Monday, October 31, 2011

back from the void

October 31--Happy Halloween!

My apologies to my faithful throng of followers. I know that the thousands of you out there have just been waiting with baited breath for my next dispatch from the Wasatch Front! It's been a rough ten days or so out here, so thanks for holding on (er, that is presuming you are still out there? Anyone? . . . the sound of crickets chirping . . . . ).

So, lots on the crafty front. First, given the holiday, here is our household's proudest collective accomplishment: Miss Zoey and Miss Sophie's superhero superpup costumes! It required me to get another toy, er, bit of sewing technology: the handy-dandy walking foot so that I could wrassle less painfully with my fake satin material. As an aside, can I say how much I love that my sewing machine has parts called "feed dogs?" All I can say to that is "woof." Not surprisingly, the girls seem to kind of love their costumes. I think they've had their superhero dog-selves waiting to come out all along. Don't you agree? Zoey is the brown border collie/choc. lab mix in the cape and Sophie is the black lab/blue tick hound mix in the girlie girl wonder woman skirt. They had superhero wrist bands to match, but those were not apparently dog approved, as they were ripped off within seconds (although you can still see them in the photos which were one of the first shots taken). Next year I might do bloomers for Sophie, as I don't think a girl should be running around with her skirt flying up around her ears!

Next, I finally finished my mug-ugly rug. Ta dah! After three goes of it, I finally mastered the binding. I was so ready just to have the $%&#@ project finished (please excuse the potty mouth!) when my dear sweetie intervened, seam ripper at the ready. I wasn't sure whether I was appreciative or not at the time! But now that I redid it for the fourth and final time, it looks just dandy, and I have FINALLY figured out how to do a binding (which is a good thing since I'll have to do that for the tablerunner which is rushing up fast and furious!)! Not the most beauteous thing in the world, but for my very first machine quilted anything, let alone my first mug rug, I feel pretty good about it. Now to figure out what do to with it! Debating between a mouse pad for my ever wily too-fast Mac mouse or for my sewing machine pedal which keeps skedaddling away from me on the slippery hard plastic mat I put on top of my carpet in my office (kind of weird option, I know).

Third, I made a work basket for all my mobile crafty tasks. I inevitably end up taking my various knitting, embroidery, and other sundry crafty things for when I'm watching TV or for car rides and such. Rather than just letting it explode and propagate as it's been doing, I thought I'd create a craft bag in a basket to try to contain my chaos. I found a clearance basket at Smith's Marketplace for $1.50 and took some fabric, and shazam!

Also, lest my Christmas tablerunner swap folks think I'm falling down on the job (which I may be, given that some are already finished--yikes!), I finally think I've figured out the paper piecing technique and redid my first tree, which now looks like something made in elementary school. I've now done two of my three trees, and one of my three trees. I also finally conquered the pre-Halloween lines at the various fabric stores and finally got my linen fabric for the centerpiece of my tablerunner. My partner does not, I don't think, like a lot of white, for various reasons, on her tablerunner, so I'm hoping a natural linen will do the job. So hard to guess someone's preferences when she is so far away and someone I've never met!

So, hoping to make lots of headway on this runner this week now that I have this fabric. I also spent what seemed like FOREVER and laundered ALL of the fabric I was going to potentially use for the tablerunner. There are a lot of dark reds and greens and I was terrified they were going to run. I have a bunch of individual mesh laundry bags, but it still took a long time to sort the laundry by color, send it all through the washer and dryer, cut all the fribbly edges off (my new word for that thread debris), and then iron the big pile. So now, back to the start and ready to dig back in!

And currently on the work pile--other than keeping on with the tablerunner? I've finally broken the seal on the stocking for Purple Panda's great stocking drive for kids, and am hoping to finish it up by tomorrow. If I can get in the groove, I'm hoping to do a few. In my family, every one had his or her own special stocking (not handmade, but special nonetheless), and it feels important to me to make these foster children something special for them to have all for themselves. There are some great giveaways associated with this stocking drive, which you can check out on Purple Panda's site, but for me the best gift is doing something for a child without a permanent home or family.

Also on the list, I've signed up for Pamela at French Knot's two-day sewing retreat in November in Utah. I was totally bummed I couldn't do the Sewing Summit (count me in next year!), so I just had to take advantage of this opportunity to get together with some crafty folk and whittle down my Christmas list (it doesn't help that in my household my significant other is also a sewer, so secret projects may sometimes be jeopardized by innocent walkbys and offers of help!).

And so, for anyone still actually reading any of this, on non-crafty news, I actually broke free from the bubble that is my neighborhood last week. My sweetie and I drove what is known as the Alpine Loop. It's only open another few weeks (until it snows). It goes up to about 8,000 feet or so and winds through the mountains. It was totally beautiful: changing leaves, amazing stone outcroppings, beautiful aspen groves. It was one of those very clearly needed mental health days! Amazing to think this is only a 45 minute drive away!

Okay, so now ending the world's longest blog entry!

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