Monday, April 20, 2009

Over my head

A quick review of the calendar reveals way too many events and projects for the month ahead. I'm thinking of purchasing (I almost said "making," but that would be one more project!) one of those desk-sized calendars with the giant squares that would let me map out my time right there in front of my nose. I've been using Google Calendar, but my success with that is limited as I forget to look at it and tend to ignore the annoying reminders I tell it to send me.

Focusing on today, I need to:
  1. Get the grocery shopping done
  2. Tidy the house and clean the most disgusting parts of it
  3. Organize my sewing area so I can start my secret project
  4. Do the paperwork and pay the bills
  5. Get errands done: dry cleaning, post office, day camp registration
I already have a jump start on #1, because it's

Monday -- Crock Pot Pizza Fondue, Italian Bread, Broccoli

Tuesday -- Chicken Piccatta (Trader Joe's sauce), Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday -- Hamburgers, French Fries, Apple and Banana Slices

Thursday -- Crock Pot Garlic Pork Roast, Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Peppers

Friday -- Breaded Chicken Tenderloins, Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Applesauce, Corn

Saturday -- Clean Out Refrigerator Night

Sunday -- Ham Steak, Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Beans

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Down by the riverside

Yesterday was by far the best, most beautiful day of the year. D and I took a walk downtown to check out the moving sale at Olde City Quilts -- they will be relocating just a few yards closer to the river, so I did not have to feel sad to see them go; instead I joyfully gathered quilting fabric remnants into my arms until I could hold no more, and headed out with a sack of fun and interesting additions to my stash that I otherwise would not have been able to afford.

We had lunch at Legends, a local gourmet pizza place that specializes in fancy pies named for celebrities. Neither of us was feeling adventurous, so we just had ordinary individual pita pizzas, but one day I'd like to go back and try the Don Ho -- pineapple, apple smoked bacon, mandarin orange (I could skip that part) and fontina cheese. Yum!

From there I decided to push my luck with D and beg to stop in the new (to me -- it's been there a year and a half, I found out when I asked the owner!) sewing/fabric store on the corner "for just a quick run-through." It's a good thing he had his Android phone with him to play with because I was in there for at least forty-five minutes, touching fabric and touching it again and pulling bolts out and juxtaposing them and squealing at the pretty notions and the sample projects. I was grateful to be the only one in the store, so I could fall all over myself without getting embarrassed.

The store is called Just Make It ... Sew and is truly an enchanting place for a textile-crafter to wander through ! The rooms are bright and airy with a wonderful selection of elegant and touchable fabrics gorgeously arranged, and the owner -- whose name I neglected to ask in my excitement -- gave me just the right amount of space. I clucked and fussed over her Amy Butler Midwest Modern prints, trying to match one or two with some lovely bright soft linens that were on sale. I did find two combinations that I liked, and bought fabric to make hooded towels, along with some thread for my big secret quilting project. I will definitely go back there to shop and I am excited that the store offers sewing lessons too!

(In celebration of the weather and the fabric and the end of Spring Break, we stopped at Umm's Ice Cream Parlor for the first time this season. Huzzah! is all that need be said about that, I think. We ate our ice cream as we walked home by the Delaware River. I ask you, could it possibly get better than that?)

When we got home I did some fulling of a couple of pieces of wool suiting I bought a while back that I thought I might turn into blankets. The final texture and amount of shrinkage surprised me. I need to keep practicing until this process becomes really familiar to me, at which point I'm sure something else will have come up which fascinates me more.

Here is the first hooded towel that I made. I under-bought the cotton fabric and had to make the whole thing smaller than I normally would have, but that's okay because this project is meant for a newborn-to-6-month-old and they have such little bitty heads that would get lost in a giant hoodie anyway. Since the baby is due in July I thought it would be nice to have a cooling towel/blanket, and this one fits the bill nicely -- both the linen and cotton layers are smooth and moisture wicking, and they both lack the nappiness of the flannel and terrycloth that I normally use, which keep a child warm but also retain moisture. This will be a quick-drying towel or a light-layer blanket.

What about Studio Saturday, you ask? Believe it or not, I accomplished my goals! I had a nasty bout with insomnia last night anyway, so around 4am I took apart the desk (don't ask what I had to do to find a flat head screwdriver. Why would you use all the flat head screwdrivers and then scatter them all over the house so no one else can find one when they need it? I'm asking you, D!) and moved it into K's room (she was with Grandma & Grandpa,) then put it back together and emptied my closet. D measured for shelves in the late afternoon. Mission accomplished! Woot!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

A full plate

What a fun day we had yesterday!  The sun finally came out and we took a friend to lunch, then bought tulips at Trader Joe's and met a new 5-year-old friend who lives two doors down and has a lovely family and a fun swing set to boot.  I think this could be the beginning of Something Good.

While all that was going on I was busy not planning my week, so now it is Free Play Friday and I have yet to Think It Through.  I'm afraid that, this week, I have extremely high hopes and dreams and may find it difficult to stay realistic, but I will give it a shot:

Free Play Friday is a catch-up day and will probably see very little crafting -- I need to pull the house together as best I can for the busy week to come.

Studio Saturday means getting my old desk moved into K's room once and for all!  Then D and I will empty the closet and do proper measuring for custom shelves, which we will purchase at a later date -- maybe in a week or two.  Not sure if we should install them before or after painting.  Suggestions?  (Will also be purchasing fabric for a large new project -- what fun!  I'm being deliberately cryptic about the nature of the project, except that it's a full-sized quilt, because it is a gift.)

Stick-with-it Sunday will have to be forfeited this week, as my sister and nephew will be visiting and family comes first.  Any available time will be spent making the current sewing room as functional as possible for making a full-sized quilt.

Mix-it-up Monday will of course include a menu plan for the week -- the wheels are starting to turn about that, and I hope to include at least one meal that K can help prepare now that I've bought an electric skillet to help make things easier for her.  Will continue to prepare the sewing room for the new quilt -- I want this project to run like clockwork!

Try-it-out Tuesday is the day the beginners' knitting group meets at the county library headquarters, so I hope to attend that.  Otherwise the day will be completely given over to the full-sized quilt -- sewing the panels together and beginning to pin the sandwich.

Works-in-progress Wednesday looks like it will be an exercise in will power -- I may need to set a timer so that I'll be working half time on the new project and half time on older ones, just to keep myself on task.  I want to go through my Crochet-WIP basket to see whether there is some yarn I can give away to buy myself some space; I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating that I just don't enjoy working with yarn the way I once did.

I'll include Think-it-through Thursday because it's a no-brainer:  I'm just going to work on my full-sized quilt until I'm done.  The project instructions say to give it about 10 hours, so I'm figuring on about 24 of my own working hours to get it done properly.  I think I have enough time to get it done -- I'll keep you posted!

What's on your plate for the weekend to come?  Got any plans spilling over into next week?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The overseas contingent

These are the last of the felt rabbits -- the ones who seemed a bit wonky next to their pastel cousins or who just plain didn't fit in with the in crowd. Together they form their own brand of post-Easter cool-cat nonchalance, and I like it way more than I'd thought I would. So when a foreign friend asked if she could have one of the "Easter rejects," it seemed natural that they should all go together. I hope she doesn't mind.

Making the bunny bag to be their home added just the right amount of closure to the felt rabbit project; I feel I can put the felt and the floss into a box for a while now and work on something else. I love the fabric for this bag because it reminds me so much of the bunnies themselves, sort of tall and elongated with a round, flat bottom.

Now to get this project off to Australia and move on to new and exciting things. Look for a plan-it-through Thursday post later in the day. Looks like it's going to be a warm and sunny one!
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Monday, April 13, 2009

A blessed Easter

This joyful Eastertide, away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified, hath sprung to life this morrow!
Had Christ, that once was slain, ne'er burst his three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain,
But now hath Christ arisen, arisen, arisen, arisen!

G. R. Woodward , in Car­ols for East­er and Ascen­sion­tide, 1894

We could not have had a more glorious Easter. Brilliant sun, beautiful (and packed!) church service, wonderful food, family and friends. K absolutely danced through the day. Hope yours was just as lovely, whatever you did!

Here is the promised photo of the rabbit family -- final tally is twelve, not counting the one I didn't quite finish and the ones I rejected as looking a mite too ... um ... happy for a proper Easter basket.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Checking in

Ok, I am totally swamped but having the time of my life!   I admit to giving up this week's plan back on Saturday when I realized that I had not cleaned out the closet, let alone measured it properly, and we never did make it to IKEA.  And there was nothing to "stay with" on Sunday, so I let that slide, and Monday I woke up sick and went back to sleep for the rest of the day.  So I am now doing tons (if only I were exaggerating) of laundry and catching up on cleaning and still fighting this nasty bug and trying to carve out time to cook and craft and shop for the holiday. 

Despite all the misery, Try-it-out Tuesday was a rousing success.  I whipped up a cute drawstring bag to hold my quilt, which I've been toting around with me in an unsightly paper sack for a few weeks now -- that was an absolute necessity -- and an adorable head scarf from the remnants, both projects from Weekend Sewing.  I also spent some time yesterday at a beginner's knitting group at the county library headquarters, which was an absolute blast -- and with some help from an excellent teacher and this handy web page I think I may have finally figured out how to purl!  Next Christmas, socks for everyone! 

Of course, in my spare time I am still whipping out felt rabbits.  I promise to snap a photo of the whole bunny family before it goes in K's Easter basket this Sunday -- for the moment, I must go tend to the housework and shopping in the hope that I will have some time to sew something before the end of the day. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Like bunnies

Today I've been making wool felt rabbits in marvelous colors: baby blue, vanilla latte, pink, pistachio green, buttercup, lavender. They are charming to look at but take nearly an hour to complete, so they are not really multiplying like bunnies, much as I wish they would -- I've got big plans for these little guys involving certain small persons' Easter baskets.

As for the week to come:

Free play Friday will probably see me making more wool felt rabbits.

Studio Saturday will definitely involve a trip to IKEA to purchase shelving for my fabric-storage-closet.

On Stick-with-it Sunday K will be home, so no rabbits. I plan to cut out dawni's quilt that day and start piecing if there's time.

Mix-it-up Monday is also Menu Planning Monday; K would like to do some recipes out of the Sesame Street Cookbook so I will plan my mix-up accordingly. She has marked a couple of no-bake cookie selections that look, um, gross to me, so I may have to discuss some compromises with her.

Try-it-out Tuesday is being difficult for me this week -- there are so many things I want to try. I'm committing right now to trying "Jane's Head Scarf" from Weekend Sewing, but I reserve the right to give other projects a go as well.

Works-in-progress Wednesday was a bust last week. There was simply no time to do anything, so I worked a few rows on an afghan I started last summer. This week I want to take a serious look at my crocheting works-in-progress and be brutal with my surplus yarn: What am I really going to make? The rest can go to the Goodwill.

And then, Bang! Holy Week begins with Maundy Thursday. So, as usual, I have my work cut out for me. What will you be working on in the week to come?