Thursday, July 03, 2008
What I didn't say in the previous post was that the friend who died was 39 years old when he was killed in that traffic accident in May. He had been a very close friend of mine for 20 years.
Another thing I didn't mention is that he met the love of his life -- the woman I've called B-SNAK here -- at my 30th birthday party. She and I had been working together and developing a friendship back then, and when I invited her to my party, they fell in love. And they were a gloriously perfect match. Both brilliant and funny. Both political and passionate. Both committed to a lifetime together filled with love and laughter and critical thinking ('cause that's how we nerds do).
And that all ended in an instant.
My dearest friend was not killed by a drunk driver. He was not killed by someone on a cell phone. My friend was killed by a guy who was just in a hurry. A perfectly nice guy I'm sure. But in a hurry all the same. One minute he's just trying to get where he's going, the next minute he's wrecked countless lives by killing someone.
I beg of you: please drive safely out in this world. Please look out for others. Please do your best to factor in enough time to get where you're going so you're not in a rush on the roads. And if you can't do that -- if time really isn't on your side for reasons beyond your control -- please be late. Please. I beg of you.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
One of my dearest friends was killed in a traffic accident last Thursday.
I will be spending a lot of time with my beloved B-SNAK. My dearest friend loved her very much for the 10 years they were together.
As he often said, "This both sucks and blows."
Friday, April 11, 2008
I think I have to make this scarf. It's purty! I wanna make it! Don't you wanna make it? Say yes! Hooray!
The sun is shining. It's hot as hell outside. And I am ready to knit a scarf.
Let's do this thing!
Oh! P.S. I just drove past that knitting store, and it is officially closed for business. I would love to know what happened and/or what the last straw was. Maybe they fell asleep and the snobbery they'd been smoking sparked some yarn, which then led to the whole place self-combusting. I bet that's it. Yeah. I'm going with that. Self-snobbed combustion it was!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
At a minimum, I think it may serve as a nice reminder that a change to the smallest thing can cause rather big and unexpected changes to other things.
So, I think it all changed when I started working out in the mornings.
Why would this have anything to do with it? Have I become so athletic that I don't care for crafting anymore, you're wondering? Ha! Hilarious. Don't be silly.
This had been the series of events that would lead to blogging: I would take photos of a crafty item, upload the photos, maybe tweak the photos, write about the item (and/or the photo), and post to the blog. Done. A critical ingredient in there, though, was the light. Nice light? Nice photo.
The best light of the day is in the mornings, in my living room. However! Now that I'm out of the house during the Good Light, taking photos has slowed waaaay down. That, in turn, means no fodder for the hilarious commentary. Sure, I could've been giving you some photo-less Overheard posts, but there just haven't been any that are up to snuff. (This one was so great, I don't know if anything will ever rate again.) So there you go - no light, no photos, no blog fodder. Boo.
I'm not sure how to remedy this. Maybe I'll set up a light box. Maybe I'll go back to making drawings to augment the posts. (My wasband did just give me this awesome drawing tablet that is pretty great.) Something.
I know that when I was feeling bad about not posting, I also felt bad going to other blogs (this makes no sense whatsoever, but it's true). So no posting, very little reading, all around steeeenky situation. I really miss being active in the community of awesome crafters, I can tell you that much.
I'm trying to stay close to the Blogging Without Obligation ideas, because they made me really happy when I read them. For those of you who blog, how do you negotiate your blogging time? I'd be interested to hear. For those of you who don't, aren't you happy to be free of this little dilemma?
Thank you so much for all of your comments and help with my crafting-related troubles recently. You've been super helpful and have kept me feeling connected. So, really, thank you. If you're ever in town, I hope you'll allow me to repay you with a nice cup of iron-brewed coffee and sewing machine-made waffles. It would be my pleasure.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Always with the pulling Quiltie out again. I know. I know.
Did I mention that my Sidekick named one of his Guitar Hero bands "Sad Quiltie"? Or that out of the blue my wasband said to me, "Quiltie's never gonna get finished, huh?" in the spirit of, "You can level with me. I can take it." Quiltie isn't even for him. It's for me. God bless 'em.
So we're back to trying to see the lines I drew, using some masking tape here and there, and toying with the idea of using washable marker to re-draw the faded marks. (I must admit that even though I had success with those markers, I am reluctant to put ink to Quiltie.)
I am also fully expecting to hear from the Department of Neglected Crafts, Quilt-Wadding Division any day now. When I do, I will point out that Quiltie still has the best seat in the house, and that, at a minimum, he's got two non-crafting guys looking out for his well-being. It'll all be fine, I'm sure.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
(1) Should I be concerned?
(2) If I wanted it to do something about it, what would I do?
(3) What other things could I make my iron smell like?
Extra credit/bonus question: Who the hell was making coffee in my iron?
Friday, March 28, 2008
Did the orange marker wash out? Did the quilt hold up after a wash 'n' tumble?
Boy, oh, boy. Sorry to have made you wait so long for the answers.
So. Got your drums a-rolling?
Let's get on with it, then.
Here you go:
I have found a new love, everyone. It is Mr. Washable Marker!
Every last bit of orange ink came out! This, even after having been on the quilt for two weeks or so. Not a trace of it was left after the machine-wash in cold water. (I don't know how much to credit the two color catchers I threw in with the quilt, but that's neither here nor there.)
The quilt looks great.
It was delivered to the mama four days before the baby's arrival, so I'm hoping it's already being put to good use.
Fabric: Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit.
Pattern: Rail Fence blocks with my own border added.
Batting: Couldn't tell you. Some batting I found in my closet. It's thin-ish.
Assembly: Machine-pieced, birthed, then hand-quilted with Coats & Clark poly/cotton hand-quilting thread in color 256 (natural).
Next time I'll give you the List of Excuses, Reasons, and Nonsense that attempt to explain my long absence. (Nothing major, I promise.)
Big hug to you all!!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I will admit that I had this idea that using markers on my quilt would inspire an unprecedented hand-quilting speed. I really did. I figured I would be fueled by a strong fear of ruining the whole thing by leaving the marker on too long. Well. Turns out I'm not inspired by fear. Good news in life. Maybe not such good news here.
I am very close to being done, though, and I will give you all the details in the "After" post. But in the meantime, I thought you might appreciate this little marking detail:
Let me give you a closer look:
This is the "wait, wait" portion of the marking. "Wait, wait, that's not the curve I want. No. Wait, wait. That's better. No. Wait. There!"
Isn't it gonna be hilarious when that orange marker stays on the quilt permanently? No, right? Do you think I could blame the baby for it somehow? No! What kind of monster am I that I would even think of such a thing?! Seriously. It's a baby! Hmmm.
How about this? I'll say it's a new trend in quilting. In baby-quilting in particular. Having lines drawn on it like that takes the pressure off the kid and the parents to keep the quilt in pristine condition. That's it! That's what I'm going with if this shit doesn't come out.
I hope you'll back me up on it.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Dear Washable Markers,
Hi. We met at my PIC's house a couple of months ago. I was the one with the polka-dotted baby quilt who kind of didn't want to meet you, and ended up using you to draw the lines on the quilt so I could sew my quilting lines straight. Remember me? Yeah. I just wanted to say I'm sorry if I seemed stand-offish that day. I think I owe you an explanation for my cool exterior.
I'm sure you've met women like me before -- women who've been in relationships with other marking tools and then show up to a new tool with an "attitude" or whatever. Well, it's not you or anything -- I mean, you say right on your package that I can trust you -- it's just that I've had relationships with lots of other marking tools, and they have been challenging. Really, really challenging.
I know some tools get jealous when women talk about their exes, but I think without a frank talk about what went wrong and what went right, we're doomed to failure. So, given that you seem like you care about winning, I'm gonna give you the highlights. I think we might then be able to move ahead with a shared sense of understanding and purpose. Don't you think? I do.
So. OK. This guy:
This guy was really sharp, and I had lots of hope for the relationship because of that. But turns out sharp isn't everything. I tried so hard to make it work with him, but it was just a mess. Literally, a dirty, smudgy mess. He eventually ran out of lead. I ran out of patience. And I moved on. I don't want a mess. So sue me.
I was with these guys in the early days. You know the kind: All enthusiastic in the beginning, trotting out all the fun colors, talking about how soft and versatile they are. Yeah. Well. They disappear. They disappear, and then when you go back to them, they make all these promises to stick around again. And guess what? They fucking disappear again. They are the reason Quiltie and I are having trouble to this day. Thanks a lot, Chacopel Fine. Thanks, but no thanks.
And then there was this one:
This one really broke my heart. Hera was her name. Some people I really trust set me up with her and gave her glowing reviews. "She's incredibly tidy -- no mess at all -- and she sticks around," they said. Only problem was, I couldn't see her. We made marks together, and yet, try as I might, it was such a struggle to be at the right angle, in the right light. I would've had to get reading glasses or something to make it work. I suppose I was simply too old for her. Sad, really. She was perfectly lovely, and I know she'll make someone else very, very happy.
So, I'm giving you a try, Washable Markers. I can certainly go without marking tools and free-hand my quilting; I started this latest baby quilt exactly that way, in fact. But I think having a nice, effective marking tool to help guide me through these circles will be a nice thing.
Just don't fuck me over by not washing out.
(If you don't wash out, mister, there will be hell to pay, I assure you.)
Friday, February 22, 2008
I'm wandering around the living room, staring at the baby quilt spread out on the floor. I'm just about to start sticking safety pins in it to get it ready for machine-quilting.
I say to my Sidekick, who is innocently sitting on the couch, "Hey, honey. I think I'm gonna hand-quilt the baby quilt." (Yes. You read that right. Hand-quilt.)
My Sidekick looks up from what he's doing, thinks for a moment, then responds in a tone that I'd describe as concerned, yet intrigued. Kind of how I imagine he'd react if I told him I was going to tile our kitchen with diamonds. "Why? "
"I think it'll look better than if I machine-quilt it."
"Sure." This he says in a very supportive, but still concerned way.
"It will. I can't hand-tie it like Ashley said to do. I'm too scared the baby will choke on the ties."
"We don't want that."
"And I think I want to quilt it with circles or swirlies like I did with my SIL's heating pad cover."
"That did look good."
"So, good idea, right?"
He nods silently and looks off into space for a moment. I figure he's probably thinking about all the good ideas I've ever had, how amazing they've all been, and how in awe he is of me and my good ideas. Then, he looks at me with a twinkle in his eye and asks, "When's the baby due?"
He was thinking of all my good ideas, alright -- every last one that took every last minute of exactly twelve hundred years.
And with that, the deal was sealed.
I am a multi-problemed individual.
Since the baby is due well before February of 3208, I'd ask that you wish me luck in this endeavor.
Note: For those not familiar, the (cleaned-up) title of this post comes from this movie, the source of about half of what we say on any given day around here. The title is not, as it might appear, a direct attack on my fancy sewing machine. I love you, fancy sewing machine.
Monday, February 18, 2008
PIC: That's so exciting!
ME: Now I just have to figure out how to finish the whole thing.
PIC: That is not at all exciting.
ME: I know, right?
ME: Oh, shit. I think I have to make borders for it.
ME: Otherwise the blocks will just run right into the edge, and it'll look fucked up. And I think you're supposed to do it for stability maybe, too. I don't know.
PIC: What does the pattern say?
ME: There is no pattern, really. I just got the Rail Fence block pattern from this site that has a million quilt block patterns on it.
ME: And I wasn't really thinking about the borders part.
PIC: I don't know what to tell you.
ME: At first I was thinking I could just do the birthing thing and be done with it, like I did with that last baby quilt.
PIC: That looked really good. Do that.
ME: That was different, though. That was just two pieces of fabric stuck together, and this is a bunch of pieced blocks. I don't think it'll look right if I just sew the back to it.
PIC: But it would be quicker.
ME: Yes. It would. But--
PIC: You know what I'd do.
As you might imagine, I tried approximately twenty-nine solutions to this "finishing" dilemma, starting with trying to find the right fabric for the back of the quilt. I bought an orange-colored fabric and immediately hated it (too slippery), ordered an espresso-colored fabric (not slippery, but way too dark for a baby quilt), bought yet another fabric -- flannel this time ("too thin for quilts," said the Internet Genius Pool. Note: While I am very grateful for the IGP, I wish they'd been with me at the store. Woulda been nice, IGP, is all I'm saying).
I almost gave up at this point. Really. Almost.
But I kept at it.
I took lots of deep breaths and tried a different approach. Instead of focusing on the back of the quilt, which I just couldn't figure out, I tried to figure out the borders for the front.
OK. Now, this would be cute! The ruler is really cute for a kid -- kids like numbers, right? -- and the orange of the "64" will bring out the orange in the quilt! Yay!
Oh. Wait. That actually looks like shit.
ME (on the phone again. staring at the quilt): Dude. I cannot figure this out.
PIC: You'll figure it out. And it'll look great.
ME: Why are you mocking me? I am so going to ruin this whole thing.
PIC: You are not. Don't be ridiculous.
ME: You don't know. I could totally ruin all this work.
PIC: Good lord, lady.
My PIC is right about quite a few things in life. She is very clear that: (1) when stressed out, always consider directing the anger outward not inward ("Why suffer more?"), (2) when feeling twitchy, strongly consider using pharmaceuticals ("Why suffer more?"), and (3) when thinking you're going to ruin something, remember that you're not actually going to ruin anything ("It's crafting.").
I did, eventually, figure it out.
From each of the fabrics, I cut long strips that, when finished, would each be half the width of the strips in the main body of the quilt (finished strip widths were 2" in the blocks and 1" in the border).
And then -- riding the high of what appeared to be a border-making success -- I took that slippery orange fabric that I'd originally hated and birthed that quilt like no quilt had ever been birthed before.
And what do you know? I haven't ruined it yet.
(Please note: I still have to machine-quilt it. Still plenty of time for ruining. Er, I mean, directing my rage outward and taking some tranquilizers.)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
So today, on a day that's traditionally more mush than pragmatism, I'm gonna bring it: one of the ideas that I hold sacred about relationships. It's not mushy. In fact, it's the opposite of mushy. It's actually really clear. And I'm gonna illustrate my points by using sewing examples. Because I am A NERD!
So, here's something I hear people say all the time: "It was just a little thing, I don't know why we were even fighting about it. I should just let it go." And then they go on to talk themselves out of being upset about the parking spot or the remote control or the tape on the gift wrap.
I never hear anyone say: "It was just a little thing, I don't know why we were gushing over it so much or why it made us so happy," and then talk themselves out of being pleased about a smile or a thoughtful question or a made bed. Never. Happens.
There are at least two ways to make sense of this, it seems to me.
1. The obvious: Lovely things don’t capture as much attention as not-so-lovely things do. OK. Yes, people are short on time, and they have to pick and choose what they pay attention to. Sure. But noticing only the crap things? Not the smartest time-saver, frankly, what with the fighting and the bickering and the debating and what not. (The what-not? Biggest time sink ever.)
2. The not-as-obvious: The little things are meaningful. They just are. I really believe that they're kind of everything. Whether they're little things that go against our preferences and values (and therefore irritate us), or little things that make our life easier or make us feel safe or pleased (and usually go unnoticed), all those little things add up to make a relationship what it is. I mean, really, what else is there? (Yes. Sure. The big things. But how often do the big things come up really? If we're lucky, not as often as the little things, for sure, and even the big things are held together by little things.)
So, to be clear: I stand proudly in the I Will Sweat the Small Stuff, Thank You Very Much camp. And I think it's absolutely critical to sweat it all with care and love.
Which brings us to the sewing.
From the Department of All Things Duh and On-the-Nose:
In sewing, all the little (boring) things you do add up: cutting the fabric, sewing the seam allowances, pressing the seams, lining seams up with one another. Oh, the list goes on. Paying close attention and doing all those little things carefully and thoughtfully can be a slog at times. But all of it matters.
Here you'll see I cut some strips of fabric. I sewed them together, and it's a block.Just a block of three strips sewn together. Fine. Lovely. Whatever.
But here's what never ceases to amaze me (and also does a pretty good job of illustrating my point): If you attend to all the tiny cutting/sewing/pressing details with great care and thoughtfulness, unexpectedly glorious things can happen when you step back and take a look.
Holy shit. It all adds up. Even the tiny moments where it isn't perfect, where seams didn't line up or squares aren't square, are overshadowed by the bigger picture -- a project that was obviously cared for at the level of the little things. All the saying thank you and phone calls from the grocery store and sharing a funny moment from work and the genuinely-asked how are you's? Well, when you step back and take a look, you've got yourself a lovely relationship, sir.
Here's wishing you millions of lovely little things in all your relationships!
(Consider yourself lucky you got the "little things in relationships" post, and not the one where I discuss how this
is also this
from another perspective.
I will take the romance out of anything. I tell you what.)
Monday, February 11, 2008
I could just pick right up as though it hasn't been weeks since my last post. I could just jump right in. But that wouldn't be right.
I am sorry. The blogging has gotten away from me a bit.
My father is speculating that I've lost interest (not the case). My mother, I think, is still sure I've been up to something (I assure you I haven't). It's just gotten away from me. It happens, and I'm sorry.
While I've been away, two very kind people -- Rani and my beloved Ashley pointed to me as someone who makes their day, and that really means a lot to me. Really. Their kind words and appreciation served to give me a little extra push to get back on the blog horse. So, thank you for that.
As a complete aside (and maybe for some nice comic relief), while walking to my office the other day, I totally fell down. My foot didn't make it all the way onto the curb, and I just went down -- stiff as a board, down like a domino I went. I was wearing such a cute outfit, too -- stockings and heels and everything.
The crazy part about this fall is that I somehow managed to land on my hands in a push-up-style position and barely avoid a face-plant, kind of like that move that gymnasts do in their floor routines where they fall forward on purpose. I'm telling myself it looked really kick-ass and Mission Impossible with my face just missing the concrete sidewalk by an inch. (In reality, however, my shoe went flying into the street and the contents of my purse scattered all across the sidewalk, and I don't think there was anything kick-ass about it.)
The very best part, though? You know I'm a psychologist, right? Well, the very best part was when I was flat on my stomach on the sidewalk, and I heard a very concerned guy say, "Oh my God! Are you alright?", and when I looked up, it was the client I was about to see. Good times. I imagine later with his friends he was all, "Dude, my therapist totally fell flat on her face today right before our session. I went over to make sure she was OK, and then I asked her how her trip was. It was hilarious. She totally looked all Mission Impossible, though, the way she hit the ground. Real athletic, yet graceful. She's a superhero."
What? He prolly said exactly that.
I've missed you. I'll try to be better.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
If it's any consolation, I am quite crafty while rocking out.
[Insert kick-ass guitar riff and ferocious big finish here.]
Thursday, January 17, 2008
That's just me?
OK. So be it.
I think my delays in posting are related to how many finished items I'd like to share, and I also want to tell you about my fancy sewing machine. And. And. And. I haven't posted.
So, in the interest of keeping things moving, I'm gonna go with simplicity. (I've gotta start somewhere.)
I made a pincushion.
It's made of small scrapules of fabric.
It has embroidery floss wrapped around it.
It isn't as poofy as the pattern recommended.
I refrained from over-stuffing because, in the photo in the book, it looked like the pincushion was literally bursting at the seams. (My PIC and I couldn't figure out why a photo showing those flaws would make the final draft of a book. But what do we know? Do we have a book out? No. Well then. I should just shut it. ...Do you hear that? It's me. Shutting it.)
Pattern: Kelly's Pincushion. From Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.
Fabrics: Broadcloth-weight fabrics (again, to help minimize the chances of seam-bursting).
Floss: DMC embroidery floss in some crimson color.
Pins: Clover Flower Head Straight Pins.
Sewing machine: Waffle-maker 3000.
I think we've taken a nice first step here, people. I'm optimistic. Creaky and slow-moving, but optimistic.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I'm talking to my dad on the phone, and he sounds very concerned.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Why?"
"You haven't had any blogs all week!"
"Oh, yeah. I've been meaning to post..."
"We were just wondering what happened."
"I've taken pictures of stuff, I just haven't managed to post them."
"Well, I'm glad you're OK."
Later that same afternoon, my mom calls me.
"Is everything OK?" she asks. She's quite serious.
"I kept checking your blog, and you didn't put anything new on it. We got really worried." (She obviously hadn't checked in with my dad.)
"I'm sorry. I'll be sure to get something up."
"We were just worried."
How sweet are they? And who knew the blog was such a useful measure of my well-being? At a minimum, I suppose, my posting lets them know I haven't fallen into a big hole somewhere.
Sorry for the delay in posting. I offer you my most humble apologies and -- for no reason other than it might distract you from any bad feelings -- this photo of my parents' grandpuppy (aka my sweet and wise doggie).
(Photos of handmade items to follow soon.)
Friday, January 04, 2008
Ok. Fine. It is what it is. Lucky for me, I have a loving family who is not only understanding but is also insistent on comfort at all times. This is truly a blessing. (Hydrocodone is also a blessing. It won't rub your back and tell you it loves you, but it will quite willingly take the edge off.)
I was of many minds about the whole thing. I took it as a sign that I needed to slow down and as a reminder of the importance of flexibility (both literal and figurative). I was reminded that stress will sneak up on you whether you like it or not. And I also remembered that it's hard to stay fully engaged when you're in pain/on painkillers, even if you're really wanting to be engaged.
We were all handed an exercise in balance because of it, and I think we fared just fine.
One of the hilarious parts of the ordeal was that, in the midst of this fuzzy-brained, stabby-backed situation, I decided it would be a good idea to go buy a sewing machine.
What? Why not? I'll tell you why not. Because fully medicated, I was easily persuaded by the aforementioned loving and understanding people to accept a gift of one of the fanciest sewing machines in the world.
That whole excursion is worthy of its own post, and its own post it shall get.
What I really wanted you to see were the rest of the bedwarmers. (The Rest of the Bedwarmers is also a lovely modern dance I've choreographed and will be performing once my back is all better -- the dance has lots of bendy parts.)
This one was for my SIL and brother. I made it well before Christmas, using the old machine.
My SIL and brother loved it so much, we agreed they needed a second one.
So, my SIL and I went through all of my fabrics and made this one together. We used the new sewing machine/super-computer/waffle-maker. (As I mentioned, I'm convinced my new machine is so fancy, it must also make waffles.)
Those bears kill me. Particularly because they're in the woods.
I'd like to give myself credit for the improvement in the sewing of the piping, but I'm afraid I have to credit the waffle-maker. In fact, I have a sneaking feeling I'm well on my way to complete obsolescence because of the machine. That's OK. I'm pretty sure it isn't very funny. And, as far as I can tell, its fabric selection skills are weak. Weak!
Pattern: Bedwarmer. By Ashley Shannon.
Fabrics: Some deliciousness from Superbuzzy that was on sale back in August.
Piping: Wrights Maxi Piping (Mocha 765 and Olive 590) bought at my local fabric store.
Sewing machine: Waffle Maker 3000.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
This is what it was for:
A bedwarmer for my mom - pattern brilliantly designed by Ashley. (Free pattern is here.) It's such a great invention. You heat up the little rice pillow inside, put the pillow in the cover, and put the whole toasty mess at your feet (or on your neck or head or wherever, really). Toasty and cute!
Here is the little rice pillow:
And another close-up of (my first attempt at) piping:
I went on to make two more bedwarmers that I will show you later. Just so you know, the fabric may very well be too much for you to handle. Consider yourself warned.
Other warnings/A peek at some information I plan on sharing with you:
- My back goes out more than I do.
- I was gifted a sewing machine that might also make waffles.
- If I hear one more conversation on my phone line that isn't the one I am having, I may give up on telephone technology altogether and rely solely on the Pony Express.