Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Week of Not Sewing

Finally, I have come to the conclusion that I can either run errands and cook dinner after work, or I can come home and get some sewing done after work. Can't do all three. It just isn't happening.

Tonight, Jack is bringing home dinner and I hope to utilize the extra time to get a little sewing done. On the other hand, we've been eating pretty well around here this week - broiled tilapia on Monday and steak and potatoes on Tuesday. It was so tasty, I almost signed up for instagram.

But check out my little frog that I've been working on during my lunch break!

He is almost completely finished, just needs one more set of toesies and some backstitching.

I have my serger set up and so I hope to get a couple pairs of garb pants put together tonight. And I've been promised an archery lesson.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tropical Storm Ragnarok XXVIII

Last year at Ragnarok we were hit by a huge thunderstorm with tropical storm winds and drenching rains. It was hilarious in retrospect but a bit of a nightmare at the time. We had one canopy bend in half and catch a power line. Tents flooded, collapsed, and down the hill some people had tents floating away. The remaining canopies we had to physically hold down during the storm to keep them from blowing away. The destruction was widespread across the entire campground and fortunately, (to the best of my knowledge) no one was seriously injured.

The next day was spent cleaning up. It took just about all day. Oh, and it rained again. And again the next day. And at least once a day thereafter until the end of the week. I don't think we dried out completely for the remainder of the trip. To be honest, by the time we were done cleaning up, I was ready to pack everything back in the car and go home where it was dry and warm, with electricity and hot showers and TV.

We did learn a lot about surviving wild thunderstorms while camped at the top of a large hill. Rule number one is use the guy-lines and heavy duty stakes (We upgraded all of our stakes after this). Rule number two is when a storm is going to hit, collapse those canopies to the shortest height possible and extend those guy lines. Rule number three - build a gigantic bonfire before the storm hits and it will still be burning when all is said and done.

Several of us thought that those attending Ragnarok in the Kingdom of Akron earned a merit badge for surviving the tropical storm. I started designing it yesterday during our group work session.

Since I'm now designing my own patterns, there are a couple of lessons regarding this that I'd like to pass on.

1. Keep a notebook and GOOD notes. Write down every step you do. Edit as needed, because your design WILL evolve. Pay attention to dimensions and in what order the steps need to be sewn. For example, I learned that the bias tape would have to be applied first.

2. Make a rough approximation of the pattern. Try different things to get the effect or design you want but only invest enough time to figure out a plan. The applique above is the second technique I attempted and the one we decided to go with. Additionally, the belt flag is the second size we tried. Rather than reapplique from the beginning, I cut up the first design one to make the second.

3. Make one good final product before mass production.

One down, seventeen to go!

Here's hoping that this year will have calmer weather.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Frogs and Apple Trees

Look! Baby thyme plants!

They are the first of my herbs to sprout. I don't like the little containers I have them in though, the soil seems to dry out very quickly.

Still haven't been getting much sewing done, spending my time cleaning the house and then cross-stitching when I need wind-down time.

Progress as of Monday
Progress as of today

I even ended up picking up one to keep at work. I get an hour long lunch and usually end up just browsing online during that hour. This week I decided not to waste my time anymore and I picked up this little project.

Additionally, my apple tree came in the mail! I need to get it planted tomorrow so that it doesn't dry out too much. Happy Weekend all!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gardening Newbie in the House

I'm the first to admit that I know next to nothing about gardening. I'm winging it. But for the first time since I moved out of my parents home at the ripe old age of almost nineteen, I'm pretty sure I'm not moving again for at least a few years.

So I decided to start a garden this year. I plan to put in a raised garden area just outside my patio door and I ordered a honeycrisp apple tree root! It will take 2-3 years to start producing fruit but then we will have our own apples.

First steps were taken today when I started some herbs that I will eventually transplant to the outdoors.

They are living in the only window that gets a decent amount of sun (although of course there isn't really any today.) I planted chives, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and basil. Keep your fingers crossed. They aren't supposed to sprout for a couple of weeks.

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday

There hasn't been a lot of sewing going on this week but I haven't been idle either. I've been cleaning and de-junking the house. Yesterday, I was able to put out eight boxes and bags for Purple Heart to pick up.

Yes, I was so geeked to get rid of these things that I had to take a picture of it. I was rather dismayed to see that it had snowed overnight, although fortunately it was just a dusting and it melted very quickly once the sun came up.

The terrible lighting I can blame on the fact that the pictures were taken at 7 am.

During the Great DeJunkng Process I discovered this project.

This cross-stitch project is possibly my oldest UFO ever. I don't know exactly when I started it, except that it was before I moved to Texas in eighth grade. A librarian at Oak Park Public Library had stumbled across a crafting store that was going out of business and acquired a couple boxes worth of cross-stitch projects which she passed along to my mom. This was one of them. That makes the project, at minimum, 16 years old. I think I had plans to finish it and gift it to my grandmother who taught me to cross-stitch. While that opportunity is long passed, I decided to finish it anyway and stuck it next to my TV chair. I've been working on it on and off during this week and am happy to say I've made some good progress. I finished the top flower and started filling in the middle flowers.

This project is kind of nice because it only has about 10 colors, making it a much simpler cross-stitch than the kind I usually find myself working with.

Linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday @ Kathy's Quilts