Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 39 of 365

When I was at school the other day dropping off my Elton John concert tickets it occurred to me that I haven't been doing much quilting lately. Actually, it took the school secretary to make me realize that.

She was asking if I'd been doing lots of quilting to which I replied that I had and that it was on my blog. So we got onto my blog to look. Except I didn't have many quilting projects pictured on there. Sewing pictures, baking pictures, but only a couple quilting pictures.

Looking back over the last 38 days I have sewed:
Cloth Memory Games
A Camera Bag
A Baby Quilt
T-Shirt Grocery Bags
A Clothespin Bag
A Make Up Bag
Bread Basket Liner

One quilt. That's it. Way back at the beginning I also had mailed out a flag quilt top, but that had already been finished. But to actively work and finish a quilt? Nope.

So that's why I've decided to cut back on my sewing and move ahead quickly on my quilting.

That's why I wound up fighting with my quilting frame yesterday. That's also why in the last two days I have put together another baby quilt top. Quilts for Kids sent me the fabric for the top and back as well as the pattern. The top is now complete, but I still have to add the batting and start quilting it. It's small enough I think I can use my sewing machine for it. It's the closest thing to a boy's quilt that I've ever made.

Speaking of the Elton John concert, the gal that I gave the tickets to sent me an e-mail:
The concert was AWESOME!!   The seats were only 21 rows from the stage!  It appeared to be a sold out crowd from where we were sitting.  He played for 3 hours straight without any breaks. I don't know how someone can do that for such a long time and not look even a little tired. The crowd was on their feet at the end of every song. He got up from his piano and walked around the stage bowing and waving to each side after most of the songs. He played all of his classics with the addition of some selections from his new duet CD with Leon Russell. The crowd exploded (and sang along) when he played Crocodile Rock and Benny and the Jets near the end of the concert  For his encore presentation he came out and signed some autographs for some of those "groupies" up next to the stage, and then he thanked the fans of Boise with "Your Song". He said that he is enjoying playing for the fans more now than ever.  My husband, Rick enjoyed it thoroughly too.  I can't thank you enough for sharing your tickets with me.  I read your blog about how badly you had wanted to attend. Hopefully, next time he comes to town you will be feeling 100% better and able to get up and dance on the stage with him!!!   I have attached a few pictures from the concert.   Again, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!       

You can just hear the excitement of the night and her appreciation for the tickets. Those tickets definitely went to the right person. Here's one of her pictures.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 38 of 365

I had a fight today. Not with a person, but with a thing. A quilting thing.

A quilting frame, to be exact. I have a large Grace hand quilting frame that stands on the floor. It's been hanging on the wall of my sewing room holding my unfinished projects for quite some time now. I decided to finally finish up on one of my larger quilts (I think it's about 60" x 65") and wanted to hand quilt it. So it was time to get the frame off the wall and onto the floor.

I usually do all my hand quilting on that frame in front of our big picture window in the living room. That way I get the morning sun and get to look out at the river when I need to give my eyes a break. I used to do all my quilts on it. Since I was working I mostly quilted on the weekends, 5-6 hours a day. But that amount of time of the hands was tough, so I just stopped doing hand quilting and went to smaller projects that I could machine quilt on my plain old machine.

So this new larger quilt was going to be a refreshing change. And with me not working right now, I could spread the time I worked on it throughout the week.

Except the frame is a pain to put up. Setting it upright isn't too tough, but this quilt was just a couple inches too wide for the bars I had on the frame. Which meant I had to get my extension bars and attach them. Which is the pain in the rear part. Which means bolts and nuts and screws and washers and pliers and wrenches and Allen wrenches. And bars falling down and washers rolling away and nuts coming oh-so-close to falling down the heat vent.

And me getting frustrated, cursing at myself, at the quilt, at the frame. Finally, after several hours and lots of breaks to clear my head, it is up. And the quilt and the batting and the backing are secured. And it's ready to go. And time for me to relax. But not with that quilt.

There are two things I like to do best to relax. If you've read many of my posts, you know it's all about the baking and the sewing. So this afternoon I did both, as you can see in today's picture.

Homemade buttermilk biscuits and a new homemade bread basket liner. Ahh, relaxation.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 37 of 365

It was an eventful day today.

The mail itself was exciting. I received a little makeup bag from Target with samples of lip gloss, shampoos, and lotion. I also got a check from Aflac to help cover some of my physical therapy costs. If that wasn't enough, UPS came with my three free quilt kits that I'll be making for the Quilts for Kids organization. Nice, bright fabrics! It even made up a bit for the internet being down all day.

Earlier this week, I had received an e-mail I had won some tickets to tomorrow's Elton John concert. When we first heard he was coming a couple months back, we knew we wanted to go. But with me recovering from surgery, I never got around to ordering tickets. Then a few weeks back I entered a contest put on by the Boise paper. And I won! So today on my way over to Boise to take my daughter back home, I picked up the tickets.

My husband and I had been talking about the tickets all week. I've been having more bad days than good so I was contemplating not going to the concert. Now I love Elton John and all, but knowing I had to sit/stand for 3 hours was worrying me. As time goes by, I'm learning what I can and can't put my body through. I knew if I went to the concert, I would pay for it for several days to come. And I wasn't willing to experience any more pain than necessary. It seems I'm becoming more of a pain avoider instead of a pleasure seeker these days.

So the question became - as I was sitting in the parking lot of the ticket office today- do I go or not? I decided not to. Then the decision had to be made about what to do with the tickets. So in between the time I left the parking lot and the time I pulled into the auto service center to have my burned out headlight replaced, I had an idea. I texted a friend from work to see if she wanted them. Nope. I also worked with her sister. How about her?

As I was sitting waiting for the headlight to get fixed, her sister called. Told me about being a big Elton John fan, having his albums growing up, having been to his concert last time he was in Boise, and how she had been trying to win tickets herself. A perfect match for my tickets.

So I drove out to work this afternoon to give her the tickets. For free. No charge. No strings attached. My good deed for the day. My service to others, my own version of paying it forward.

Enjoy the concert, Marcie. Can't wait to hear all about it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 36 of 365

I used to like decorating cakes.

Since our daughter was little, I've made her birthday cakes most years. And made my husband's cakes. And my cakes. Then a few years back I got into making baby shower cakes for other people. I always got great feedback about them. Except cakes were hard for me. I wanted the cake to be perfect, and when I made a mistake I would have to scrape frosting off and start again. It was no longer fun.

But one thing that did continue to be fun was decorating sugar cookies. Many, many, years back I started giving decorated Christmas cookies for gifts. I've been doing it most years since. I have also added heart cookies for Valentine's Day, shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day (like on Day 12), and ghosts on Halloween. And I've gotten great feedback on all of those, too.

It's something I loved to do so I kept with it. Now I have over 250 cookie cutters for all occasions. Need a pirate ship cookie? I've got that. Need a tyrannosaurus rex? Got it. A cactus? Yep. A hammer? Yep. How about a barn? Yep, I've got that, too. I have everything from an acorn to a camel to a hockey stick and worm.

So now I decorate sugar cookies for anyone anytime they want them. The best part for me is I get to enjoy the process. If I make a mistake on a cookie, it becomes a "reject" (and my family likes those).

Today's sugar cookie beneficiary is the folks attending my husband's meeting this afternoon. It might be early for Easter, but I think they're not going to be complaining about a basket of Easter egg sugar cookies.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 35 of 365

I got my helper daughter home for a couple days. She's always looking to make some money, so she's doing some outside work for us. Weeding, plugging up woodpeckers holes in the shed, planting my gladiolus (those bursting in Day 32's picture), raking some leftover leaves from the fall. Basically the stuff I can't reach or bend over to do.

And the cat finally decided to give up her napping spot from Day 31's picture, so I was able to get going on my daughter's make up bag. I used a tutorial from the internet, and thank goodness this one finally was written correctly with all directions clearly explained.

Except that this pattern called for iron-on vinyl for the inside. But my daughter said she didn't want vinyl so I used a piece of fabric for lining. Which would have been okay, but when I finished the bag wasn't very stiff and didn't hold its shape well (unless propped up for my picture). It then occurred to me (only after the entire bag was completely finished) that since I didn't use vinyl, I should have used something else like the iron-on fleece that I have. The same fleece I used for my camera bag that turned out so nice on Day 14. Why I didn't think of that before I finished the bag?

So a floppy, non-shape-holding makeup bag is complete. Now I have to go back and figure a way to put some interfacing or fleece or batting or something into it without having to tear the entire thing apart and start over. My sewing skills are just a bit off lately.

And my counting skills are obviously off, too. As I was looking back for the pictures of my glads, of the cat napping, and of the camera bag I made I realized my post numbers were off. At around Day 12, I skipped a day somewhere. I've now gone back and made things right. I'm on Day 35 now, not Day 34.

Boy, I need some remediation!