Monday, November 30, 2009

High On Drugs

I know this rule. I really do, but when you are high on a drug, your stupidity level rises as well.

Do not use a rotary cutter while your judgement is impaired.

Thankfully; I just knicked my finger and I've had enough judgement to stop for today. It's just a small cut, but even the small ones hurt and bleed.

I ran out of generic lamictal Saturday morning and only having 4 dollars in the bank until Wednesday used my emergency stash of real lamictal. I figured the pharmacy would give me some a few days early today; which they did. They gave me my prescription and said to pay on Wedesday.

Now before anyone panics, this month just didn't work out very well. I always plan my medication and we always make it with money. Some unplanned expenses came up, we came up short and somehow I miscalculated the days even with a 30 day pill box.

As I've discovered, there is a HUGE difference between generic and regular lamictal. I've been high since Saturday night as there is more of this drug in the regular version. The room keeps spinning and I'm incredibly loopy, increasing my stupidity. However; DH has heard some incredibly funny things that I've never told him before and won't mention here. He's been laughing all weekend while helping me around the house. I've just babbled on and on about everything in that drugged sing-song voice and glassy-eyed look.

I'll be fine in a couple of days once my body adjusts to the higher drug level and evens out again with the generic. Until then, no sewing and no cutting.

I must be doing a little better since this post actually makes sense. La-La..La..Look at the pretty fabric..weee, the room is spinning

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Let's see..what am I thankful for...

1. I remembered to thaw out the turkey in the fridge on Sunday.
2. I didn't burn the turkey.
3. I didn't set the kitchen on fire.
4. I remembered to turn on the oven.
5. I made today pajama day since no one is coming over.
6. My son helped me make dinner.
7. My DH helped get the turkey in and out of the oven.
8. My family ate what I made.
9. No one is coming over..but sort of miss that.
10. Cartoon Network so I can spend the day laughing at Looney Tune and Tom And Jerry cartoons.

On a more serious note, I'm grateful that...

1. My husband still has a job.
2. I've been seizure free for at least 6 mos.
3. That Brian woke DH up when he fell asleep while driving home from work the other day. I'm SO grateful they carpool so that they can keep each other awake on the way home.
4. I have a wonderful family.
5. I have such great blogging friends.
6. I'm learning to be more frugal and not cheap. There is a difference; and I'm mostly cheap.
7. I'm debt free. Screw credit cards. It's cash only at my house. I'd tell the bank off, but you can't stuff your money in the mattress and every nook and cranny like my grandfather did.
8. There is so much technology available. There are so many talented people who work hard.
9. My parents are still alive to drive me crazy.
10. I was able to do the necessary home improvements this year.

And..I'm still sort of sane...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Perfect Nine-Patches!

Moved up another light bulb slot today.

I'm not a fan of strip piecing as I can never get straight seams, but doing this one inch block at a time is going to take forever. I cut the lengths of the strips in half so I didn't have 42 inches to mess with. I sewed 1 inch purple and white strips and sewed them. I sewed 1 inch white strips and two 1.5 inch purple strips and started making nine patches.

I can't tell you what a difference that made. It was so much easier to feed through the machine and when I checked the seams, they were perfect.

From Quilted with Love

I subcut the white/purple/white into 1 inch strips and cut the purple/white/purple into 1.5 inch strips. I sewed them together and realized I didn't know how to cut a rectangle into a 2 inch square. LOL. Sigh. It took me a minute or two and made the cuts.

Then I got smart and drew a pencil line on the 1 inch white fabric instead of fiddling with the ruler lines and fabric creases. In no time I had several nine patches made. These are all my 2 inch nine-patches.

From Quilted with Love
Now that I have a system going, I should be able to make more than seven of these babies in 2 days.

I can't tell you again how much I love my Topaz and Sapphire for piecing. I've hated doing strip piecing for years because my Janome 6600 couldn't piece right. I'm a Viking girl now. Having the right machine for you makes a world of difference in your quilting.

The Light Bulb Move

THANK YOU so much for all of your help!

I did some searching via the web and found some more information on doing miniature piecing. Everyone agrees on paper piecing. Sigh. I'm not about to paper piece 9-patches. But, I do need 1,440 of these babies. The thought of having to take out paper made me shudder and drop that idea.

Pam, I do have the 1/4 stitch setting for my Topaz. The Topaz/Sapphire are the same machine with the Topaz having the embroidery. I have two 1/4 inch feet. I have one that's clear and one that is metal. I think the clear one doesn't let you move the needle. The metal one has a wider space and I use it most of the time.

West Michigan Quilter, I love applique for the same reasons.

As I was doing some thinking, I remembered taking a class from a lady that showed us how to do small blocks. You cheat by making some pieces bigger than others and then trim them down. In this case, make the 4 corner pieces bigger and trim the block to 2 inches.

Feeling quite pleased for remembering that, I make one.
I thought my first attempt was going great until I went to trim it. Sigh. The white pieces are still off.
From Quilted with Love
So. I'm only half a genius. I figure I've at least moved up a few bulbs in the box for getting closer in accuracy which boosts my deflated ego.

A couple of people mentioned to move the needle over so I figured that was the next trick. I moved the needle over to the 2.0 position and started again.

Woo Hoo! It's 2 inches! It is 2 inches right?

From Quilted with Love
Only a zillion left to go. I'll get a method of madness figured out and keep working until my brain explodes in boredom.

I figure I made a new spot for myself in the light bulb box today.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Help Me With My Piecing Skills

Behold, the power switch went on and there was light, and the Topaz sewed. And the I, the quilter, was pleased. Then I went to square the block, and the wrath of fury was unleashed.

I have not had my Topaz on for months. I've just stared at it, thought about trying to sew and walked past it. I've had no desire to use it. I've felt guilty. DH bought it for me and I figured he might think I was ungrateful but he's said not to worry about it. He knows I love it and that bipolar depression is the cause.

I'm surprised my rotary cutter didn't squeak when I started using it.

Directions for this quilt say 1 inch squares. I cut up a 1 inch strip of purple, cut it into squares. I do the same with the white fabric. I sew carefully, press, and...

From Quilted with Love
Oh yeah. That's a 2 inch perfect block. NOT. After 7 years, I still can't get perfect blocks. I don't care what size you give me, it ain't happening. I gave up a long time ago and just shove the blocks together and pretend they are perfect. I just MAKE them fit. Kinda like how I put my favorite jeans on.

Now granted, 1 inch squares are harder to work with and I know it. But I get really tired of this. The only way I can do this perfectly is pencil draw the lines on EACH piece. 15,000+ pieces, I don't think so. I really don't want this to be an A.D. project.

Please, if any of you can truly piece, HELP ME. I'm begging you. This was a test block to see how it came out, but I'll never finish this quilt if I can't get these blocks to work.

I'm using a Creative Grids ruler as the yellow outlines on the Omnigrid ones drive me insane.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Crazy Coupon Lady And Organizing 1 Inch Squares

I am turning into a coupon queen.

You know who I'm referring too. The crazy lady with a handful of coupons who takes forever in front of you. She has a coupon for everything and argues with the cashier that she did indeed buy that can of cat food for her dear Snookums even though you know she didn't.

I never thought I'd be using coupons but as I've learned from purchasing Blu-rays over the past month with them, you can save some major money. I've even started printing out online coupons. With the store "money" promo going on at my local grocery store and the coupons I've printed out, I pretty much got my Thanksgiving dinner for free.

Yep. Buying Blu-rays has made me a coupon queen. Wow. So, if you see some crazy lady with a bag full of fabric and a handful of Blu-rays in your grocery store handing over coupons, that's me.

Now... am I crazy enough to cut out about 15,000+ one inch squares for the quilt I want to make?

I've been debating that since the JoAnn Fabric stripping party. I pulled out all my purple fabric and bought a yard of Kona Snow fabric to see how well I could pull this off. I haven't touched my sewing machine in (GASP) at least 4-5 mos as the bipolar depression has been so bad, so this may be a good sign.

Directions say I could strip (DH's eyes light up) this or cut individual squares and sew. My biggest concern is storage and organization without going completely mad. The last thing I need are thousands of white and purple squares scattered all over the house.

If anyone has done a quilt with a zillion pieces, let me know the best way to organize this.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Daughter Got Arrested This Morning

She was pulled out of school in the middle of weight lifting and told she needed to come to the office. The officer was there, told her what had happened and took her out to the waiting car.

My DH has decided that he's had enough of the kids leaving their rooms a mess before school. He'll come from from work in the morning and everything is a wreck. He told the kids that he would go to the school, pull them out, and take them back home to finish the job if he found their rooms a mess.

My daughter left this morning around 6:30 am and didn't make her bed. She goes early to the school gym to lift weights and was gone. DH shows up around 7am and sees that her bed isn't made. Without changing out of his uniform, he heads over to the school to get her and brings her home. She made her bed and went back to school.

When she came home after school, she told me that a teacher had asked if she was okay. When my daughter asked why, the teacher said she saw her being talked to by a police officer and was being walked out of the door with him.

My daughter said the man in the uniform was her dad and it was okay.

I told her she should have said, "That was my dad. I got arrested for not making my bed". She burst out laughing.

I got the background lines and circle drawn out for the background of the Dahlia. I took some freezer paper and pressed it to the back of the fabric so I could trace a 16.5 inch square. I drew lines on the diagonal and in the middle for alignments.

I traced out the template on freezer paper, cut out the circle and pressed the outside edges to match the marked lines. Then I traced the inside circle for the applique work.

I've pinned where the diagonal lines and the petals meet and need to do some more detailed pinning/basting or this won't lie flat.

I've got some of it hand appliqued and it looks okay. I'm still worried about it having ripples and not lying flat when it's done.

I'm quitting for now though. my head hurts from all the marking, basting and pinning.

Nebraska State Government Helps Finish Dahlia Top

Which is about the only useful thing they've done today.

Nothing like being a little mad at your state government to get you furiously stitching away to finish your Dahlia quilt. I'll feel a little better if I vent. Pictures of the quilt are just past the venting, so scroll down if you don't care.

Let's see the proposal for where DH works:

1. No pay raise for next year and dock your pay to last year's taking out the pay raise you got.
2. Furlow you 5 days. Ohh..that's going to go over well where DH works..will explain later.
3. No holiday pay for any holidays or getting them off.
4. Giving you so many personal days instead of sick time or vacation time.
5. Something about overtime but don't remember what.
6. And some other BS I don't remember. DH works in a state prison which is a 24 hour facility. Here's where the furlow thing is really going to NOT save Nebraska any money. If you have to make each worker take 5 days off, it means you have to have someone else take that person's place. That means someone works overtime. Overtime=time and half. Since prisons have a lot of people working..that's a lot of overtime. I don't think the state can get around it because that's a federal law, but maybe they can.

If they can get away with it and you aren't going to get paid time and half and you are told you must stay, most of the guys I know will just say, "too bad" and go home. The state is on a hiring freeze. Go ahead and fire them. Since you can't hire anyone, you are just going to short staff yourself and be left with a bunch of unsupervised inmates. Have fun as they will sue for not having all their "rights" as inmates. These guys are pros at this, so be prepared for a huge lawsuit.

No holiday pay=no one will show up. Cool. I get to see hubby home for holidays.

I told DH to go ahead and call in sick for the next 6 weeks if they are going to take away sick time. He's only got years of it. Take a vacation as well and use it all up. It will be gone if this passes.

Don't know if the state realizes this, but if anyone is close to retirement and this passes, those people will retire and want their money. Fork it over.

Yeah...this proposal is going to work big time. Same with the health care BS. And I bet the next industry to fail are the health insurance companies. I'm surprised they aren't whining about this federal health care program.

I'm done whining and here's my top:

From Quilted with Love
Here's the back:

From Quilted with Love

I just need to applique it to the blue fabric now. I have no desire to sew this the traditional way.

I don't feel any better, but at least I've made some progress. Maybe I should get out a few WIPs, UFO's and A.D. (After Death) quilts to work on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can You Find DH's Favorite Book?

I was figuring out where to put my new book on my bookshelf and realized how badly it looked. Books sticking out and the odd shaped ones stuffed in to fit. I looked at the book I had purchased and thought about where it should go. Sigh. Time to reorganize.

My OCD kicked in and I went around collecting books. No one leaves books around while looking for ideas or relearning a technique right? I found four and added them to the collection pile. Now to organizing those books.

Quietly talking to myself I go over the options:

A. By Alphabetical Order

B. Stuff them where they fit

C. By Height

D. By Subject (that's subjective if you think about it)

E. By Author

F. In Chronological Order

Wait..that's DH's way of doing his movies. He's corrupting me. I have a horrible vision of me spending two hours looking through the books by the date they came out.

All have pros/cons and I know I'm making it harder than it is. The book case isn't very deep so the wider books have to sit in the middle where the doors open. The books don't fit all the way across the shelf and DH and I share it so the books don't fall over.

Decision made. A litle of everything BUT option F.

*All the books with the stapled spines are together.
*The long books are at the beginning.
*The Viking Books are together.
*The wide books are scattered throughout so the doors shut right.
*Everything else is stuffed in.

The finished result:

From Quilted with Love
Did you find DH's favorite book from the JoAnn Fabrics trip yesterday?

If you found "Still Stripping After 25 Years" by Eleanor Burns there in the center, you are right. I've had that book since it first came out. You know, it's funny he's never noticed that book considering the shelves above and below are his. Oh..and the CD-ROM sets next to my books.

Maybe I should point it out to him and see how he reacts. By the way, DH doesn't go to strip clubs or do anything like that, which is what made it even funnier yesterday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strippers At JoAnn Fabrics????

After scoring big savings at Best Buy with price matching to their website, in-store ad and 18 dollars worth of coupons, I walked out with Up and Monster's Inc. for a total of 20 bucks.

Then DH took me over to JoAnn Fabrics. I forgot what DH is like in a fabric store. Get ready for some laughs while I die of embarrasment.

They had books for 40% off and I started looking through titles. DH, trying to be helpful starts pulling out books for me.

DH: "Do you have this one?"

Me: "Yes" or "No, but I don't want it" is the usual answer.

Then, while I was looking through a book, there was a shocked question of: "Does this lady really STRIP?!?!?" as he picked up Eleanor Burns' "Still Stripping After 25 Years". Suspiciously he asks, "There isn't something funny going on with quilters is there?"

He looks almost hopeful.

I don't have a chance to explain before he pulls out another book.

DH: "Hey..she's a stripper too!"

I'm desperately hoping no one is hearing this conversation as I'm choking back on laughter and shock.

Now he's furiously looking through titles and finds one about having stripping parties with your friends. Gleefully he pulls it out and asks, "Do you have like bare naked quilt tops or something with these parties?"

DH: "You know. They shouldn't have these books in JoAnn's. It's just wrong."

At this point, I was grateful I found a book I wanted and dragged him out to the checkout stand.

Sigh. Then he starts pushing the Christmas CD collection button to hear the songs while we are in line. "Stop pushing the button! No one wants to hear that", I tell him.

"But it's Frank Sinatra. Everyone loves Frank", he protests as the music blares loudly.

Finally we get to the register and pay. I dragged him out as fast as I could.'s the book I bought:

From Quilted with Love
Each quilt is made of really small blocks. That should be a challenge. Although nothing is more challenging than taking DH to a quilt store. I also explained what "stripping" was to quilters. He was most disappointed.

On a side note:

While in JoAnn's there was an old man about 65-70 with a huge armful of yarn behind us. I jokingly asked if he was the official holder for his wife. He very quietly said that it was his. He had cut his hand and the physical therapist had suggested crocheting to gain back the usage of his fingers. He said he'd never done this before and was planning on making lots of blankets for his future grandchildren.

I never thought of crocheting as a form of physical therapy. I hope he gets the usage of his hand back.

The Dryer..Does It Hate You Like It Hates Me?

**Thought I'd share this coupon with you if you are planning to purchase "Up" today. It's a 10 dollar manufacturer's coupon good for the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. I highlighted the DVD part so those of you that have DVD players don't think you can't have it. It's good for any retail store. Taking mine and my 8 dollar "Monster's, Inc" coupon in for a sweet deal.

The reason I'm up so late? The dryer. There's a reason I don't do laundry. The dryer. It hates me. It knows when I'm using it and purposely refuses to work. purrs for DH every time. He can have laundry done in a few hours. For me, it's piece of junk.

Repair man came today and fixed a belt and some roller thingies so DH was behind on laundry. I figured I'd be a sweet wife and do today's laundry for him after he went to work this evening. Almost 4 hours later, the SAME load still isn't dry. NOT kidding. I put it in for 70 minutes and it was still wet. Put it in for another 7o min and came back. Still wet so I took out the jeans. Came back 70 minutes later and everything is still wet. YES, I turned on the dryer. Put it on for another 70 min. Sort of dry so I gave up. Things are still damp but I don't care anymore.

I still have a load in the wash. DH can put them in the dryer tomorrow. It will purr for him and be dry the first time. Piece of crap dryer.

Now that I've thought about it, the only thing I can think of is that the repair guy may have turned off the gas to fix the dryer and forgot to turn it back on. That would explain why the dryer didn't feel hot and the clothes were still damp after hours of having the dryer on.

So much for trying to be the perfect housewife tonight. Well, at least I'll make DH's day with the 10 dollar Disney coupon. He wasn't expecting that one.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Choosing The Path Of Least Resistance

No. This isn't a physics or electricity post. You won't fail.

I had a friend ask about how I chose to piece my Dahlia quilt and why I didn't just go around in a circle or add the center part as I was going along.

It's easy. Choose the path of least resistance.

When doing a pattern that you've designed, take the time to figure out the best way to piece it. If it's a purchased pattern, read through the directions thoroughly. It's one of the few times I actually read directions.

When I went over the taped outline drawing to find the easiest way to do this quilt I realized that it was full of inset seams:

From Quilted with Love
Every "X" is an insest seam. If you take a look where each line meets, it's an inset seam. To go around in a circle by fabric color would take forever and the seams would drive me crazy. I know that because I just now picked out my background color and have to do this 16 times around the edge.

No wonder people don't do this quilt. It's mindnumbing to think about all those seams. And I couldn't find a book.

So I thought about it some more and realized that I could do it this way:

From Quilted with Love
If I pieced them in a row, like it's circled above, it eliminated all the inset seams and then I could easily do 16 rows, match the seams and sew them up.

I also knew I needed templates. When I printed out the templates, I realized the lines were too thick and they wouldn't line up right. It was easier to trace the entire above circled selection, cut them out individually and number them. Thank you Sally Collins for your wonderful DVD on precision piecing or I'd never have figured out the template part. I used double stick tape on the back of each template so they wouldn't slide.

Sally Collins is a piecing genius and her DVD is worth every penny.

The center part:

If I had added the center piece with the each row (a), I'd be stuck with all these loose ends. And have problems going down the seams (b and arrow) with inset seams and meeting in the center.

* I also hadn't figured out my center fabric color.

From Quilted with Love

I also remembered that you can't just sew to the center piece by piece all the way around as it's a spiral. Remember the spiral staircases and that they wind up in a circle all the way to the top? The same thing happens. You have to do sew those pieces in two half sections and meet in the center.

***A lot of this information has been learned by trial and mostly error. Trying different kinds of quilts is a great way to learn. I have a huge stash of books and I pester a lot of authors via email when I have questions. So many of these ladies LOVE to help and no one has told me to go away.

QuiltUniversity has been a valuable resource and I have two 2-inch binders full of classes over the past 3-4 years.

Please don't think I suddenly just figure things out. You all are a wealth of knowledge too. Sometimes I think "DUH" *hand pressed to forehead* why didn't I think of that? when I read someone's post.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Background Fabric For Dahlia Quilt

Today has been busy as I spent the morning in Omaha. Not quilt shopping but Blu-ray shopping.

Yesterday was spent doing some quilt shopping though. I really haven't been in a quilt store in a long time. I bought the fat quarters for this project but it wasn't really fun. I knew this may not end well either since I wanted a background for my dahlia and may not find the right color.

The problem I find with color isn't always the color, it's that most fabrics have a medium value to it. Line up several bolts of different colored fabric the next time you walk into a store, step back 10 feet and see if they all seem to be the same in intensity. The pink will look just the same as the blue as it does the green and it all looks muddy.

I put up my dahlia next to several fabrics and nothing works. I knew that because I had light petals, I needed a dark background so they would stand out. However; the middle is dark and I didn't want to lose that either. Again, everything ranges in "medium". I finally pull out a dark blue/green Fossil Fern and decided I liked it.

My camera had a hard time picking up the true color of the fabric and added a grain to the picture, but you get the idea. Right now I'm piecing the outside edge to make it a circle. I've got two done.

From Quilted with Love
Hopefully; I pulled this off for a background color.


I picked up my Steelbook DVD edition of GI Joe at Suncoast Video:

From Blu-Ray Photos

And if you loved the old Disney Zorro TV show this is an absolute must have DVD set:
From Blu-Ray Photos

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dalhia Center, Crocheting and Tinkerbell

My inlaws were over last weekend and my FIL's wife taught my 12-year-old daughter to crochet. She's working on a scarf. Here it is:

From Quilted with Love

I know how to crochet. I just don't like counting and my daughter is learning that as well. She's taken this scarf apart 3 times because of it. Knitting is the same way. If you can't count, don't bother learning these skills.

I've got two more seams to finish on my Dahlia quilt but it's close enough to show you what it looks like:
From Quilted with Love

After I get those seams done, I need to find a suitable background, finish the Dalhia to get a circle and add the rest of the bacground. Had I figured out the background fabric, I would have had the background already sewn into the Dahlia.

On the movie side:

Tomorrow GI Joe comes out and will pick that up either tomorrow or Wednesday. If you live near a FYE or a Suncoast Video, you can get a Steelbook edition of it on DVD. Steelbooks are metal cases and way cool. I'm picking up the Steelbook and DH is getting the Blu-ray. You know you are pathetic when you "double dip" movies meaning you buy them more than once.

Disney has put out a limited edition of the Zorro TV show on DVD and those have been shipped out as well. They should get here Wednesday.

If you REALLY need a giggle, I was reading through some Blu-ray forums and I couldn't believe all the guys (hundreds) who were buying Tinkerbell And The Lost Treasure on Blu-ray and they don't even have little girls. Disney has a 10 dollar off coupon and these guys were so excited and happily printing off the coupon! I was rolling in laughter reading the thread.

Blu-ray forums are 99.99% male dominated and it's fascinating to read how men truly think about movies, especially ones you wouldn't think they'd fight over. Feeling depressed? Read through a few posts.