Sunday, September 25, 2011

What a week!!

The good:

I finished a top! A quilt top, that is! Sadly, I only have progress photos, but you'll get the idea.

This is Leah's Epic Adventure quilt. Between now and February, I have 2 baby and 2 older sibling quilts to make. Leah's 4 and looking forward to having a little sister for Christmas. I know older siblings often get a little jealous when there's a new baby getting lots of presents, so I thought maybe Leah would like a quilt of her own. I dug through my scraps (which always makes me happy) and used Heather Ross prints for the centers. From what her folks (we've been friends for 5 years) say, Leah's a bit of a princess, but loves art and detail, and will look at storybooks for hours. I immediately thought of Aneela Hoey's tutorial from the first issue of Fat Quarterly, which I've made before for bees and for a baby quilt and just love every time. I used these blocks as a break between rounds of bee blocks, and they were a great break. Now it's in the stack waiting for the marathon basting day next month, and then onto the finishing!

Also good. I went to the grocery store this morning. My one morning off this week. As a reward, I now have iced coffee. It's the small things around here that keep me going. Which leads me to...

The bad:

I left work Tuesday night to a flat tire. My phenomenal husband drove over to put the spare on in the dark. (Smart man brought the lantern. Thank you, Irene, for making sure we had fresh batteries in it.)

I had the tire patched and put back on after work on Wednesday. Went to dinner at the diner next door (bought dinner for said phenomenal husband). Drove home. All good.

Went out to leave for work on Thursday morning. Patch did not hold. Tire dead. Bad. My brother, who lives 10 minutes away, came and got me and brought me to work. There's been a week's worth of drama attached to that particular relationship, so a half hour commute trapped in a car with him wasn't quite what I had in mind. But I am grateful that he helped me out in a pinch.

Phenomenal husband picked me up after work and went home to put the spare back on. In the rain. He also took the tire to be patched again the next day.

That patch held until Saturday afternoon--thankfully, I got to work in one piece. But it was deflated by the time I got out of work yesterday...

(By this point I wasn't even upset. I was just...done.) Called the tire place to make an appointment to buy new tires on Monday. Not an expense I'm delighted about, but it means I won't have to count on the Madman as a personal pit-crew anymore, either. Tire place dude was extremely nice and is giving me a deal. (I should also say I've been doing business with this shop for 7 years and their tires and previous patch jobs have been nothing short of amazing, so I can't fault them for this. Sometimes, this just happens.)

Bought bbq dinner for phenomenal madman. Here's where it gets to...

The ugly:

A mile from home, I heard this terrible rattle coming from under my hood. I turned off the radio and the air and listened, then pulled over because it sounded like I was dragging something. Looked under the car. Nothing. Continued to make the noise all the way home. At which point I parked, grabbed the bbq and ran for the house like I was being chased. (Don't worry, Meg. That little black cloud will come, too! /sigh) The Madman drove it around the block twice, and it made no noise.

This morning, it made no noise, except to purr like a kitten. (Also, the bbq last night was amazing. If you ever happen to be near Seymour, CT, you have to stop into Uncle Willie's. It is the most shocking thing to have real southern bbq this far north of the Mason/Dixon line, let alone in the sticks of CT, right down the road from my house. Their pulled pork is like velvet. Unreal.)

(The car IS 12 years old and has 160k miles on it, so someday, it will go to the giant parking lot in the sky. I'm just not prepared to let it go just yet.)

So thank you, my fearless readers, for putting up with my pity-party-post. I believe I'm going to spend the rest of the day cutting and sewing blocks for a quilt for Leah's little-sister-to-be.

Right after I finish this delicious iced coffee. (Thank you, Bobby at Starbucks. You're my favorite. Don't tell the others.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Still yet more bee blocks!

I know, right? I don't blog all summer and all of a sudden I'm burying you in posts. What can I say, it feels good to be back! I actually did work on these and get them knocked out in August, at which point they promptly became buried in the pigstye I call my sewing room. Seriously, I'm worried someone's going to see the stacks of stuff around here and nominate me for Hoarders.

Anyway, I finally unearthed the blocks! More bee blocks, this time for my absolutely fabulous group of ladies in the 4x5 Modern Quilt bee over on flickr. I used the Summer Sampler Series hosted by Faith, Katie and Lee over the summer. This is the Mosaic block from the series, and it has great visual impact without being particularly difficult. That said, I'm rather in love with the secondary pattern created by having the blocks together, and I'm thinking perhaps a scrap quilt done in this block would be awesome. Yes?

In any case, the blocks are off to the four corners of the map, and I'm feeling relieved to be caught up with ALL of my bees right now! Being in 3 hives for 2 quarterly mini-bees was a LOT, and I'm feeling it. In the process of taking a mighty step back. I have Christmas presents to sew, people! (Sorry, I did it. I'm sorry!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More bee blocks!

For a multitude of reasons, I'll be cutting back on my bee participation over the next few months. But the Beehive won't be one of them, and this is why:

This is Tanya's block. She's making a big quilt for her son, and sent us red solid, some great Prince Charming fabrics in aquas and royals, and each of us got an awesome block print to fussy cut into our blocks. I don't think any of us were prepared for how much fabric is used in these big, improv-pieced blocks (we used Elizabeth's tutorial, and I loved every second of it), so this was as far as I got before I ran out of fabric. Can I just say that this is going to be the coolest quilt ever, and that Tanya's got one very lucky son? My husband saw this hanging on my design wall and has been hinting that he wants one of his own... All in good time! I'd like to finish one for myself one of these days, so I can stop stealing the madman's Man Cave quilt!

And I love my Beehive ladies. Amy is prepping our packages for October, and I am absolutely giddy to work on this one!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm a sewing machine!

Or something like that.

I've been a bit of a sew-a-holic the last couple of weekends, and I've finally got a bit to show for it!

I've gotten my blocks all done for one of my (two) hives in the current round of the 3x6 bee over on flickr. It's my hive with the other caretakers, and I really hope they don't mind that I had a bit of a play in my scraps for their blocks, because I had such fun.

I decided to revisit the tutorial from Elizabeth's blog, which I've done for a couple of bees in the past. Truth is, I love improv sewing and messing with my scraps, so this block never fails to make me happy when sewing. Hoping to get out of my own way long enough to get them shipped this week!

I was on a roll Saturday, and had a bit of time before I was due to meet my dad for dinner (Mom's out of town visiting college pals, so it was time for some father-daughter quality time!), so I cranked out my September blocks for do. Good Stitches, the Peace Circle, too.

Star blocks using Allison's tutorial over at her blog, Cluck Cluck Sew. I love Allison's work, and I love the color combination that Lisa gave us for these blocks--red, gray, white, and the occasional little pop of additional color. In my case, that pop was the orange chairs on that Tufted Tweets fabric--I wasn't sure about that line when it was released, but honestly, that chair print has seriously grown on me.

Working to finish getting caught up on ALL of my blocks, because I have baby quilts to make! Two of my friends are due in just a few months, and I need to get cracking!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Me, myself, and Irene

Somehow August turned into the biggest social whirlwind my husband and I have experienced since being married (lo, these 6 years). Trips to the beach, a plethora of sushi dinners with several different friends, a couple of date nights to ourselves...

And then a hurricane. New England usually gets good and clocked in some fashion or another by a hurricane roughly every 10-12 years. Connecticut, as it happens, is usually pretty exempt, maybe a little storm surge along the shore, but nothing we can't handle. As a result, our trees can be a rather wimpy lot. Blizzards aren't enough for these suckers. Oh no. But 8 inches of rain followed by 80mph wind gusts for 24 hours? And they come down like houses of cards.

A lot.

My husband and I were without power for just shy of 3 days. Just long enough to lose the contents of our fridge and most of what was in our freezer (we were lucky enough that the madman's folks kept power the whole time and let us use some space in their spare freezer). My library is still without power nearly a week later. I'd like to say it's been like being on vacation, but that would be a lie. I've been getting up at 6:30 every morning and getting half-ready for work, only to wait around for an hour to see if it's worth completing the process. Thus far, it hasn't. As I'm sort of unofficially "on call", I've been a bit of a homebody. While we had no power, I spent most of the days reading, and finished the 4th book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series (so, so good), and read Penny Vincenzi's "The Best of Times" for this month's book club--here's to hoping the library's open in time for our meeting next week!

However, once power was restored, there was finally a bit of sewing done.

What the... Ah, proof that my husband made the bed--kittens strewn over it, in the name of quality control. That would be Zoe to the left, and Ellie (also known as Beans) above. Zoe is not a monster, and Ellie is not a baby. Zoe is 11 years old, and weighs a sturdy 10 lbs. Ellie is 3, and is a perma-kitten--she was the runt of her mother's first litter, and is a whopping 5 lbs...

Ellie sez, I eat ur soul, kthx?

5 lbs of pure evil, that is...

Ok, but really, I did some sewing--honest!

Scrambled through the August blocks for the Peace Circle of do. Good Stitches--late blocks went out on September 1. Sorry! We used the Starflower tutorial from Jennifer over at her blog, Ellison Lane Quilts.

And after a loooong trip from Australia, Sheridan's fabric for The Beehive finally made it to my door (just before the hurricane). Took an unusually long time to get to me, nearly a month--normally, it's about 2 weeks or so, first class. At any rate, I whipped up Sheridan's blocks and sent them out, so I'm caught up with bee blocks again!

Solids and Amy Butler--love these quick blocks.

Readers, if you stuck with me during the summer doldrums here, I appreciate it more than you'll know. With a little luck, the cooler weather as we hit fall in New England will mean more time sewing, and more things to share in this space! And if you were with me last year, you also know that there's some fun to be had here in October (more so than usual, that is!), so thank you, and I promise to make it worth your while!