The sauce has roasted red peppers--and she roasted those peppers too--tomato, onion, garlic, and fresh basil. Then we sprinkled some of the arugula over the top for pretties. Everyone loved it!

I fell in love. Just like making bread from scratch, there's something so wonderfully elemental about creating your own pasta from the egg up. I immediately started dreaming up all sorts of combinations of ravioli fillings and sauces.

The next day, on Sunday, I made homemade ravioli for a pasta salad for our family celebration (me and my father-in-law share a birthday). Without a pasta maker, I was rolling it out by hand with a rolling pin so it wasn't quite as thin, and I wasn't able to make as many ravioli. So, rather than pasta salad as a side dish, I served it as an appetizer. This time the ravioli was filled with ricotta, roasted red peppers bought from a store, fresh grated parmesan, and garlic; I tossed it with grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and more fresh grated parmesan. Even though the pasta was a little more chewy and thick because my rolling technique was a little rough, people still loved it. And I had a blast.

And so, my husband bought me a pasta maker for my birthday--and a drying rack, and a ravioli mold. The shipment should get here tomorrow. Mind you--this isn't self-serving for him. He doesn't actually like pasta, and he hates gooey cheese (so he's not big on cheese-filled anything). He'll eat it if I make it but it's nothing he'd look forward to. So buying me a pasta maker is truly an act of love on his part. And I'll be giving a lot away.

I also ordered the book Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green. It got good reviews; I should get that one later today.

And then, because it was on sale and I'm on fire, I bought a new Craftsy class: Homemade Italian Pasta with Guiliano Hazan. ready for more pics of pasta to come!




Home again, home again, jiggity...well...

Maybe not quite so jiggity jig.

I got home from my work event and board meeting week last night. I was gone eight days in all, including travel time, but it was a long eight days. The trip there was pretty uneventful, fortunately, since I was on a schedule and had to arrive at a certain time that first Saturday in order to get everything set up and ready for the start of the event.

The event went swimmingly with only a few hitches here and there that no one else even knew were hitches...which is how it should be. The board meetings that followed were solid, and I've got some very exciting walking papers for my work life this coming year which is how I like it. If I'm going to be busy, I may as well be busy doing meaningful work.

But it went downhill from there. I made the mistake of getting in my car to head home.

A significant potion of the drive home looked like this.

It took--I kid you not--an hour and a half to go two miles in this particular traffic jam. And it wasn't the only jam I sat in. And several times the rain was so loud I had to turn off my podcasts and drive in (rain-loud) silence because I couldn't hear anything anyway.

The double whammy of construction and horrible rainstorms all along Lake Erie (most of my route went along the south and east sides of Lake Erie) meant that my usual 12-14 hour drive--depending on traffic around Chicago--clocked in at 19 1/2 hours. I was two hours later than I'd wanted to be getting into Shipshewana, IN, on my first leg of my trip home on Friday, and three-and-a-half hours later than I'd expected to be pulling into my driveway yesterday. 5 1/2 extra hours of driving. Bully.

I've made this trip probably 12-15 times over my lifetime, and this one took the cake for Most Annoying.

Sitting in my car in the Cracker Barrel parking lot

Sitting in my car in the Cracker Barrel parking lot

I'll tell the story on my next podcast episode, though won't dwell on it since you all tune in to listen to quilting, not whining, but as a teaser, the excitement includes: a toxic water alert, an insanely badly managed Burger King, bad coffee, a 5-second sprint through the Cracker Barrel parking lot  in a torrential downpour resulting in--well, you'll have to tune in to find out, nearly rear-ending another car when everyone slammed on their brakes unexpectedly when a lake appeared in the middle of the expressway, and being in the bathroom in complete darkness (complete darkness) when the power was knocked out in a roadside rest area.

Fun times.

But here's the bright spot.


My 20 minutes in Lolly's (I got there at 5:40 and they close at 6 on Fridays) resulted in these.

I've never tried Quilter's Dream batting so I picked up a crib-size package to try out.

I've been testing out several marking pencils of late and have heard good things about Roxanne's, so I got a package of those.

My trial-size bottle of Best Press that lives in my retreat tackle box is nearly gone, so I decided to pick up a new scent. (I'll keep the empty old one around and just refill it. Still, fun to try new pretty smelly things!)

And I succumbed to more charm packs, though I really shouldn't. But I'm a fan of William Morris and couldn't resist Morris Modernized. I bought two packs because I've learned most designs call for that many.

Today, Sunday, was pretty much a Pajama Day for me. I watched a couple of episodes of my current Comfort Food TV--Murder She Wrote--while enjoying my Real Coffee Sans Toxins, and then watched several lessons in my current Craftsy class. We spent the afternoon at "Guardians of the Galaxy" (great movie!), and now we're home again and I'm pretty much ready to go back to bed. I'll do my best to make it to a reasonable hour, though.

No sewing today. Hope to get back to it in a day or two to have something to actually talk about when I do get to posting my next podcast episode...

I feel for the people who are continuing to suffer the effects of the toxin alert for water from Lake Erie due to an algea bloom; it affects significant portions of Ohio and some parts of Michigan. I was able to drive out of it, they're not. Prayers for you, folks--hope your water tests okay and it clears up quickly!


Thinkin' About It Thursday

Hey, y'all.

When you read this I'll still be out of town for work, so I'm doing a little future-casting here. It might be more appropriately entitled "What I Think l'll Be Thinkin' About Next Thursday."

  • That I really do love my job.
  • That I've just about had enough of restaurant and cafeteria food by now, and am thinking fondly of the simplicity of my usual lunch salad at home. 
  • That I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again.
  • And playing with my doggies.
  • And, of course, seeing my husband and daughter again--and maybe strongarming my son into stopping by for dinner shortly after I'm home.
  • But that I'll have fun doing a meet-up with a listener/#twilter in Shipshewana tomorrow on my drive home. (I hope. As of this writing, plans have just barely gotten in the works for a meet-up so fingers-crossed it works out!)
  • That by this time next week I'll be in a slower, quieter mode at work for at least a two or three weeks, and I may actually be rested up enough to be getting some quilting done. 
  • And that I'm really ready to be home and welcomed by this face again...

Thinkin' About It Thursday

Well, some of you remarked how much you enjoyed this post and would like to see it as a series. So I'll do my best!

What I'm thinking about this Thursday:

  • How, even if the colors haven't been changed, freshly painted walls are still quite nice to look at.
  • That hosting a party for 70-plus people the same week as I have painters underfoot and my busiest, most stressful workweek is crazy talk.
  • That Rescue Remedy actually [sort of] works.
  • But that watching a clan of family and friends--some of whom haven't been in the same place for decades--having fun together and reconnecting is worth the sleepless nights.
  • But that next time I'll hire a dish washer.
  • That I have a great group of my own kids and my nieces and nephews, and that they've got a great group of friends. 
  • Who, even when they've crashed on my floor and gotten about four hours of sleep, are still willing workers on clean-up duty the next day. (They may have been walking like zombies, but they were cleaning zombies so I'm good with that!)
  • That although it's not his favorite place to be, Sam is Sam and will make five days at the kennel work for him. (He made friends.)
  • That Spencer will take awhile to forgive me for that same five days at the kennel. (Hint: That's no smile on her face. That's pure hysteria.)
  • That pretty new thread can be almost as recuperative as chocolates.
  • And that this is a wonderful way to recover. 

(Tune in to this channel in a couple of weeks for a return to quilty talk.)

What Has Come to Live in My House

As I mentioned in my most recent podcast episode, I had fun with the "TRYME" special sale on the Superior Threads website. (The sale goes through the end of July, by the way.) Their Try-Me specials are always a little less expensive than buying the spools straight-up, and now they're on sale so you save even more. The only hitch is that you can't choose the colors. But doesn't that make it like a fun surprise party when you open the box?

In any case, because they were on special, I bought more than I normally would. Here's the list, from left to right in the picture above:

  • Fantastico #40 Poly, variegated yellow/orange/red
  • Magnifico #40 Poly, green
  • Art Studio Colors (Ricky Tims) #40 Poly, gray
  • King Tut #40 Cotton, variegated purples
  • Halo variegated purple/red/blue with metallic gold
  • Glitter (holographic) purple base with red/green/blue colors
  • Nature Colors (Hollis Chatelain) #40 Trilobal, cream/vanilla color
  • Masterpiece (Alex Anderson) #50 Cotton, green
  • Bottom Line (Libby Lehman) #60 Poly, navy
  • Nitelite Extra Glow, #40 Poly, pink

The only one I'm a hair bummed about is the pink Nitelite. I hadn't really noticed that Nitelite came in colors--I guess I was thinking it would be similar to monofilaments where there isn't really a color to the thread itself. My bad. I'd planned on using it in a project for Halloween with all black, grey, and orange fabrics. Pink just won't look right. I'll likely find some other project to try the pink on and see how it works, and maybe order a color that works better with the project later.

I'm watching the DVD as I write this. So far, I'm realizing that I knew more about thread than I thought I did. Still n' all, there is some helpful information (how they make metallic thread is really interesting!) and I'm only four chapters in so I'm sure it'll be good overall. Besides, I got the DVD free with my order. Can't go wrong!

Yes, I've gotten to the point where seeing a funky-cool thread immediately starts making me dream up projects I can use it on!

A Finish in a Furniture Form

Okay, that alliteration was a little more work. Ahem.

Cutting table from "front" (the side I stand on to cut)

Cutting table from "front" (the side I stand on to cut)

I finally got my cutting table done! Talking about it on this weekend's podcast episode renewed my motivation to tie up loose ends.

This is the table I decided to make based on Tanesha's (of CraftyGardenMom Podcast) description of doing one herself. It's all over Pinterest--just look for "book shelf cutting table" or "cutting table with Target bookshelves" or something like that.

In any case, I'd done most of the work over MLK Jr weekend (listen to the whole tale here, and a little more about it here). However, I'd lost steam before getting to the finishing touches and every time I pulled the stuff out to do it, I just got all-over-tired again. And, frankly, the table was working just fine for me and no one else sees the room so it's unfinished state wasn't all that bothersome.

Finally, Sunday...after putting 18 more scarves into dye baths (found a few more containers!), and also (finally!) getting my seasonal wardrobes sorted out into "keep, toss, donate, put away for winter" piles, I decided to keep the "Get 'Er Done" mode going and tackled the cutting table. It would be nice, after all, not to have the unfinished pressboard edges of the melanine top keep snagging my clothes when I leaned in to cut.

All I had to do was sand the edges and iron on the edging around the top...yes, you heard me right... iron on edging for a piece of furniture--and then use 3M strips to stabilize the cutting surface. It all took me maybe an hour, tops, and none of it was hard although I suspect my shoulders will be whining tomorrow from bending over at an awkward angle to hold what I now know to be a remarkably heavy iron against the edge of the table.

Cutting table from open end--looking towards where I stand to cut. You can also see what a fan I am of 3M strips and hooks here--that's how all my rulers and pictures are hung on the wall. Very handy!

Cutting table from open end--looking towards where I stand to cut. You can also see what a fan I am of 3M strips and hooks here--that's how all my rulers and pictures are hung on the wall. Very handy!

I'd also thought I might attach the bookshelves to one another with 3M strips but they didn't want to hold, so I bagged that. I don't exactly live in an earthquake zone and they seem to be standing just fine. The usual method is to bolt these puppies together with metal brackets but I wasn't sure I wouldn't just drill a screw through into an open shelf--felt way too risky for me to do something I don't really think is necessary in my setting. In any case, if I ever want to move them, I'd prefer to move individual bookshelves--once these are bolted together no one would be moving them anywhere. 

I did, however, use 3M strips between the tops of the bookshelves and the melanine top to keep the top from slipping. It's actually heavy enough that it hasn't slid on me much over the last several months anyway, but once in awhile if I leaned way in to square up a corner of a quilt or something, it would start to slip a little. Four of the long 3M strips, one near each corner, seems to be holding it just dandy, and I left the tabs hanging out a little so they'll be easy to remove if I ever have to move this thing. You can't see the tabs in the front which is the only part anyone else ever sees.

A tip here, if you make one yourself--I lined up the top so it's flush with the back edge and has a couple of inches overhang on the front edge, where I stand to cut. I figured that gave me a little bit of toe-kick room. It's very comfortable.

Because of the space in my room I wasn't able to leave all four sides open, but having three sides open gives me plenty of ways I can maneuver around if I'm basting or squaring up a quilt or anything that needs more elbow room. And it's so much more storage than I had before that I don't cry about losing the bookshelves that are facing the wall. The shelving on the back side has proven to be a great place to stash some office-related stuff I never had storage room for before, such as off-season storage for the little space heater I use at my feet in the winter, some extra power strips, hand weights that never get used but always live in hope...

Look at all that lovely surface space! That's a 36x24" cutting mat.

Look at all that lovely surface space! That's a 36x24" cutting mat.

Mostly, I just love how much room I now have on top. If I recall all the measurements, it's only a few inches larger than my old Joann's cutting table, but what a difference that few inches makes! You may be able to tell from the pictures that it faces my office desk: When I'm going to be in a long cutting session, I take my computer monitor from my desk and put it on the far side of my cutting table so I can watch Netflix, Craftsy classes, or The Quilt Show. It's big enough, of course, that I have to be careful not to let it get too stacked up with stuff. Every now and then I have to go through and sort out piles around the edges and get things put away. But still, I love that stuff can get stacked up and I *still* have plenty of room to work!

So, it may not be a quilt, but it's a finish. And it's a finish that feels like a gift that just keeps on giving...


OT: A Weekend Jaunt (No Quilting Involved)

Although the now-traditional Memorial Day Sew-In (#MDSI) was alive and well this weekend, I was unable to participate because I was off doing other things. DH and I have been ships passing in the night the last several weeks due to both of our travel schedules and evening work engagements and such, so we took a slightly-spur-of-the-moment trip up to Stratford, Ontario, for the Shakespeare Festival. My husband did the math for how long our relationship with Stratford was...math that can only make one feel very old. Stratford was our first big consistent weekend trip when we were first together. We were laughing this past weekend about how in some ways, we "grew up" at Stratford. We attended plays there almost every year for the first 12-15 years of our marriage before we switched to going to Niagara on the Lake (also in Ontario) more frequently. Now that our kids are (sort of) launched, we've decided to start a new tradition of going to Stratford in the spring/early summer and staying with NOTL for our anniversary weekend in the fall. Nice bookends to the season.

We left Friday afternoon--after a rather tempestuous morning involving having to put in an emergency call to the plumber. Ahem.

Fortunately, what looked at first like it would be hugely expensive and quite possibly require ripping out a lot of the tiling in our upstairs bathroom turned out to be a simple and inexpensive fix.

At least, plumbing-wise. The ceiling may be another matter. (No tiling was harmed in the making of this photo.) But we'd planned on getting some painting done anyway, so this probably just pushed the matter up a bit on our timetable. In any case, we were able to leave on vacation only about 90 minutes later than we'd planned; we still made our dinner reservations in Stratford Friday night.

Also despite a very rainy Friday, the rest of our weekend was absolutely perfect weather-wise. Mid-to-high 70s, brilliant sun, gorgeous. We went paddleboating on the Avon River (yes, it's really called that in Ontario, too) Saturday morning, saw "Crazy for You" Saturday afternoon, and "King Lear" Saturday night. Long day, but really nice. Both performances were phenomenal, although I have to admit that "Crazy for You" was a bit more fun. "King Lear" is, of course, just all-out depressing (spoiler alert: just about everyone dies), but it was very well performed and included Colm Feore in the lead.

There are no shows on Sunday so we were able to just "chillax," do more walking in the sun, have leisurely meals, and even spend a couple of hours in our little coach-house studio suite at the B&B reading. Perfect vacation. We zoomed home on Monday to make it in time for a ballgame with DH's family--we have a minor league team here in my hometown. Again, perfect weather.

The results of the weekend are (1) a more relaxed spirit, (2) a renewed memory of how much we love plays at Stratford, (3) fun times with family, and (4) a little bit of a sun tan to start the season.

Here's the photo gallery:

Retreat Report with Pics!

To listen to my report on last weekend's guild retreat, check out the latest episode of my podcast. Meanwhile, here are a few pics! This isn't the complete photo-report as some projects will be photographed later.

So, for now, here are the blocks I finished on my jelly roll sampler, a project that's been in the works for a few years.

Jelly Roll Sampler block 10

Jelly Roll Sampler block 10

Jelly Roll Sampler block 11

Jelly Roll Sampler block 11

Jelly Roll Sampler block 12

Jelly Roll Sampler block 12

And, ta da, all 12 blocks together. Approximately three years of piecing. (Well, okay, three years of a couple of hours at a time on retreats.) As you can see, it's mostly a low-volume quilt although that dark burgundy fabric really jumps out in these pictures. It's not quite that stark in real life. I'm going to let these blocks brew on my shelf for a bit until I have time to get them to a quilt shop to find the perfect sashing/border fabric. 

Sorry, I really don't remember the name of the jelly roll. By 2011 when I started this it had already been on my shelf for awhile, and I may have inherited from my Mom. So who knows hold old the line is now?

Here's the (in)famous scrap bag/pin cushion retreat project. And yes, true to what I said in my podcast that my friend would be able to finish the second one off right-quick, she's already emailed me that it's done.


Here's the electric seam ripper I talked about on my blog--this was my friend's (I took the picture at retreat). I immediately came home and ordered one for myself. I've got it in hand now, although haven't had to rip a seam out with it yet!

And you know what else I figured out? I've been thinking about getting one of those seam rippers that has the big eraser-like knob on the end that helps you get the broken thread pieces out of the seam after you're done ripping it. Well, I discovered on retreat that the end of my Fons & Porter stiletto works the same way!

I just held it like an eraser, rubbed it across the threads in the seam lines, and they brushed right off. O, joy! I just saved myself $7 or whatever that other seam ripper costs. Let's not do the math with what I just spent on the electric seam ripper, though.

And here's a general photo gallery of shots from around the grounds. A couple are panoramic if they work well in this gallery setting. Also, I discovered I could mess with the panoramic feature on the phone, so there are a couple of photos that I've entitled "When Worlds Collide" and "The Edge of the Earth." See if you can figure out which they are.

Lancaster Report--Part 3 (The Haul)

Friday, Day 3 (with some Saturday, Day 4--homeward bound) thrown in

Friday was my day to see the show and visit the vendors. It was a very nice show, although relatively small. We started when the show opened in the morning and were able to see all the quilts by about lunch time--and that wasn't rushing through. I spent quite a bit of time studying a few that particularly held my interest.

I didn't check into the online posting rules for the show, so I'm not going to risk posting any photos here. Sorry about that. To tell the truth, though, I didn't even take that many pictures. After having seen a few national shows now, I have learned that I rarely actually go back to look at my photos later. I think I took all of about five photos of quilts with details I wanted to remember for my future reference later (you know, the " did they do that?" photos). Indeed, I'd even handed off my good camera to my friend who'd accidentally left hers back in the hotel, and she was snapping left and right so I knew I'd eventually see the pics anyway.

I did get to see Katie's Corgi Fairytale quilt hanging--it's always a thrill to see a name you recognize!

I really enjoyed the show--the fact that it was small actually made it more manageable for me. I love Houston but I have to break the show up into segments so I don't get over-stim. There was a partial display of the applique quilts from Cairo that I'd seen in Paducah--it was nice seeing some of those again. They're beautiful. There was a nice inclusion of art quilts alongside the traditional, and there was a modern quilt challenge (where Katie's quilt was included). So, for a smaller show, they did a good job--in my opinion, anyway--of keeping it diverse.

And then, of course, the vendors! You've already seen my purchase from ProChemical and Dye in a previous post. Here are pics of everything else that came with me.

Clarification: Most of this was purchased at the show, but we also visited Burkholder's Fabrics on the way home on Saturday based on several listener recommendations, and I included all of my purchases from both places together in the photos.

I've seen this batting sampler at every show I've been to. The first time, I thought, "Why would I want that?" (I was a pretty new quilter at the time.) The second time, I thought, "I could see where that would come in handy, but no." The third time, I thought, "I think I'd like to get that, but I'll wait and see." When I went back to the booth later, they were out. This time, the first time I saw them, I grabbed it and paid. I'm going to use it to practice machine quilting at the same time as I experience the different types of batting.

In the same vein, I'd decided I would pick up a variety of threads at this show--also to use in my FMQ practice so I could easily test them out.

I got some bobbin threads in neutrals, some pretties and variegateds, and a few that were the ends of spools from the manufacturers (think: remnants). The remnant spools were sold three to a bag for something like $5.

Next, I picked up some great fabric scraps from a Thai fabric vendor. If I recall, everything in the bag (the stuff in the pile in the picture) was cotton but the rolled fabrics are nubby silk.

Boy, that was a fun booth. I could've bought a lot more but I restrained myself.

Way back in a dark and very chilly corner was a great vendor who met my needs for small bunches of funky yarn to use as embellishments. And he had a great accent, as he was from Australia. (@ozzypip!) Again, I could've bought a lot more but restrained myself. I picked up everything in the center and right from him. He told me he'd bought that wool right off the sheep. I responded, "Wow! She's a pretty sheep then, all burgundy like that." He looked at me blankly and said, "I dyed the wool after it was off the sheep." Okay, so he didn't get my joke. I'll assume he was just tired at the end of a long week.

The embroidery threads on the left were from a different vendor specializing in felted wool projects. I don't know if you can see it in this picture but the threads I bought from her are all really gorgeous variegated colors. Very subtle, but yummy.

Next up, fat quarters. I only purchased the four African fat quarters in the center--referred to in my previous blog post about my string star quilt. The fat quarters on the left were from BFF/BQF Katie who had gotten them from somewhere but they weren't to her taste, so she offered them to me if I was interested. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but they'd make a cute donation something-or-other. The batiks on the right were also a gift that all three of us received and divided up between us.

In the "Less Interesting but Useful" category comes my collection of tools n' notions.

A few new stabilizers, another marking pencil and different colored refills, some tulle to use in upcoming projects, thread cards for future reference, and a big ol' jug of my favorite scent of Mary Ellen's Best Press: Cherry Blossom. The only LQS that carries jugs of MEBP up here only carries the unscented, which is fine, but I do love me some cherry blossom. Well timed, too, since I used the last little bit of my previous jug of MEPB pressing the hand-dyeds from Frieda's class.

Oh--speaking of Frieda's class--I found a picture of a couple more fabrics I dyed there that I'd forgotten to include. I did two fat quarters "pot luck" style. IOW, I took some of the leftover dye from a couple of the gradations and dumped it on fabric in a baggie. They're not great on their own, but will make good backgrounds for practicing machine quilting.

Yep, I did get a couple of books. One is on Shibori techniques for hand-dyeing, something I'll be playing with this spring. The other is one that Katie found for me at Burkholders. You all complain about me spending your money--Katie is great at spending mine! Sue Spargo's stitching book is pricey, but fantastic. I'll be talking about it in my next podcast episode as I'm already using it.

Finally, this wasn't at all quilt related but it was something I couldn't resist. I've become a scarf/shawl person. They're great for travelers; when you spend so much of your time on planes and in conference rooms you never know whether you're going to be brutally hot or freezing cold. The secret is dressing in layers and having shawls that you can wrap up in or stuff in your purse. I have a bunch of shawls that I travel with, and I couldn't resist adding this gorgeous one to my collection.

I can't wear most wool, but this one was goat's wool and not at all itchy. I'm in serious love. (And, for once, in this vendor's booth I was able to spend Katie's money as I talked her into buying a different beautiful wrap that she'll be able to wear to the office.)

Friday evening

Friday night, Lori and I attended Ami Simm's "Worst Quilt in the World with a Gong Show Twist" presentation. It was an absolute hoot, and I ended up taking photos for Ami on her iPhone because I was the only one who'd admit to knowing how to use one after she stood there for a few seconds waiting for a volunteer! (Here's hoping the pictures came out!)

It was a great show, as we'd expected. Ami is a hoot. Have I said that before?

Saturday, Heading Home

We'd originally planned to go home on Sunday but by Friday night, the three of us decided we'd done everything we'd wanted to do at the show. None of us had signed up for anything on Saturday. So we decided to leave a day early and take our time getting home. We had breakfast at the Tomato Pie Cafe in Lititz, recommended to us by a Lancaster Visitor's Bureau volunteer at the show. And she did not steer us wrong! It was fantastic! I had a "flipper" (which is their name for an omelette) with goat cheese and roasted beets. A-freaking-mazing. We ate breakfast at 9a and didn't need to stop for lunch until 3!

Lititz is a lovely little town--definitely a place we'd visit again.

But then, there's Burkholders. Despite my GPS lady completely losing us in the countryside, we found our way there and I had the joy of my second meet-up of the week!

Great to meet Torie (@torieQWQ) and Nicole (@1c4quilting)! And Nicole's daughter who was our photographer and shall remain nameless for safety reasons, but was absolutely lovely and I had a good time with her too.

And then we were home again home again, jiggity jig.

I enjoyed Lancaster and will most definitely be going back again in the future!

Lancaster Report--Part 2

And there was night, and there was dawn, and so begins...

Day 2 (Thursday)

Mad Quilt Scientist in her element!

Mad Quilt Scientist in her element!

On the second full day of Quilt Week, Lori and I were both in Frieda Anderson's dye class for the whole day. (Lori has some pictures on her camera--when I get them, I'll post them here.)

Since I'm familiar with Frieda's dye method (I own her book), I wasn't really expecting to learn anything new. I was looking forward to spending the day playing in dye, and I was looking forward to doing it with one of my BFF/BQFs. We were to be paired up in the class, so Lori and I got to work together. Lori has done a little dyeing but not as much as me, so when Frieda suggested that one person of each pair would be the "clean person" and the other the "dirty person" in the morning, and then switch roles in the afternoon, I offered to Lori that she could be Dirty Girl all day. That actually worked quite well for us because we were able to get into quite the effective rhythm once we both got the hang of our roles. And yes, I was thinking ahead. Now I get to call her Dirty Girl next time we're in a guild meeting. FTW.

The only slight hitch was that there was a mistake in the supply list. The list had said to bring one bucket and one dishpan to share per pair; Frieda had actually wanted us to each bring one, so we'd have two per pair. That created a little bit of an issue with keeping our work stations clean because we ended up having a very small container to use as our rinse pan, and a small bowl for smooshing the fabric around in the dye before putting it in its final transport container.

The other small hitch was that Frieda had adjusted her plans for the class and rather than doing two gradations, with a total of 24 fabrics, she decided we'd do four gradations, 48 fabrics total. I had enough fabric with me to do that if I split them into smaller pieces, but Frieda had shipped extra fabric for the class so I bought some off her to be able to do 48 fat quarters rather than having to do some fat-eighths. The only reason it became a hitch was that I'd brought 24 containers with seals for transporting the fabrics home. Fortunately, I'd also thrown a couple of boxes of Zip-locs in the car in case we didn't have enough space for me to use the containers. Lori and I both had all our fabrics in the baggies at the end, which meant two large garbage bags filled with wet fabric in baggies. It could've been a recipe for disaster but it mostly worked out okay.

We labeled all the fabrics 1-12 for each gradation, but as I've talked about in previous hand-dyeing posts in this blog, black sharpie tends to disappear when you're dyeing dark colors. When I washed my fabrics at home, I lost several of the markings. Therefore, in this "Reveal" photo, I made my best guess at where some of the fabrics belong in the gradation. Ultimately it doesn't matter since I'll be breaking up the fabrics to use them anyway. I may do the gradations again sometime at home when I can control the results better, and label them more permanently for my records.

Meanwhile, aren't they pretty?

The first one on the left is"cool" yellow, red, and blue; the second set is that same set of colors diluted for pastels. The third set is a "warm" yellow, red, and blue; the fourth set is those warm colors mixed with black.

No, I didn't really learn anything new in the class, other than confirming for myself that I hate using baggies in dyeing. Give me a nice, hard-sided sealable container any day. But I really enjoyed Frieda Anderson. She's very laid back and funny, a great teacher (there were lots of dyeing newbies in the room and she did very well with them), and had lots of extra supplies for those of us, ahem, who may have had to grab a garbage bag out of the hotel on the way to class to use as a table covering only to find out it wasn't waterproof and was letting dye through onto the table underneath. In any case, I'd look forward to taking a class with her again.

And I just had to do her the favor of buying serious yardage of PFD fabric off her at the end of class, just so she wouldn't have to ship as much home. I'm such a kind person, really. Goodness of my heart n' all that.

By the way...all those raveled threads you have to yank off the edge of the fabric after it's been through the laundry?


Even if you just stash it in a jar and call it "decor," you're going to enjoy it. But oh, the things I can do with a wad of pretty thread!

So now, perhaps, you can understand why I hit a particular vendor at Lancaster before I even got to Lancaster...

(Some of these are simply replacing colors I'm nearly out of, some are new. Plus I bought samplers of acid dyes to use on wool, and a marbeling kit. Play Day!)

None of us had anything on the schedule for Thursday night so we hung out at the pool and actually got a decently-early bedtime. Friday was the first time I was actually going to see the show, so I was jazzed. Stay posted for another update...

Lancaster update

I don't have the pics off my camera yet but just posting a fast Lancaster update, while still in Lancaster!

So far, I've made all the blocks for the center of a string star quilt with Ami Simms, dyed 48 pieces of fabric with Frieda Anderson, met and had lunch with two lovely women, saw presentations by eight teachers on their latest techniques (and really want to make that great fast quilt technique that Billie Lauder showed us to make a donation baby quilt!), played for a few minutes on a couple of longarms in vendor booths during the 20 minutes I actually stepped foot in the show hall, and met up with four listeners--Judy, Julie, Jill, and Sarah, and try saying that three times fast.

Have I seen the show yet? Of course not. I've spent both days I've been here so far in class, and the show ends shortly after the afternoon classes release. So today (Friday) is my show day--finally! I may try to tweet some pics as I'm able; depends on how engrossed I get in what I'm looking at. I haven't spent much time with the vendors yet, although I bought a bunch of yardage of PFD fabric off of Frieda after class today. (I really was just trying to do her a favor so she wouldn't have to ship it home. Really.)

Our Saturday schedule is still up in the air--we're all going to see what we feel like at the end of today. I hope to be able to meet up with two more listeners (you know who you are!) sometime on Saturday--I'm staying in touch with them on Twitter to figure out the wheres and whens.

Our hotel is very nice and downtown Lancaster is lovely, so we're having a great time. Well, except our rotating schedule of which one of us gets to sleep on the air mattress. In any case, I'll do a full report after I get home, of course. Just figured I'd give you a quick preview!

As a note, Craftsy is having a sale this weekend--classes up to 50% off. You might want to check it out!

(Transparency: Clicking on Craftsy links or banners on this site help support this blog. Thank you!)

Lancaster Meet-Up

Okay, y'all: I just sent an email to everyone who contacted me with their availability for the meet-up at the AQS Quiltweek in Lancaster this week. So check your email!

If you didn't get an email and are planning on being there (especially on Wednesday, hint hint), be sure to email me or tweet me (@sandyquiltz). If you leave a comment on this blog post, I'll get it that way too, though if I don't have your email address I won't be able to get in touch with you.

At last count, there could be seven of us at the meet-up--Woohoo!!!!