Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Night Ramblings, or Diary of a Mad Seamstress - your pick!

Muse: in Greek mythology, one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. The Muses inspired and presided over the creative arts. They were Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania, responsible for epic poetry, history, love poetry, lyric poetry, tragedy, sacred song, dance, comedy, and astronomy, respectively. (Encarta Dictionary)
Creativity: the quality of being creative; the ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things, especially in an artistic context. (Encarta Dictionary)

Have you ever had one of those days when you really, really, really wanted to do something creative, but for whatever reason, things kept going wrong?  For me, that's my inner voice trying to tell me that NOW is NOT a good time to be creative!  Even though I know that voice, I usually don't listen to it in the beginning.  There must be more than one foobar before I take the hint.  Tonight is one of those nights!

The dreaded owl blocks went to work with me today.  They came out during my lunch break and I got most of the remaining thread ends hidden on the back of the blocks.  Only one left when it was time to get back to work!  Hooray!  Then it seemed as if quitting time would never arrive.  I couldn't wait to get home and start working on the eyes.  Since I spent so much time last week perfecting the goo-goo look for these owls, I actually thought that it would be a breeze to get all 16 of them embroidered.  Famous last thoughts!!!

The first owl went famously.  The second one started out ok, but when it came time to add the black part of the eyeballs and the eyebrows, something went dreadfully wrong, causing the machine first embroider white bobbin thread on the top, and then the needle began hitting something that sounded suspiciously like metal.  At first I couldn't figure out what had happened, then discovered that my thread was not only broken, but had somehow become locked on the spool, an errant loop holding everything tightly in place.  Ok, we can deal with that.  Change the needle, start over on a scrap, stop when we get to the same place that the error began, put the owl back in the hoop and continue on like nothing ever happened.  Believe it or not, everything actually lined up.  Not such a bad foobar, I thought.

Then it was time to wind a new bobbin.  Bobbin thread spool 1 had slipped its loops and I was just too tired to figure out the thread path.  After many contortions, really weird faces, and hopes of not destroying my manicure, I managed to get the dad-blamed plastic wrap off the thread package!  Ok, let's wind that bobbin.  But no, in holding the tail of the thread, I managed to pop the bobbin up too high.  I readjusted, resumed winding, but it looked like no thread was being added to the bobbin.  Well, I got that part right - it was winding underneath the bobbin, on the metal bobbin post!  Should I be sensing a trend here?

Finally got the bobbin thread on the bobbin, loaded it, hooped the third owl.  And promptly forgot to trace the embroidery area with the needle.  So, one little owl's eyes are a tad bit too high...and slightly off center.  Hmmm...am I trending yet?

Seems not.  Went ahead and hooped owl number 4.  After all, there are sixteen of the dad-blamed things!  The baby is due in July.  I'm out of time and MUST get these things ready to quilt.  Remembered to have the machine trace the embroidery area.  I swear, it looked ok.  It DID!  So please tell me - how did this little owls's eyes end up right on top of its nose?! 

By now, I am nearly in tears, envisioning two months of cutting owl parts and painstakingly doing applique slipping to the floor under the cutting table, so to speak.  Have I sensed the trend yet?  Well, evidently not, since now I'm attempting to blog!

As Scarlett O'Hara would say, "Tomorrow is another day."  Maybe the Sewing Muse will be sitting on my shoulder, not pooping on my embroidery again!  And maybe, just maybe, this little baby will one day see the humor in all of these crazy, most definitely unsymetrical owls and crazy Nonnie!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The baby quilt starts to take shape!

Miss Jaelynn Grace Owenby will be here SOON!  So I am frantically working on her "The Hoots" baby quilt, trying to get it finished before the baby shower.  Don't know if I will finish it in time or not.  Sixteen owls have been appliqued.  I still have to do clean-up on the blocks, getting rid of all those pesky threads, finish the eyes, set the strips and border, and get it to the long-arm quilter.  Whew!

Last night I spent ages looking for eyes to embroider.  Once I found some that I thought might be suitable, I got the bright idea to download the demo version of Embird, just in CASE I might need to make some adjustments.  Now that was an experience.  I had to figure out how to turn off my virus scanner and change the approval options in Windows. 

You know how it goes when you are trying to do something on the computer with some semblance of a timeline in mind.  I really wanted to get all of this stuf downloaded, check out my eyeball designs, and then do a test piece.  So, that hateful thing that usually happens to my computer when I have a schedule - well, it happened!  In the middle of the demo download and set-up, my computer decided that it needed to restart because of the changes.  That confused my computer and it froze for a while.  Once it finally re-booted, I couldn't connect to the web to begin the download again.  FINALLY, around 9pm, I got all the stuff downloaded and was doing an install.  You guessed it - error message!  Long and short of the story, I finished a test block around 11pm.

Tonight I decided that the eyeballs I had embroidered last night were too small.  Back to the drawing board, resizing and testing.  But, Houston, we have lift-off!  Lookee, Lookee!  Two of my owls now have eyeballs that won't be hazardous to babies!


Something tells me, though, that I won't be taking this quilt to the long-arm quilter this weekend.  Fourteen more owls need eyes, and I've got all the rest of the stuff to finish yet.  But there is progress being made!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day

In memory of Jerry Clifton Wood
June 11, 1934 - September 3, 2010

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Long Time No Blog!

It has been FOREVER since I've done anything with my little blog.  There is absolutely no way that I could possibly catch up, but here is the short version:
  • planned and executed a wedding in three weeks (WHEW!)
  • sewing like a mad woman
  • went to Augusta three times - got dreadfully lost all three times
  • joined a Block of the Month club
  • joined a Quilt of Valor club
  • got into machine embroidery!
  • last, but certainly not least, will be a grandmother in a few weeks!
I've had tons of fun planning sewing projects for my new granddaughter.  If/when it gets finished, she will have a "The Hoots" quilt, compliments of an Amy Bradley Designs pattern, several fancy little embroidered burp cloths, a couple of embroidered bibs, and an embroidered quilt.  Since burp cloths don't take terribly long, I've got some of those finished.  Other things are works in progress - LOL!

Small wall hangings are also big fun because they finish up fairly quickly, and I've done a couple of those. 

There are a couple more (LOL) but I've got to get picture of them before I can post.  After I get all of my current projects done, I really, really, really want to make one of those "Butterfiesy" wall hangings by Cedar Canyon that uses stencils and paints.  It is just too gorgeous for words, as you can see here!  (This is NOT mine - it is a picture of the pattern package)

I was doing some web surfing and bounced onto this and I swear, my jaw hit the floor.  Just totally LOVE it!  Maybe I can start it next month, if I get everything else done.  Or maybe I'll stat it even though I've got several projects going already.  Somebody did a survey - how many projects is too much.  In my humble opinion, a body's got to have at least 10 going.  That way you don't get bored!  Seriously, though, I am having to force myself not to order the supplies for this thing, because I know that if I do, as soon as it hits that mailbox of mine, there will be no sewing for baby getting done!  The baby quilts are a MUST!

And before I totally forget - for my friend Peg Baker, who kindly follows my silly ramblings, here are some pictures of one of the lap desks I made for Christmas.  I found her tutorials on how to cut bias bindings on You-Tube and they were VERY helpful!