new crafts…

Here are my latest creations and almost creations. I made this cool hook roll using a bunch of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and my special pink Japanese bunny and squirrel fabric. I think it came out great. The pattern is from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, and although it looked pretty intimidating with all of those strips, it was very fast and easy.

look at my hooks!

hook roll supplies

Plus, I loved using all those fabrics at once. I am really bad about collecting fabric and then not using it because I hate to cut it, and I hate the idea of not having it anymore. Isn’t that silly? What good is a fat quarter sitting in a box? Isn’t it much better cut into pieces and sewn into something cool? I can see the rationalilty of this right now, but when it comes to my next project, I’m sure I’ll have trouble selecting the fabric I’m willing to cut.

i put a hex on you!I’m also slowly working my way through a million hexagons. I don’t know how many I’ll make, but I cut about 400 squares from five different fabrics. And I’m using my handy hexagon templates (available for download!) which are working perfectly. I can’t decide if I want to just sew them into a big mix, or if I want to create a pattern with them. I saw a fun quilt in a book called Modern Primitive Quilts where the hexagons were appliqued around embroidered blocks – I loved that idea. Especially with fun embroidery patterns out there like Wee Wonderfuls stichettes. In fact, I think Heather Bailey’s fabrics would be the perfect frame for my Quilting Bee embroidery.

wee wonderful!

golf, anyone?

My husband wants to go back to Pinehurst. I think we’ve already been to Pinehurst, why not go to a different golf resort. There are about a million of them, right? We could get a Hilton Head rental, or we could stay on the west coast and save on airfare. My point is really that if he’s never played a course, isn’t it just as much of an adventure as going back to Pinehurst? His point is that the deal we got at Pinehurst was a little amazing, and we could do that deal again.

Really, I think we shouldn’t all go to a golf resort, since it’s boring for me and the baby. I think he should go on his own to Torrey Pines or something and get some instruction – make it like a learning trip. Then all the cost will have some worthwhile results.

taxes…

I did all of our taxes on Turbo Tax again this year. I used Home and Business, and it made filing our household and my sole proprietorship taxes really easy. I swear, everything you need to be a small-business owner is right at your fingertips. You can buy software to help you do everything; accounting, HR paperwork like ratings and talent management, and setting up a website has never been easier.

I am grateful to modern technology. Now if I could just show a profit!

As for Turbo Tax, my bank didn’t offer a discount this year, but my credit union did. Make sure to check around all your financial institutions if you want a discount. Usually, in order to get the discount, you have to follow the link from your bank. You can’t just go directly to Turbo Tax. This year, I bought the software at Costco because online, the Home and Business didn’t include state filing, but the software does.

ipod cover

iPod coverI made this goofy iPod cover…I’m not so great at planning out all the things that have to be sewn into pieces before they’re sewn. For example, I did not sew on any kind of closure, so the finished thing doesn’t close. You might be thinking, “why not sew on a closure now?” Well, the answer is that I could, but not the closure I wanted. I wanted to use these cute little pearl snaps. They must be applied to the fabric before the fabric is all sewn up and you have no access to the back. Make sense?

So anyway, the thing hold my iPod, but it’s flimsy, and I prefer the store-bought case with the clip so it stays in my pocket.

Anyway, here’s what worked:

  1. The think clear vinyl made a cool pocket, and my paper circle punch (1 in. diameter) cut a great circle for accessing the buttons.
  2. The minkie makes a nice inside for my precious nano.
  3. The basic design was pretty successful, although I think a little smaller would be better.

Here’s what didn’t work:

  1. I forgot the snaps.
  2. I forgot the openings for the earphone cord and the keylock switch. It’s funny, I had the flap drawn on my sketch, but when I went to cut the fabric, I couldn’t remember what that flap was for, so I left it out. Turns out, it was my bottom closure that left space on either side for the keylock switch and the earphone cord.
  3. Turning the whole thing inside out messes up the vinyl, and since it can’t be ironed, I think it would be better to put that pocket on last with topstitching, rather than putting it in the fabric sandwich that gets flipped.

iPod cover 2

Welcome back, writers!

I’m am extremely happy that the writers have returned and my TV mania can continue with renewed vigor. Here’s a cool link to a recap slide show and the dates that some shows will be returning to prime time.

Free downloads!

I’ve added a Free Downloads page (in the top navigation banner)! Here’s why. In this month’s Quilt magazine, there’s a super cute pattern for a grandma’s garden wall hanging using English paper-piecing. You need 37 hexagons for the pattern, and I was feeling intimidated by the instructions – which include tracing with a ruler and a pencil. So I opened up Illustrator and created my own template sheet. So anyone that needs some hexagons can print them out.

my workstation...I cut two sheets of 3/4 in. hexagons out while watching Dora with my son. Pretty fast! Now I just need to go pick out my fat eighths to make that cute wall hanging.

There are tons of free patterns online for Grandma’s Garden-type patterns. I’m planning on adding more templates now that I know how. If you have a specific size request, let me know. They’re really easy to make.

Also, if you use the template, I’d love it if you’d link back to me so I can see your work! If you’ve never tried English paper-piecing, here’s a great tutorial from Sunshine’s Creations.

Happy Sewing, everyone!

renewal

web hosting choiceMy webhost just came up for renewal. I’m sticking with AN Hosting – no big problems, and I think the prices are reasonable. I did check out web hosting choice first to see my options, and they have lots of good info. But ultimately, I’m happy where I am. If you’re just starting out, I recommend figuring out how much bandwidth and storage you need, whether you’re going to need a special language (like PHP, MySQL, PERL, etc.), email addresses, etc. you’re going to need. Then you can go through a site like web hosting choice and compare the ones that meet your requirements.

beautiful quilt story

My husband and I receive the Christian Science Monitor at home. I find it to be an excellent news source for both national and international news. But more than that, there is always a funny or heart-warming or otherwise endearing story near the end of the issue. Recently, my husband tore out a page and left it for me – it was this story about quilts by Joan Donaldson. I love it, and I know all you quilters out there will love it too.

There was also this funny one by Joe Lavin about being a failure on Facebook – to which I can wholeheartedly relate.

dancing with the stars

Did anyone else see the lineup for the new Dancing With the Stars season? I’m not a huge fan of that show, but this season looks pretty good…Christy Yamaguchi, Monica Seles, Marly Matland…I don’t know how to spell these peoples’ names, but I want to see them dance! Penn from Penn and Teller? He’s a big goofy guy. I can’t wait to see him. And Steve Gutenberg and Adam Corolla? And the girl from Hairspray? Excellent. No anti-aging pills for these people – everyone looks great – even Priscilla Presley, although her collagen lips are a little weird. Anyway, I am actually looking forward to this one.

As for the Bruno and Carrie Ann battle, it wasn’t all that exciting. That Kelsey is a super-awesome dancer, though. I wish I had her legs!

sew what?

my new messenger bagI made a new bag. I like it. I made up the pattern. It was pretty simple – your standard sew everything backwards and flip it all out through a little hole. The problem is that that flap is backwards. I took it apart and sewed it back together twice, and still, the flap is backwards. On the other side, there’s a perfectly good, now upside-down pocket.

I’ve got a lot of ideas and not a lot of sewing time. I may need to try some energy pills or something. Or maybe I just need to get off the computer and go to sleep. Tomorrow, we’ve got a big day at the park! Then Wednesday is gymnastics – our third and final class. Let’s hope there are less tears this time.