Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We've lost our house....

Things have not really gone as planned this month.  I had lots of ideas and sewing goals that have been stopped by the painters.  Now, this is a good thing in the long run because our house will be lovely when it's all finished.  But, I had no idea that we would pretty much be confined to the two rooms not being painted - everything is swathed in plastic, drop clothes, and cardboard!  They are almost finished and we will be recovering a few rooms this evening when they are done cleaning up and (hopefully) the rest in just a few more days.

Yes, that is my favorite shade of green on those walls!  Most of the house is pretty neutral (brown) but I did convince Will to let me throw some color in here and there - the bathroom and laundry room on the first floor are green, Sweet Pea's room is yellow, and the kids bath upstairs is a steel blue.  Eventually (hopefully some time next year), we will be redoing some of the kitchen and will also put some color on those walls as well (kitchen/family room was one of the two not painted since we were hoping to do some work on it soon).

Dominic and I have been spending lots of time away from the house at parks, malls, museums, play groups, etc so there hasn't been much sewing going on.  However, I did make time to sit in front of the fireplace and work on his Halloween costume. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quilting "on-the-go"

Recently, Jessica over at Life Under Quilts, blogged about quilting "on-the-go".  I identify a lot with her post because I too have a travel quilting project that I work on while "on-the-go". 

Crafting in public is usually accepted if your are knitting or crocheting.  You see people in parks, coffee shops, on buses, waiting in airports, etc doing this type of public crafting.  But, it's really rather strange to quilt in public and I don't really get why (except that maybe it's not that trendy?) and English Paper Piecing is PERFECT for quilting "on-the-go".  I first saw a woman on a New York City bus quilting some time in late 2006 (maybe early 2007) and I thought it was neat - at the time I had no idea what she was doing was called English Paper Piecing but I though it was really neat and the idea stuck with me. 

Crafting "on-the-go" is no new idea to me - I've been crocheting in public since I learned how to do it in elementary school but it took me until 2009 to start quilting in public. After the birth of my son I found myself spending a lot of time in parks and sitting in the car while he slept and/or played.  I started off crocheting but was looking for something new to try when I started looking around the internet and came across some sites for English Paper Piecing and remember the woman I had seen a few years earlier.  My hexagon "diamond" project started on Father's Day weekend in 2009 and I've been going strong since then - it's not a fast activity but it is "pieceful" and rewarding.

I started off with 1 inch hexagons and things have progressed from there to two inch 60 degree diamonds.  I carry all my supplies in a small lunch box that is easy to take everywhere (except on the airplane since they won't let you take scissors or needles on the plane).  I usually get stares and the occasional questions about it when people see me - part of it I think is that quilting in general is seen as something done by "old women" and I'm a young quilter.  The strangest comment I've ever had is when an older woman approached me in our neighborhood park in NY. Dominic and I had gone for a walk and he had fallen asleep in the stroller so I found a nice sunny spot to sit and sew while he napped and was approached by this woman who asked what I was doing (she seemed to walk in the park around the same time of day that we did so she had seen me doing this several times).  After I told her she stared at me for a few minutes and then started laughing and walked away.  I guess she thought I was crazy.

Being the stay-at-home Mother of a small child means lots of time at the park and naps in the car (planned or otherwise) so I have lots of time to quilt in the car and around town.  =)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love fall!

I love fall - it is my favorite season of all.  The weather is wonderful with cool, crisp mornings and sunny, warm afternoons.  It's great to bundle up a little bit with sweaters, scarfs, and boots but still nice enough to go for long walks and play outside.  And, the food, how do I love it.  All my favorites come out this time of year - pumpkin (in just about any form), steaming hot bowls of stew, winter squash, fresh apples, fresh cranberries, hot apple pie, savory nuts, hot apple cider, Halloween candy, and the list can go on.  We went pumpkin picking two weekends ago and will be apple picking this past weekend so there is lots of food prep going on around here (apple cider jelly will be made soon - yummy).

One of my favorite parts is, of course, the changing of the trees.  There is hardly anything so pretty in all of nature (although I do admit that it was way prettier in NY and I do miss NY a lot right now).

And, last but not least, it's crochet and quilt weather.  I find myself sewing and crocheting so much this time of year.  The weather just says you need something warm to wrap around you and snuggle under.  =)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quilt Guild

This past Saturday the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild had their October sewing meeting.  It was fun and inspirational as always.  It's so nice to be able to get together and quilt with people in real life.  I had one real life quilting friend until I met Jessica in New York.  Most of my instructions, inspiration, and advice came from the internet and library books until I joined this group.  Being able to see in person how something is done or how other people work is very helpful and leads me to ideas of my own that I'm not sure I would have made it to otherwise.  And, these women are doing some really amazing quilts.

I accomplished a lot too!  I finished the top to my fall quilt and was able to finish piecing my tree wall hanging and start the quilting on it.  Will was a great husband and took Dominic all day (from 10am to 4pm) and left me with the group to sew and chat all day.  It was wonderful.  =)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My hexagon "diamonds" quilt is coming along nicely.  I took a break from it for a few weeks because it's really gotten too big to travel with since I am down to adding on the border pieces (not to mention that the move and unpacking the house was crazy).  I'd like to get half the border done this month and the second half done in November so that I can start quilting on it in December.  Yes, I have a plan and I'm going to stick with it - my WIP list is getting a bit long and I am now several gift quilts behind (sorry Beth and baby Jerrick - they are almost done I promise!).

It's been fun doing this quilt.  I wasn't really sure if I was going to like English Paper Piecing when I started it and thought that I might only end up with a pretty pillow cover but I've found it very enjoyable and relaxing.  And, it such an easy thing to travel with.  =)  I've learned a lot with my first EPP quilt too. Mainly, pull your stitches tight because if you don't it will come apart and you'll have to re-do a lot of sewing (yes, my first 20-30 "diamonds" had some issues that had to be fixed later on).  Another important one is to use thread that coordinates with your fabrics - I used white thread and you can see a lot of my stitches and, from what I've seen on other's EPP projects, using colored thread hides them better.

I will continue with hexagons at a future date because I have plans for two other hexagon quilts (a half hexagon pinwheel and a traditional Grandmother's flower garden).  But, my next EPP is going to be a 60 degree diamond star quilt.  I joined a quilt along group and am just waiting for my new templates to show up in the mail to start it.  I have a large pile of scraps already pulled out of my stash.  I'm going with green, purple, and blue - some of my favorite colors.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Exciting mail

Yesterday I found an exciting package in the mailbox! Jessica sent me an orphan house block she had! It is super cute and perfect for the houses and trees quilt that I have in the works. I love the little bunny in the window. Even Dominic was excited by it:

I have no house blocks of my own yet - they are in pieces waiting to be ironed and finished. Sadly, my iron has died and I am now in search of a new one. Any suggestions?  I need one asap because I have piles of partially constructed blocks that just need to be ironed before I can move on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Green" Northwest

I haven't really been thinking about or writing about my "green" efforts lately. I think it's because it's so much easier here in the Pacific Northwest to be green that you really don't need to think about it. It's rare that you see a trash can that doesn't also have a recycling can next to it when you are out and about and it's a given that everybody recycles here. You are weird if you don't do it unlike the Northeast where you are weird if you do recycle.

Our lovely neighborhood trash company gave us this huge (same size as our trash can!) compost bin that they pick up with the trash and recycling. It's great - I can compost all kinds of things that I can't really compost in a home compost setting (commercial composters can compost things like meat and greasy pizza boxes because they get so much hotter than a small home compost pile can). I did have a home compost pile in NY which I will miss when it's time to plant some herbs and veggies in the garden in the spring but this is much nicer in the long run since I have to do nothing other than take an extra can to the curb every week. It's nice to not have to remember to turn the pile every other week and save yard trimmings and leaves in the garage so that I can add enough "brown" matter to the pile through out the year. And, it's great to be able to compost things like used paper towels, food contaminated pizza boxes (which can't be recycled because of the food and grease on them), and meat scraps. And, the recycling here is so wonderful and amazing compared to NY. I can recycle so many things here that I couldn't there - like the canned cat food cans!

Composting here is really socially accepted too! At Microsoft they use only compostable items in the cafeteria and their coffee rooms so the plates, cups, napkins, and utensils are ALL put in a compost bin and not the trash. And, one of the greatest finds in my opinion, was at a Mariner's game I went to in August with some friends (go Seattle - they won!). Everything there was also compostable - the chip bags, the plates, the cups, everything! In fact, we had to hunt around and finally ask for the location of a trash can to throw away the wrapper of a bag that we had brought into the stadium with us. How fantastic is that? People here are so welcome to and accepting of helping the environment that they don't even have trash cans at a professional baseball game! I love it. =)