I have a good excuse for not being online lately. Over a week ago I was sitting here working with six or seven programs open. John was wanting to replace a GFI outlet in the bathroom so he walked right by me and went out and flipped the main power off. :-( Fried my computer. He spent the next few days dinkin' around here and there trying to fix it, finally accepted the "Revert it back to the way it originally was" offer, and there went every program I'd ever bought and loaded. I couldn't edit photos, print anything. argh. Finally upon my subtle suggestions he packed it up and took it to the repair geeks. While waiting for Photoshop and Publisher to arrive from ebay sellers I can't help but wonder if I'd be alive to share the story if the roles had been reversed. Anyway, it just really sucks when you've gotten so used to something being a certain way, and then it's just gone. Oh well--could've been worse, right?
Here's a pic I snapped today. I cropped and resized it at picnick.com. Pretty handy online program!
These went with Caleb to school today. I think Guittard's make THE best chocolate chips for melting and candy making EVER. This green was quite a yummy mint flavor. And we always use the white chips at Christmas. Bonus: they're super cheap at the grocery store. And BIG THANKS to Jenny of Allsorts/Owlsorts who so kindly shared the little circles that we used to tie off the tops.
I'll try and hobble through another post tomorrow.
Madison and I walked up to the local Farmer's Market this morning. I privately think of it as my weekly tomato run. I love nothing more than a good tomato. Having grown up in the San Joaquin Valley, where we could buy lunch bags full of straight from the field tomatoes for 50 cents...well; I just go without rather than try and eat grocery store tomatoes that are usually straight from the cold storage. The nearest I can get to that flavor I so clearly remember is when I buy local *Heirloom tomatoes* at upwards of $3/lb for a very short three month season. Today the number of produce stalls were maybe a third of what they've been this year. I think we may have one or two weeks left. Eat up! Here's a wonderful burst of color I snapped for you
Who knew cauliflower came in anything but white? I don't think I can *do* purple food, but I did buy a head of the yellow. I've been making faux mashed potatoes with cauliflower lately, so that's what I'll use it for tonight. And it already has the look of butter! :-) I'm in the middle of a super delicious (and good FOR you!) meatloaf that they'll go great with. I'm going to share the recipe here. It's from a South Beach diet pocket size recipe book I bought at the grocery store checkout quite a while ago. I never really did get into the South Beach thing, but this recipe is my favorite meatloaf recipe now whether I'm dieting or not. WW wise I figure one eighth of the pan is 3 points. (ps: I don't bother with the parsley. And the loaf pan isn't the only one you can use. I used a glass rectangle 'brownie pan' this time)
This healthy alternative to typical meatloaf adds white beans for a delicious high-fiber twist. Serve extra Dijon mustard on the side; it lends a satisfying, piquant flavor element.
Do you remember when I made this ABC quilt for the Moda Bake Shop blog? I wanted to make it mainly to share some ideas...the scallop edge and the labeling of the sleeve were things I thought people would want to see, the 'so not worth it!' piecing of the back. Plus, in all honesty; it didn't hurt that it helped me sell a few of my precut ABC sets. Anyhoo, by the time I got the thing put together and the tutorial all photographed and typed up I was O.V.E.R. it. So I zipped up and down the sides of the 7.5 inch squares and called it 'quilted'. Well, of course that wasn't enough, and each square immediately bagged like an old elephant's pantyhose. I had to press and pull like mad to get it to lay flat so I could snap one decent pic for the MBS posting
Blah! Then in disgusted frustration I just balled it up and threw it in the quilt cupboard. When I took Amy and Dave's quilt top to Angie three weeks ago I thought to grab the ABC quilt and ask her if she might try and do something with it before I just throw it away. Here is the OH SO VERY pleasant surprise I went and picked up yesterday
Do click to enlarge. Here's another shot close up. (can you tell how dark and gloomy it is here today?)
Look at all the feathers in the squares, half squares, and even quarter square corners! OH she is a worker of magic, I'll tell you what. She managed to push all the slack/bulk into the pink and brown outer edges of each square and really, you can't even tell any more how badly I had initially muffed it up.
Now I want to go and get a job that pays actual money, just so I can take a quilt to Angie every month! Oh. Then I really wouldn't have time to sew the quilt tops. Hmmm. Well anyway, THANK YOU SO MUCH ANGIE! We local quilters are so very lucky to know you. :-)
ps: Madison will get this quilt when and if she ever gets her own room to hang it in. Back when I was making it Melissa just fell head over heels for it, which was really my main motivation for trying to fix it.
pss: the other fabrics I used in the borders of Amy and Dave's wedding quilt were Panache by Sanae, Arcadia by Sanae, BasicGrey Eva, and BasicGrey Sultry. I HATE how Typepad won't let us to respond to comments through email anymore! What's that about, anyway?!
Today I'd like to show you the quilt I made for Amy and Dave's wedding gift. You may remember I showed the beginning part of it last month. I ended up finishing it at the local quilt shop, which, on occasion, I would highly recommend. For one thing it's just fun to sew with other people sometimes, but I was creating it as I went so I got to keep going out to the sales floor and holding different bolts up against what I'd put together so far. I ended up using four different fabric lines (all from Moda) and I think it looks more interesting than if I'd used ALL MoMoWonderland (the line I started out with.)
This was the first time ever, in 35 years of making quilts, that I paid full retail for all the fabric and then paid someone to professionally quilt it. Typically I buy clearance or make scrap quilts or TRY to quilt it myself. As a result, the final price of the finished product came as somewhat of a shock even to me. I know it can be considered crass to talk about $$, but for the edification of non quilters and the validation of quilters, I'm going to pass the info along here. To begin with, new retail quilting fabric is currently $9.50/yd. Add local sales tax and we'll round that figure to $10/yd. So I started out with a layer cake ($30) and three yards of fabric. That was $60. Then I took it to Scottie Dog Quilts for that sewing day I mentioned above and started building my borders. Five more yards brought the total to $110. Then I had to buy 5.5 yards for the backing (I pieced in some leftovers from the front). Which brought the fabric total to $165. Then I took it to Angie to work her magic with the longarm quilting machine. She totally rocked it, but not without a price: $190 including batting. So that's $355 for a queen sized quilt. And no compensation to me for labor. Like I said, it came as a shock even to me. It's no wonder I'd rather give them to someone I love than try to sell them!
I know I said "a picture a day" but I had to show you another view that illustrates Angie's incredible work. You may be tempted to believe that she follows a pattern (pantograph quilting) but I've watched her work numerous times and this is all free hand. She plugs her headphones into the TVLand channel, with old black and white reruns of Andy Griffith and Petticoat Junction playing above the quilting machine, and just starts moving along. No drawing. No measuring. It just....pours out of her somehow. Her machine doesn't even have a stitch regulator! She really is incredible. I'm picking up another one from her today. I'll be back with a pic of it and the Lesson Learned story behind it tomorrow. :-)
We're back! Amy and Dave's wedding went perfectly. That girl had every detail planned out, and did a phenomenal job. And to top it off, she was stunningly beautiful. That Dave Funk is a lucky guy! I've spent most of this afternoon editing photos and learning how to make a slideshow. I won't embed it here on my blog because the slideshow is a good bit wider than this Typepad format will allow, but click here if you'd like to view (it's about five minutes long). Sorry for the monotonous music loop. Have run out of patience so won't be learning how to upload custom music to it today. :-)
I came across this little outfit recently..I'd almost forgotten that I made it. It's probably been almost three years. Madison's been quite the chore lately with her fits and screaming, so I thought I'd follow the advice I gave myself 26 years ago with her mom and dress her up real cute. I find that one is a lot less likely to strangle a kid who's dressed up cute. :-)
I probably waited about three months too long to put it on her, but I'll add it back to the *inventory* and some sweet smaller girl may someday wear it.
People stopped us in the grocery store and almost gasped before asking, "Did you MAKE that?!" If you watch Project Runway you know that the highest insult is when one of the designers is told, "It looks home sewn". So while I'm pretty sure it's meant as a compliment when people ask that, it still kind of makes me flinch, you know? I want to ask, "How could you tell?"
I'm quite sure I won't be posting again for the next couple days. The wedding and all, you know. I could croak at having spent the past two days making another outfit for myself. I won't go on about it, tho. I don't have the time! Be back Monday with all the details. :-)
So you know I started this year by going to Weight Watchers. Again. I was really on a roll (haha) and then I decided to "take the summer off" from April til the end of August. I've pretty much admitted to myself that WW for me will be like AA. is for some-- I just simply have to go to meetings or...or I don't succeed. At this point anyway. So after a very brief amount of berating myself for having wasted all that time, I'm finally back on the bandwagon and went to yesterday's meeting prepared to receive my well-earned 20 pounds lost sticker (well, really it's just a fourth five pound sticker). Weight Watchers Inc is currently in the middle of their six week Lose for Good campaign, where (I think) they'll be donating one dollar to Feed the Hungry charities for every one pound lost up to four million dollars. Locally, we were asked to bring in an equivalent weight can or box of non-perishable food as we lose weight during the campaign, to be donated to the local Food Bank. I got in my mind that I wanted to donate twenty pounds of food. I opened the cupboard and started weighing stuff, and pretty much wiped out everything I had in stock to come up with twenty pounds.
J : What are you doing?
me: Donating 20 pounds of food to celebrate the 20 pounds I've lost
J: But that's good stuff! They're not gonna want that! Why can't you just go buy some stuff?
me: Like what, generic beets and sauerkraut? Dude, that's so old school; just giving away the stuff you didn't want anyway!
J: But that's a perfectly good jar of unopened peanut butter! Who's getting this stuff?
me: Food For People.
J: Oh, alll riiight. (almost petulant).
Anyone who knows John can just hear this conversation, but really I don't imagine it's that atypical. People are funny. So when I received my sticker from our leader Scott I reached under my chair and pulled out the two bags of groceries. I handed them to him, explaining my donation, and he was politely saying thank you, until I let go of the bags and he felt the full weight of them. He was so shocked at how heavy it was that he insisted people pass them around the room and get the idea of what carrying around a mere twenty extra pounds is like. Hard work, that's what! Shoot, no wonder my feet used to hurt every morning when I first got out of bed.
Thanks for the positive comments on my dress size in the previous post. I'm afraid you were right, and I was incorrect in making a size 18. I took the whole thing in some about a week ago, then lost two or three more pounds, then bought a full body Flexees (how did I live without that all this time!?) and then tried the dress on again yesterday morning and it hung like a bag. I just couldn't take it in anymore without it looking weird, plus I'd hated where it hit right ON my knee, so I went back to JoAnn's, bought more fabric, went into the alterations shop I found and asked her if she'd be on standby today to sew in another zipper, and I stayed up til almost midnight cutting and sewing. oy. Bet ya just can't wait to see what all the fuss was about, heh?
Yesterday was jam packed full of chores. One of those days where I hardly stopped at all but once I did and looked back, I was hard pressed to tell anyone what I had really accomplished. So I stopped at home for lunch, let the dog in, went and got my food, came back in the family room and sat down on the couch to watch the recording of the latest Mad Men, and here's what I finally noticed out of the corner of my eye.
Caleb bought that big pillow at a yard sale over the weekend and then (of course) left it here. The cats quickly made a nest of it and have been on it pretty much ever since it showed up. The thought bubble I see over Sophie's head is saying "Um. You know, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that I'm up here, I'm really not that comfortable about it. What do YOU think I should do?" lol. I didn't even want to take the time to go get my camera so I just snapped this with my cell phone. She jumped off within 10 seconds but I do think we are that much closer now to getting our holiday card snapshot. ;-)
I need to find a way to make blogging more approachable for me. I've seen lots of people do this over the years, and for now I'm going to try it myself. One picture a day. Like sending text messages every day instead of the *chore* of holding the phone and talking for over an hour 'cause you put it off so long, right?
The big focus of my time lately has been Amy's wedding. Amy is John's oldest daughter, and the first of our four to get married. John was instructed to wear a tux (since he's walking her down the aisle) so of course; that somewhat dictates what I can wear. You know; the ol' standby polyester pantsuit probably wouldn't cut it, in the photos of me standing next to a man in a tux. I'll give you the quick version of my Mother Of The Bride outfit search. I went in to the local bridal store, where I happen to know the owner. I started on the sales rack, in the size 8's as always, and thought "she must still be looking for someone else" when I saw her down in the 12's. Well, after two different trips back I finally tried a couple things on and I was bursting out of their size 14's. And that was the biggest size they had in the store! And I've lost 20 pounds this year! OH it was enough to make me just want to throw in the towel, believe me. So I spent the next two evenings sitting up at JoAnn's leafing through the pattern books. I was always a garment sewer before I started quilting...no problem! I measured myself and looked on the chart for what size I am according to them--an 18! 5'6" and 152 pounds is now a size 18. Maybe it always was? All I know is there's a lot of women out there bigger than me and I can't even imagine how they're getting dressed for these events. It's just too terribly depressing. So I've been sewing, slow but sure. I found a fabulous local tailor who dropped everything she was doing to put in my invisible zipper when I went in and begged...still not 100% sure of my skills I suppose. Anyway, it looks quite blah on the hanger...rather like something Jackie O would have worn, IF she were a size 18, which of course she NEVER would have been. I think it'll look better ON. I sure hope so, 'cause it's too late now. For today I'll show you what I'm wearing at the top and bottom.
If you google fabric flowers bib necklace you'll see lots of cool ways to fold/roll fabric flowers. This was fun to make but I'm not sure I'd wear one with jeans and t-shirt like I've seen some makers suggest :-)
Have a great day!
EDITED TO ADD: I should've expected the shoe love. hah! 4" snakeskin maryjanes. What else would a grandma wear? :-) They're on sale here if you think you need to grab some for yourself.