Monday, November 30, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

I know this is a day late, but since the linky party is still open, I'm sure our hostess Kathy@Kathy's Quilts will forgive the late entry.

I've devoted some time over the last couple of weeks to working on Fall Fairy and made most excellent progress.

As of 11/30/15
I haven't decided whether to continue on with this or move along back to The Castle. 

I also finished a Christmas present this weekend. Here is a teaser photo, but you'll have to wait until after Christmas to see the finished product.

And I am sorry to say that I lost all steam with Nano and actually haven't done much on it since Midway Madness. But I did enjoy Nano this month and worked on my novel, and that is really what it is about.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Little Update

Last weekend I made the quilt binding from the fabric I picked up. It really came out beautiful.

Unfortunately, I'm just not happy with the way it turned out when I put it next to the quilt. The batiks don't match at all and it looks a little odd.

I think I'll see if I can dig up some pale or medium blue somewhere and use that instead. In the meantime, I have some ready made quilt binding next time I need some.

My sewing room received a thorough cleaning during the day and in the evening I played with my embroidery options for my costume dress.

One color came out too bright and the other came out too pink. I'm very happy that I tested them out before embroidering the actual dress. I'm looking for a color that blends in with the fabric somewhat, a difficult task because the fabric changes color with changing light. If anyone has any suggestions for a good burgandy/cranberry red embroidery thread, I'm looking for a new color.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, may your weekend be a blessed one, and I will see you in a few days with more crafty projects.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Sad Weekend

Sadly, we received some terrible news on Saturday evening. A young lady we knew from church passed away suddenly, leaving behind a husband and two small boys, one two years old and one just three weeks old. 

It was quite a shock and it is impossible for me to adequately explain how filled with sorrow we are. My heart breaks for her family and it is dredging up sad memories of a Thanksgiving a few years ago in which a close friend of mine died suddenly. So I would like to say something that I wish someone had said to me then. 

Wear your grief like armor, as a tribute to how amazing the person you lost was. Let it protect you as you start to heal, and never be ashamed or embarrassed by it. Don't pretend that everything is okay, because it isn't. Surround yourself with people who feel the same way and find comfort in their company. And never once think that you "should be over it by now" because you'll never get over it - you just learn to live with it.

A fundraiser has been started to support Molly's family, to help pay medical bills and funeral costs and care for her boys. It can be found here: Gifts of Love in Molly's Memory.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hunkering Down for the Weekend

We're supposed to get our first round of winter storms this weekend, landing us with any where from 3" - 7" of snow depending on who you ask. I've been thoroughly enjoying our mild November so far, a drastic change from last year, but I knew it couldn't last.

So during lunch today I ran over to pick up that half yard of fabric I needed for binding the dragon quilt. I couldn't find the same rainbow batik, but I think I came up with a decent substitute. A quick run through the washer and dryer and it will be good to go.

After work I hit the grocery store to pick up enough food to last us a few days. I'd rather not go out tomorrow while its snowing. It's usually best to give the snow plows time to clear the roads after several inches of snow. We'll be chowing down on cheesy potatoes, BLT's, and mulled cider. Yummy!

This weekend I hope to finish a Christmas present, complete the binding and label on the dragon quilt, and make good progress on Fall Fairy. Oh, and help my GW2 guild capture a Guild Hall.

My weekend project starting point

I'm getting kind of excited for next week - I've worked my last full week for the rest of the year, spreading out my remaining vacation time to make December a nice easy month. I would really love to finish my Confessor's dress costume and I think I'll be able to buckle down after Thanksgiving and give it a solid try.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday

One project is almost done and off my list. The dragon donation quilt is put together and ready for the finishing touch of binding. 

The embroidery was done using the Creature Feature design pack from Urban Threads, the fabrics were pulled from my stash.

For quilting, I just did a quick overall stipple with navy blue thread. 

I was planning on putting the binding on tonight but it turns out that I'm out of the rainbow batik and the navy blue and do not have enough of anything that matches, so I'll be making a trip to the store to buy a half yard of fabric for binding and probably have this done by the weekend.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Midway Madness

I finally made it out to a NaNoWriMoTown event! I've only been participating in  Nano for five years and never once made a write in before.

But yesterday, our coordinators put on Midway Madness, a six hour write in event (I only lasted four, but I had a great time!) about fifteen minutes away from me. I ran into a classmate from my college that I haven't seen since I graduated.

I managed to write 5000 words while I was there, we had a delicious potluck, and I made new friends. This was my most productive day yet, putting me at 13,849 words. Oh happiness!

I've added this widget to my sidebar which will automatically update my NaNo status.

My novel has already taken a couple unexpected turns, the most important being that the annoying secondary character that I was planning on killing just became the primary bad guy. It is going to take a decent amount of rewriting and editing to correct but not this month (you WriMos out there will know what I'm talking about.)

I think the next week and a half or so are going to be all about getting some projects out of my way and cleaning up the house so that I can relax and enjoy myself during Thanksgiving. I've started going through our kitchen cabinets, tossing out old spices and putting surplus kitchenware aside to donate. My sewing room is also getting cleaned up, partly because I cannot find a box of flat headed thumbtacks that I need to align my embroidery stitching.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Learning Something New

I've been thinking about the Dark Confessor's dress that I am working on and I really have fantastical visions about couture finishing and deep red intricate embroidery around the sleeves and bottom of the skirt.

The problem is that I need to learn to split and align larger designs to really make my vision into reality, something that I've been avoiding because of all the problems my embroidery machine has given me previously.

A little research and tutorial reading has made it obvious that this can be pretty complicated, depending on the pattern that you want to stitch, so I decided to simplify it a little.

Rather than attempt something complicated, I choose an embroidery pattern that would already fit into my hoop in one dimension so that I could split it in two.

I also picked this one because it had unique separate motifs, meaning I didn't have to worry about lining up a fill section. I used the freehand selection to split it into two along the vine line. The red section will stitch first, and then I'll have to rehoop and stitch the blue section.

I think the hardest part of this will be lining up the stitching in the hoop, but I'm hoping that will improve with practice.

Here is the finished first attempt. I think the bottom half is rotated or shifted slightly to the right. You can see where the bottom vine is just touching the top vine and leaf but all in all it didn't come out too bad. For this type of design, it probably doesn't matter too much.

Tomorrow, I'd like to add alignment stitches and see if I can't get it to line up just a little bit better. After that I might do a couple throw away projects from my Craftsy class to get some more practice with alignments.

Veteran's Day 2015

You have my heartfelt thanks for all you have done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's Time To Take Stock

It's time to take stock of the year and figure out what I want to do for the rest of the year. Some of my projects could really use finishing up and some are new starts.

There are a few things I would like to complete before the end of the year.

1. Four Christmas presents.
2. My dark confessor's dress. Seriously, this has dragged on long enough.
3. The dragon donation quilt, which is due at the end of January.
4. My first Kaleidoscope quilt. This needs borders and quilting and is Just For Me. Even though I've been quilting for three or four years, I've yet to keep anything for myself that is bigger than a wall hanging!

I spent yesterday evening cooking and freezing meals. I did a batch of Lasagna stuffed shells and a batch of Taco stuffed shells and a batch of chicken and dumplings for me to take to work. I'm hoping to spend a few more evenings doing this, and thus start avoiding the "I don't wanna cook dinner/Don't have anything to cook" syndrome. This past Sunday and Saturday, we managed to eat entirely out of the fridge and freezer, which was fabulous. It wasn't gourmet - Sunday evening I just reheated the frozen leftovers that I had packaged for work lunches - but it was homemade and waaaaay tastier and easier that eating out. If I can fill the freezer with stockpiled food, I'm hoping that I can focus more on other things I would like to do over the holidays, instead of constant cooking and cleaning.

I've also started thinking about which projects I may want to give priority to next year. I would love to finish The Castle cross stitch and Fall Fairy. I would like to make more progress on my Affairs of the Heart quilt, or even finish it. The Kona Sunset quilt and DP9 train quilt should be pretty quick finishes if I ever get to them. And there is of course, the visions I have in my head for a complete Dagorhir ranger kit. And I do really need to learn to split and stitch larger designs on my embroidery machine. Supposedly there is a Craftsy class to help with this. Sigh.

Anyone want to pay me to stay home and get my crafty on?? Pictures coming soon, I promise. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts. I don't always get around to this but today seemed like a good day to get a little cross stitch in. 

I've been working on The Fairy Spell by Stephen A. Roberts. 

This may look familiar to you, as this is the third time I've started this project and last time I showed a picture, it was of the lower right corner, because I was silly and decided to restart it on the opposite opposite corner of where I usually start projects.

I found it actually quite tedious to try to stitch in right to left and so I carefully counted all the way back to the upper left corner and started stitching up there.

I'm a little afraid that I counted wrong, but I won't have many stitches to take out if I did and the stitching is going much faster now. Look at all the empty space I need to fill in o_0

I've also been working on one of the Christmas presents, but I need to pick up more serger thread before I get much further. And lastly, still typing away on my Nano novel for the year, a sort of futuristic urban fantasy where I have completely leveled Detroit. ;) 6272 words and counting, so not quite keeping pace with where I should be but still swimming along. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Homemade Holiday Season

Well Halloween is officially over and now we are looking forward to the Holiday season. It was a nice and comfortable 76 degrees outside today and I am cautiously optimistic that the predictions of a mild winter may yet come to pass (although I don't expect it to be this mild all winter). Last year we had bitter cold temperatures and record setting snow.

I've already spent a few hours on Etsy searching for original handmade gifts to give out this year, as I find myself once again wondering what to give everyone for Christmas and more and more drawn to a simplistic laid back holiday. This article over at Nourishing Minimalism  kind of sums it up for me - I want something fun and relaxing and free of the gimme gimme gimme.

I have to balance this with my husband's desire to find the BEST PRESENT EVER for everyone he knows. He gets a lot of enjoyment out of trying to figure out what we can give that will put the biggest smile on a recipient's face. We are both especially vulnerable when it comes to buying presents for our niece, whom we adore and like to shower her with presents on her birthday and Christmas.

Plus, I've really come to resent how Christmas now starts before Halloween. I've seen the stores stocking Christmas items for a few weeks now. Really? Three months of any holiday is more than I can take.

I could honestly spend hours here elaborating on why Holidays are more tiring than fun and how much I don't like the clutter that accumulates but I'm sure you can find dozens of articles on those topics and I don't really need to go into it.

I am determined to enjoy the holidays this year and also avoid the yearly credit card trap, so towards that end I've picked out some useful, handmade gifts that I will be attempting to make to give away on Christmas day. I won't be posting a lot of my projects until after they have been gifted, so I am sure my after-Christmas blog post will be extensive.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What a Weekend

Where did the weekend go? It felt like it flew by, with the days shorter than ever. I had big plans for the weekend but they seemed to get derailed easily.

I did finally manage to get the label and binding on Baby Matt's Quilt.

The quilt is 280 2.5 inch squares and finishes at 28" by 40" and is designed to be an easily transportable quilt for car rides and stroller trips.

It was even pretty enough outside to take it for a quick photo shoot before the sun set.

I was kind of uncertain about the backing fabric but with the quilting on it, I think it looks like river water and I really like it now.

I also took one inside for one final look before dropping it in the washing machine. Washing machine always is the most worrisome part of quilting for me, because this is where we determine if the quilt will make it - no bleeding, no torn seams, etc.

I am mourning Daylight Savings Time - this shift of an hour always seems to jet lag me for several days. It's 4:30 right now but getting dark quickly and feels like its almost bedtime already.

In any case, Happy Nanowrimo all! I'm swimming along with 2,817 words between today and yesterday. We shall see how far I get this month.