Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Baby Gown Production Line

Yep, there are more babies on the way. In case you were wondering, none of them are mine. The first of little E's friends becomes a big brother in just 4 weeks. So, it was back to the gown production line one Saturday at our place. The results:

3 new gowns (the green one was made earlier). I am getting attached to using striped fabric on the trim.

I was determined to use every inch of the yellow fabric and so came up with mint and yellow number. I'm not too sure about that one and beginning to wonder why I asked my dearest for colour advice. Now, I figure it's nothing that some well placed embroidery of yellow ducks on green grass can't fix.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stars Done

Stars 12 and 13 are done. Amanda Jean is so thoughtful. Yippee!! The last one didn't even need partial seems.

Now it's on to finish the setting blocks. Only 4 ½ to go.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Crafting With Bolt Cutters

I have finally found a use for bolt cutters in craft. All I can say is that it involves magnets and my Cup-Cake Swap is ready to send.

Other lessons learnt:
*I can now use steam a seem
*A pressing cloth can be handy
*A vinegar and water rinse can remove scorch marks

What's in the box? You'll just have to wait to find out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is it Snowing Yet?

Someone asked me if it was snowing on the hills yet, and I honestly can't answer. I'm not at home in the daylight to look.

I've been back at work for two months now, travelling to the city three days a week. I leave the house in the dark and get home in the dark. Somewhere in between I'm on a train, hurtling through tunnels, under the hills, on my way to work.

The first few evenings were the hardest. Getting home to a cold house, grumpy husband and tearful child. We've been getting better.

If dinner is not fast, it's just not happening at the moment. So on my days off, I manage to get some meals in the freezer. During the week there is at least one slow cooker meal. Then of course, there is the flurry of getting baby food ready too. All this saw me preparing 3 meals and week's worth of baby vegetables on Monday.

My dearest said he felt the disheswent on for ever – that's not the half of it.

Work itself is going well. I'm getting into the swing of things. It's getting to be less of “I'm not sure, haven't done this for so long” and more of the “oh, I remember” and “hey I can do this”.

My days at home are getting the benefit of work too. I'm not no blasé about them. There's only 4 each week, unlike the infinite string that was laid ahead previously. Little e is pleased to see me I'm sure happy to be there.

As the weeks go by, the evenings are getting lighter and I may even get a peek at the hills on my way home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Miss-Under-Estimating My Time

I am an expert at mis-under-estimating my time. I had plans to sit down for a morning and get up to date with the star quilt along. I had three stars, 7 setting blocks and some sashing to get done. My plans went mysteriously awry.

My dearest was looking after little e for the morning so I had some clear time. I usually take about an hour to do one star. That includes getting every thing out, cutting stitching and putting away. I figure there should be some economy of scale in getting 3 done and besides, half of the setting blocks were already cut out. I set out at 9.

Two hours later, that star blocks were cut out. Note: cut out, no stitching yet.

An hour later, one block was sewn and half of Martha's star was spinning backwards. All spinning backwards would have been fine, but half meant more cutting out. While I didn't take photos of the gaff, believe me it is possible.

By this stage, 12, I was beginning to get liberal in my definition of a morning.

At 12:30 it was onto the setting blocks.

As 2 drew closer I had to admit defeat. I gave up on cutting more setting blocks. The sashing strips were a distant glimmer.

The last star goes block goes up in a number of hours. The quilt has been a learning curve for both the techniques and my time management. I usually shy away from samplers. Looking at the finished quilt, I am guessing we are looking a the the lemoyne star for the last one. I usually avoid these too, figuring life is too short for partial seems.

I might be able to catch up this weekend, just one star a few setting blocks and some sashing. Then again, I might be miss-under-estimating again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Knitting on a Train

When I first returned to work, I thought I should pick up some knitting. I thought about it a bit, every night when I realised that yet again I hadn't found a project for in my bag the next morning. There are projects that are ideal for on a train. This one isn't one of those.

This hat is loving modelled by the bunny as little e just doesn't sit still. I thought it would be a good project as it was small and used up wool I already had. However, carrying 5 balls of wool and having to mentally line up each colour and code letter can be a bit taxing.

Now I'm keeping it simple. So simple in fact, this jersey is knitted all on one piece. I like it.

I'm sure there is a wealth of train knitting tips out there. I'm not the flashest or fastest knitter so my tips extend to the following:

One ball only
Nothing with serious counting involved
Try to find a seat where your right elbow stocks out (I knit like a wounded chicken)
Try and sit next to a knitter (they don't seem to mind the flapping)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Price of Milk and Hot Chocolate

This time last year a friend of mine had some Sri Lankan boarders. There was an intense discussion about buying powdered milk. My friend explained that while it is sometimes cheaper, no one in NZ buys powdered milk because the fresh stuff is so cheap.

When I was growing up, powdered milk was a strange concept too. It was the abandoned packet at the back of the cupboard for emergencies.

I have had a rethink. In the last few years the price of milk has shot through the roof, doubling even. It's cheaper to buy coke. I now have to admit that powdered milk has its place and that place is in hot chocolates (courtesy of the Destitute Gourmet)

You will need:

2 cups Milk Powder
1 ½ -2 cups icing sugar
½ cup cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt

Sift it all together. This will make enough to fill a large preserving jar.

Mix boiling water with ¼ cup of mixture to make up to a cup of hot chocolate. Recipe should make around 16 hot chocolates.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Star Blocks - Trying to Decide

I've been busily piecing away with the quilt along. I started with a plan and stitched half of the setting blocks accordingly. Now I'm wondering if I'm on the right path. Let me know what you think.

(I have been dabbling with the mosaic maker rather start on remaking the setting blocks, just imagine that the B&W ones are a darker colour)

Should I go with the original random prints for the setting blocks?

Or should I go with the patterned centre and use a darker print for all of the smaller squares? (I did warn you that you might need to imagine)

I have a morning this weekend set aside for stitching and was hoping to get everything in order for then. Sticking with the status quo would be easier, no remaking but I'm wondering if the other option is better.

Note also - neither option involves buying more fabric.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Shopper's Remorse

I have been reading about stash busting and I love the idea of just opening up the pink drawer and using every last bit there. In reality I would be more inclined to open the drawer, see that my pinks were a bit blah and feel justified in getting some more. Sometimes, I have all the resolve of a piece of cooked spaghetti.

Along with the stash busting ideas, I am trying to set a crafting budget. I really does get a bit scary when I add it all up. So I'm trying to stick to $15 a week. I have been very ordered in the first 4 weeks. I need to buy a jelly roll for the class so that was 4 weeks of saving. Then I got to the class, read the instructions and to make the quilt really big, I needed 2 rolls. So, then it was no more fabric for 4 further weeks.

The following day we found ourselves in Palmerston North. There is a chain fabric store there that gets remaindered quilting fabric. While the other branches have some remaindered fabric, this one has the most. So I had to get this:

In all honesty I had been eying up this fabric for a while at full price (3 x the reduced price) and I would have regretted not getting it. In fact, I would have done more than regret it, I would have dragged my whole family to the store on subsequent trips and lamented the fabric I didn't buy, loudly.

So now it's no more fabric until August 18. This might be a little tough but I'm sure I can do it because, really, I would have regretted not buying the fabric more.

note: That doesn't count the sewing books I picked up and the wool I just had to have yesterday.

Passing On The Love

Last weekend we headed out of town for the day to pass on the love. Remember this quilt?

As I had mentioned earlier, it's not quite my colours. However it is my cousin's. I rang him up and asked if he wanted a quilt and there was a resounding yes.

Jacob has recently moved home. At an age when everyone expects you to be forging a career, sometimes there are more important things to do and more important places to be. Jacob's father was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease a few years ago. Right now there is no better place to be than at home, helping.

As the pattern is a variation of Jacob's ladder, it seems only fitting that my cousin Jacob should have it.