Thursday, November 19, 2015

Catching Up

Been super busy this fall.  Decided to take two classes, Drawing 1 and American History before Civil War.  For someone who is a quilter, you'd think drawing would be easy.  It's not.  My brain and fingers don't work together and it drives me crazy.  I come home with a splitting headache every class.  I like both classes but it's been very challenging.  Not nearly as bad as the summer classes.  I'll be brave and put up one of the bottle drawings.  We had to cover the entire paper in charcoal and then "wipe" out the bottle and table.  I have discovered that I hate stuff on my hands like pencil and charcoal.  Clay is the worst.  I don't even want my hands in it.  Glue is just as bad.  Go figure.

Been working on some mini albums as well.  This is the center page layout.  I wish Graphic 45 had ribbon that matched their papers.  They are the only company were nothing outside their line matches.  I'll get some more pictures up in another post.  I still have Mom things to do today.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Two Months Later..

Past two months have been super busy and super hard.  My son said, "Mom, you should go to college. You don't even have a life and don't do anything".  Huh? I'm a mom.  I clean house.  I keep track of kids.  I feed you.  I am doing stuff you that don't get.

But he got me thinking so I checked it out.  We have a local college, Peru State 12 miles up the road.  My son has taken online classes to keep up and I figured why not?  So I enrolled.  Ever try enrolling in college after 20 years?  It's a PITA.  They want transcripts from the colleges I was at.  They want FASFA crap.  They want tax forms.  Then it turned out I applied at a college while living in Illinois when Peru ran a check.  Ever try getting two colleges to communicate that I never went, but applied?  It's horrible.  Finally I told Peru to call up the other college and work it out since you have connections I don't.

Once that all worked out I qualified for a grant.  What they don't tell you is that grants are prorated for the credits you take.  I decided to go part-time and my grant money was prorated for that.  Why can't you just pay for two classes, books and a lab and then take the rest back?  Doesn't work that way.

So I decided to take an Art History class and Biology 101.  I don't know what I want to be when I grow up and figured gen-eds would work.  My college transcripts covered Eng 101 and a language.   Another thing I learned the hard way.  Summer classes are 16 week courses down to 8 weeks.  Ouch.  Got the books and purchased the online Biology Lab.  Yup.  You can do lab work online.  Don't.  Just.  Don't.  I spent HOURS doing labs that were only worth 10 points each.  You could have 6 labs in one "class" and only get 10 points.  Learnsmart Labs.  May you die a slow and painful death.

I like the idea of online labs.  However; Learnsmart did a horrible job at user interface, following directions, not letting you know what you are doing wrong, and throwing fits over everything.  "You have 4 numbers that aren't correct" which translates to start the lab over and over until those 4 numbers are correct.  The last lab took 5 hours for 3 labs for a total of 10 points because I had no clue how to do a Hardy-Weinberg equation.  Lab assumed you knew and gave no help whatsoever.  5 hours later and I'm a pro.

Despite the labs, taking timed tests twice a week, 3 papers, online art field trips, Blackboard discussions (another PITA) and a TON of reading I have a B+ in Biology and an A- in Art Appreciation.  Not bad for not having been to college in 20 years.

I can't wait to get back into quilting and mini album making.  Will I go to Fall Semester?  Given the prorated grant money issue, I'm not sure.  I refuse to take out student loans so I'll save up for Spring.  Student loans are nothing by indentured servitude for the rest of your life.  It's disgusting how that works.  I think most of us have no problem paying a loan back, but being set up to fail is wrong.  All I see is predator lending.

BTW, lets you rent books for 3/4 cheaper than you local college.  25 vs. 80? wins.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Steam-A-Seam Lite? Love It Or Hate It? *Edited*

I went to my LQS to get some fusible webbing for the "My Tweets" quilt I started several years ago and came home with Steam-A-Seam Lite.  I rolled it out expecting paper to draw on and got wax paper instead.  Huh?  You can't draw on wax paper.  On the other side where the fusible webbing is, there are paper instructions.  You have to pull off this paper and draw on the fusible.  I should have taken it back right then but my son took off with the car.

Pulling off the paper side lifts your fusible webbing. You cannot use a pencil with this fusible.  You cannot use a regular pen with this fusible.  I had to use a  Sharpie pen.  What do you do if you are using white or light colored fabric?  Since you are going over webbing, my accuracy was off and if I drew into the space, I had to start over.  Trying to do small pieces would be a nightmare.

Once you've traced the pattern onto the fusible, you turn it over and put it on the fabric and press it.  I get the wax paper usage now.  However; I now have marker lines on my fabric when I cut off the paper.  It's a good thing I'm satin stitching or I'd be really upset.

The upside to this fusible webbing is that it works.  I pressed the pieces down onto my block and didn't have issues.  It is light and pliable and it made satin stitching so much easier.

Would I buy it again?  Probably not.  I don't want to trace using a marker and if it bleeds into the fabric,  it's ruined.

Anyone else used this product?  Any tips that would make me use it again?  I have 3 yards left and I have no desire to trace several hundred leaves with a marker and then hope it doesn't mess with light green fabric.

*Duh*.  Call the company and ask about how to use the product.  The lady was really sweet and explained that I had an older version that didn't sell well because of the tracing problem and they had come out with a new version.

I'll keep it for now since I hate tossing stuff and might find a use for it later.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fabric Test Cut And Draw With The Cricut Explore

After going through my stash and working one project I wondered what a favorite BOM quilt designer has been up too.  She's started another BOM called "Be Happy" and I downloaded the first two blocks.    I wondered how easy it would be to draw on fusible webbing and how well the Explore cuts fabric.

I tried to import the image into Design Studio but couldn't get the picture to trace well.  It kept seeing the white behind the block and I finally gave up.  I have the Mac version of MTC and imported the screenshot.   I cleaned up the picture and used the layers setting to separate the pieces.  The problem with importing raster images is that the software sees 2 lines (the edges) instead of one single line.  I think MTC does have a setting to do single lines but I'm not sure where it is.

I made the drawn circles real circles and put the block back together.  I sent it over to Design Studio and it showed up almost true to size and in one piece.  I changed everything to the draw setting and drew out the pieces on fusible webbing.  Cool!  

I realized I hadn't tried cutting fabric and using 505 basting spray on the fabric, I placed the fabric on the mat and taped down the piece.  I used the fabric setting and it cut!  Now for machine appliqué, I don't think the fabric is stable enough to satin stitch.  You would need a fusible webbing for the back.

I don't know if the Explore fits a pencil as I'd hate for the pen to bleed through to the fabric when using an iron.  What I'd have to do is separate the pieces and add a shadow layer for the cut line.  How easy it would be to import into Design Studio, I don't know.

By the time I'd done the editing, imported it to Design Studio and started drawing/cutting I could have had most of the pieces traced onto paper and pressed onto the fabric.  I don't think doing it this way would save time.  However; if you needed a ton of little tiny flowers or leaves this would work.  I can even see putting different fabrics on the mat to get an entire flower done at one time.  

I haven't tried to cut with fusible webbing on the back of the fabric.   It's after midnight and I'm tired.

"Fiesta de Talavera" Now I Remember Why I Never Started

While cleaning out my quilt closet I found this pattern that I loved when I saw it.  I even bought some fabric for it but when I checked the instructions I realized I'd never come close to finishing.  Block one alone has 101 separate pieces to appliqué.  That's a LOT of work just to trace, fuse and sew down.  Maybe I should sell the pattern to someone more advanced and determined than I'll ever be.  Any takers?    

Another PIG/UFO Quilt

This one I'm not sure how to finish as well.  I don't even know how to press it without making a mess.  Each block is 1.5 inch square.  I wanted to make it larger using borders and then appliqué some small flowers in the border.

I'm not sure where I got the pattern from but she just added purple binding and hand quilted through the white blocks.  Maybe I should just go that route.  I just thought some tiny purple pansies and leaves would really set it off.  

I think I have an answer for the blue quilt for borders.  Just find a blue that works instead of a white border and go from there.  I just need to go looking for it.  I'm not skilled enough to use my machine and keep the design straight.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Embroidery Stitches On A Border?

I decided to go through my PIG and UFO projects and pulled out my embroidered quilt.  The plan was use my machine and embroider down white borders in a matching design.  It never happened and I ripped out the borders several years ago.  I love the quilt and was trying to figure out what to do with it when I remembered my Ruby has "Omnimotion" stitches and checked out my options.

I started to work on two different stitches and ran out of bobbin thread on the second.

Couple of stitches I was looking at:

Only concerns are keeping the design straight and starting/stopping when I run out of bobbin thread.  Not sure what I should do about borders.  Maybe just stuff it back into the closet for now.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Wobbly Wheels

I did a 7.7 mile ride the other day and noticed my front tire was wobbling back and forth.  Not a good thing when you are going 26 mph down a hill.  I love going fast down hills but my handling skills are the worst and I figure crashing at 26 mph would NOT be cool.  I don't need another 7 week concussion and then add road rash on top of it.  I got her home and she needs her tension spokes adjusted.  I don't have the tool to do it and she'll get taken in next week.

I wasn't sick this ride and my energy wasn't drained even as the day went by.  The thyroid medication has been amazing and this is the best I've felt in years.  I still ended up with a splitting headache in the middle of the night, but it was a great ride.  The day was gorgeous, wind was perfect and the ride smooth.  I'm really hoping I can do the Heatstroke 100 in August.  I won't make 100 miles but I'm shooting for the 30 mile trip.

Still wishing for a mountain bike but it's not going to happen.   The one thing I've learned is not to ride a bike you can't afford.  Bikes are overpriced anyway, but a 2000 dollar bike is so much better than an 800 dollar one.  I can't afford an 800 dollar one so I can't worry about that either.  I'd love a Specialized Rockhopper, Crave or the women's Jett.  Maybe once the kids are out of school I can start saving.  I need to stay off of CL as well.  

Graphic 45 "Home Sweet Home" Recipe Book

I finally finished this today!  I love this paper even though it's not "me".  It's bright, cheery and reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen.  I can smell the bread baking and my grandmother singing from this paper.

My grandmother could do anything.  She sang, played piano and organ, danced and made the best out of every situation.  She worked hard all her life but knew how to laugh and have fun.  She let me help make bread, can the vegetables, snap peas out on the porch, and help take care of my grandpa by bringing him sandwiches when he came in from the farm.  I helped her with the laundry outside like the lady on the front cover.  I was scared of the cows especially after my sister was bitten by one.  My grandfather was up early to milk the cows and gone all day so helping with lunch was a treat.  He was a mechanic and farmer and I love the smell of grease even to this day.

I don't know how she kept her house immaculately clean with everyone going in and out all day and always looked like she was ready to go some place nice.  Maybe because she didn't have all the distractions of today's life style.  She wasn't perfect.  She yelled at my brother for breaking her organ bench and the ugly lamp he broke with it and she was hopping mad. My grandpa said he was glad he did as he detested that lamp and wished he could have broken it first.  It was pretty ugly, but she loved it.

The book was done with Ginger's tutorial over at "My Sisters Scrapper" YouTube channel on her Christmas album.  The recipe cards are my own design off of Silhouette Design Studio software.  I searched for vintage looking cards but nothing came up that I loved.   Graphic 45 does have Ephemera cards with recipes in a package when I asked if they had recipe cards.

I used two paper pads do make this album and have some left over.

The cover:

Page 1:

   I put my mom's "No Bake Cookie" recipe in so I wouldn't lose it.  I accidentally tossed it and couldn't find the same one on the internet.  Most of them had peanut butter included and this doesn't.  When I asked where she got it, she said she'd had the recipe since high school.  It belongs in this book for sure then.

Page 2:
I added recipe cards in the first pocket and then on the large page.  I haven't figured out how to keep the card in and if I glued it down, you couldn't take it out.  I'll figure this one out.  Had I thought about it, I would have done the same thing with the front and back page.

Page 3:

Page 4:

Page 5:

Back of book:

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Bike Bling

Wow.  I can't believe how much better I am feeling after taking thyroid medication!  Tomorrow is supposed to be perfect for cycling and I can't wait.  First thing tomorrow is getting her cleaned up and ready for outside riding and then do 5 miles.  I'll see how my energy goes since it fluctuates. 

I updated my Ridley with purple handlebar tape from Bontrager.  Talk about amazing.  Ridley put on crap tape and I should have done this months ago.  LOVE the purple.  I'll spend some time adjusting the stem tomorrow as well.

Sigh.  Specialized, your pedals totally rock coming from crappy ones but purple would set my heart on fire.  Turns out after a Google search a couple of companies make purple pedals but they were 120 dollars.  Not happening this year.

Bike set up.  Not even close to matching, but I ride rurally so who's gonna look?

Graphic 45 "Steampunk Spells" Journal

I bought Graphic 45's "Steampunk Spells" paper last week and knew my sister would LOVE it.  She wanted a journal instead of an album and I've been working on it.

Journal measures 6.5x9.75.  It started out with a Composition book that I took apart and realized after I punched holes with my Cinch that it wasn't going to work.  I used the 8x8 pad for the cover.  I cut out the lady, put the rose border around and used two cards and the stamps to cover the corners where the borders didn't meet.

I made two insert pages using some ideas from Anne (xannero1) on her YouTube channel.  The flap opens up.

Since she wanted a journal, I've been fussy cutting pieces of the paper and using a flourish stamp.  I have a LONG way to go with filling up paper. 

And for last:  I made this ATC card using an idea from Pinterest.  I don't have Graphic 45 tags so I just kept it simple.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cycling Update

Didn't realize it had been so long since I've written anything.  This is more of a cycling update so I'll keep it simple.

After being sick in December with a swollen neck, two weeks of antibiotics and visit to a neurologist, it turns out I have hypothyroidism.  What blows my mind is that it took a neurologist to figure it out, order blood tests and get me on meds.  I have talked to a regular doc for years about not having any energy, being exhausted, not able to ride/walk or run without feeling sick 10 minutes later.  I was always freezing.  I haven't progressed in mileage for 4 years and no one has taken it seriously.

I started meds about 3 weeks ago and am finally feeling a difference.  It's like a huge fog has lifted and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  My energy is better.  I'm not sleeping for so long.  I feel "happy" if that makes sense.  I don't feel as sick and I've been able to get back on a bike.

I did twenty minutes on a bike today.  It doesn't seem like much of an achievement, but since December about 5 minutes was all I could do and have to get off.  In fact I've been feeling so good I decided to treat myself to new bar tape, an adjustable stem and super nice platform pedals last Saturday.

Now for the shocker.  After ripping off the bar tape and putting the stem on I realized how bad my handlebars and shifters where out of alignment.  My jaw dropped.  How could I not have noticed?  After thinking about it, I figured it had been set up at the shop correctly after I went down a ravine. One shifter was higher than the other.  The bar and shifters wasn't straight and centered and the left shifter had been twisted inward.  My left shifter was also an inch further out than the right.

After a YouTube search I have my handlebar and shifters aligned correctly, the same distance apart and set up to how I ride.  The twenty minute ride I did today was amazing without pain.  My left arm not hurting and my feet pedaling more efficiently.  Who knew an eighty dollar set of pedals would work wonders on my feet?

I can't wait to really start feeling better and get out and ride.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Heartfelt Creations "Raindrops on Roses" Album

This is my first girly, frilly and over the top decorated mini album.  This was SO much fun to make except for the glue gun.  The tutorial is free from a lady named Shellie Geigle on YouTube.  The paper is hard to find and I was happy to support her Ebay store to get the supplies needed.  She left no waste and every page is gorgeous.

I've discovered I despise glue guns.  I wanted to smack the computer as Shellie would take her glue gun and with ease glue down trim, ribbon, lace, pearls, flowers, and other items.  I had glue everywhere but where it was supposed to go.  It wouldn't come out evenly and by the end I've sworn never to use a glue gun again. 

I made several changes as the metal glue she used made me gag and it wasn't working.  I pulled out super glue and within a few seconds had the metal parts taken care of.

My flowers are Recollections from Michaels and the metal flowers are from JoAnn.  The ribbon is from Tim Holtz and fell in love immediately with it.

The cover:    

I added keys to my cover and changed the closure since I couldn't get the metal glue and gears to work.  The key hole is from Tim Holtz as well.  The keys are from Prima.  And I did add the "Bling on a Roll" to the bottom of the paper once I realized I'd missed it.

I changed the spine and made it more intricate.  It's probably overkill, but I figured I'd go out on this album.  Brads are from Recollections.  The punch is from Martha Stewart and has become one of my favorites.

Inside pages:

I changed this page to make use the metal butterflies.

This album is much easier to make than it looks as she used the paper in ways that they follow the different sizes.  It's the stupid glue gun that killed me.  

Graphic 45 "Raining Cats and Dogs" Gatefold Album

Well, it's a new year and I realized I hadn't written in months.  I've been pretty busy doing mini albums and it takes time to make them.

I taught my first class in November.  It was a LONG day.  I'm not sure I like teaching but it was 20 people in a small room with different needs.  I'm more of an individual helper and trying to help 20 people at various stages of the project was overwhelming.

I taught a class on PaperHoarderDisorder's Gatefold Box tutorial.  You can purchase the tutorial and box from her Etsy store.  Her tutorials are fast and easy.  I used Graphic 45's "Raining Cats and Dogs" paper line.  She's really great to work with and is super sweet as I purchased a one time class fee that was reasonable.

The top of the box:

Box open:


I LOVE this paper line and should have bought more of it.  Most of the ladies purchased Graphic 45's Christmas and "Time to Celebrate" paper to make the gatefold album.

I managed to make this in 3 days so I would have a demo project for everyone to look at before the class.  The only thing I wish Graphic 45 had added was a Scotty Dog.