30 August 2009

Walk before I can run

For my first quilt, I found a pattern in a book that I thought would be perfect for my mom. I was fresh out of quilting classes and feeling very confident - I could quilt the world! - so I decided on a pattern because it looked like something she'd love. I tracked down the fabrics I wanted. I graphed it all out on Scott's computer using one of his fancy programs to make sure I liked the layout of the fabric. I spent an entire day cutting fabric. And I started to sew. But it wasn't working. I couldn't make the blocks come out to be the size that they were supposed to be. I ripped out. I restitched. Twice. Still wasn't working. I've learned that when I reach that level of frustration, I need to put it down and walk away and revisit it again with a clearer head. That was six weeks ago. Since then we've had parents and brothers and concerts in other cities and all manners of distractions. All sorts of lovely things to help me procrastinate. Of course, in the meantime, I've completely lost my confidence. The sweet boy talked me back down off of the ledge and convinced me that I should put that aside and start something easy. Pick a project that wasn't putting together strange shapes into huge blocks.

I got this sweet fabric for my birthday - thanks Mom! - and started thinking. I found a very simple quilt that I liked the look of online and thought it would be good. It seemed simple enough that I didn't need to have the pattern. It's just simple squares after all. . . I plotted it out, decided how many squares I'd need and started cutting. Yesterday, I was having cutter's remorse. Did I chose the right thing? I did pick a pattern where lots of little blocks all have to meet up at the corners and we already determined that precision may be an issue. Am I crazy to start my first quilt without a pattern? Most likely yes. Last night I decided to take the plunge and just start sewing. I stitched together the first 25 of 225 blocks and I'm pleased with the result! I'm 1/9 of the way through my first quilt top. WOOHOO!!

And then there's this - my slog-along, knit while I watch TV blanket. Yesterday was exactly a month since I started. It's going to be a 72" square blanket and I'm 15" into that now on my fifth skein of yarn. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I feel like it looks a little granny-ish at the moment. I decided to make a sampler sort of blanket, switching the stitch with every new skein, but I'm rethinking the wisdom of that decision, not that I'm going to rip it all out again. Anyway, I've got lots of time to think about it. I reckon at this rate that I'll be done around the beginning of 2010. (I think I just said that for effect since 2010 seems like it should be so far away. . .)

Happy Sunday!

P.S. By the way, the fabric that I chose for the original frustrating quilt is all by Denyse Schmidt for Free Spirit. I wanted to use prints from her Flea Market Fancy collection because they are FAB! but was only able to track down one because they are all out of print. In my sidebar, I have posted a link to a site that is petitioning Free Spirit to bring this collection back. Maybe they'll hear our pleas and reprint before I get around to Mom's quilt again . . .

20 August 2009

An embarrassment of riches

Here I am. 38 years ago today. (At least I'm assuming this was taken the day I was born.) I've been NOT looking forward to this day for a long while now. This is the first year that I've been upset about getting older. 30 came and went with no issue. The prospect of 38 has been worrying me. This weekend I was reading a book and the main character is celebrating her 37th birthday. She describes that as the end of the cute portion of her thirties. Yikes, I thought. I'm one year older than that. But I woke up today. The sun still rose. The earth still turned. And I still had two cute puppies and one cute boy to give me good morning, happy birthday kisses. So now I've decided I'm on the cute side of my forties. So there.

And then the packages and boxes and ribbons and love. I got everything I wanted. Knitting needles, embroidery books, the sweetest necklace, a cute bag and lots and lots of fabric. I got this from my darling mom -
It's by Jay McCarroll. It's so stinkin' fab. I'm not sure what it's going to be yet - maybe a throw? - but I'm insanely in love with it. One of the patterns has little bespectacled fireflies. Or lightning bugs to those of you from the south. And that zig zag pattern sends me over the moon. And the bunnies. Oh the funny bunnies.

And this fabric came from my bunny. This is Del Hi by Valori Wells. It's scrumptious. I want to curl up in it and take a nap, which is precisely what I plan to do. I want to add bits from a few more of the colourways and I think this will be the first quilt that I make for our bed. I love it.

Anyway, happy birthday me!! I'm off to sip prosecco, eat rose flavoured chocolates and watch Project Runway with my adorable little family.

Love you all.

P.S. The evil boy just saw this and said "black and white, huh? They didn't have colour photography back then?" He's in trouble.

18 August 2009

Another fine start

I don't usually like to tempt the fates in this way, but how can a day be bad that starts off like this? I knew that I had only seconds to capture this early morning sweetness. I woke up with Olive on the pillow just above my head and Roscoe was burrowed in the blankets below. When I came back from the shower, I was greeted by the above.

I'm nuts for these puppies.

17 August 2009

Is it? Could it be??

I know that it's only wishful thinking on my part but doesn't this tree look like autumn is right around the corner? I spotted it today at the mega-hardware store and had to take a picture. Just looking at it made me feel like the day was ten degrees cooler. Reminds me of getting excited because school was starting and laying out your outfit for the first day. (And for me, probably rearranging my school supplies for the umpteenth time.) That excitement about school was always so short lived though. It died right about the time I got my first home work assignment.

This picture is just some random craziness but I love it. There is a farmer's market type stand and ultra bizarre garden statuary a few blocks away from us. I pass these guys every day and they're always lined up so nice and straight, displaying whatever lovely thing is fresh that day.

Anyway, it's a good start to a week that has been stressing me out for a while now.

09 August 2009


The picture is no indication of how incredible last night was. When I was going to lots of concerts as a teen, "no cameras" was printed on concert tickets so it doesn't occur to me to take one. While everyone else was snap snapping away, I was doing my best to capture the moment with my iPhone.

Let me gush for just a moment. I do believe that last night may have been the best concert I've ever attended. The venue was small and intimate, relatively speaking. The band was amazing. They sounded just as crisp and clear as they do on recordings. The lead singer, Guy, was personable and told stories and joked with the crowd. You felt like you wanted to go get a drink with him after the concert. And - AND!!! - during the last song, he looked in my direction, I blew him a kiss and he blew me one right back. Sigh. I've always had a thing for English musicians. I wouldn't trade the boy I went with for even one minute, but sigh. . . . How could you not swoon over a man who wrote these lyrics -
Don't look down
Keep staring like you've never seen the stars
If you need me to remind you who you are
Little blossom there's the shiniest soul
Just behind those eyes
- even if they are from a song about a failed relationship. I had to buy a tshirt to prove that I was there, that I heard of them first. (Sorry. Bad Cake reference.)

Also, lots of great shopping happened yesterday. Not so much buying but window shopping and people watching, two of our favourite pastimes. And boy, did we get eyes full! And the best fish tacos on the planet from LaFonda. Last few stops on our whirlwind tour are Ikea and my brother's new house. We just got here and it's time to go again already. Never enough time to do it all. And not enough time to get bored with it either. Like Goldilocks. Not too much. Not too little. Just right.

08 August 2009

Shivery bristly anticipation

I'm so excited. I'm getting to see one of my favourite bands tonight. One that I told Scott that we were traveling to see when they were next in the US. (I told him the same thing about Radiohead and I made good on my promise - threat? - last May and we drove to Charlotte, NC. One of the drawbacks of Charleston is that not many bands play there.) I had one opportunity to see Elbow before. They came to Atlanta in 2002 a few months after I discovered them. They were scheduled to play a tiny club downtown which was the perfect place. I went with a friend and we showed up and waited through the not-so-great opening band only to be told that the lead singer was suffering from laryngitis and wouldn't be able to sing. The consolation was that the band would still play and they would invite random concertgoers to join them on stage and sing along. At first I was perturbed. I'd been so excited to see this band, not a karaoke show. It turned out to be fairly entertaining. And before you ask, no, I didn't sing. No one needs to hear that. Anyway, the show ended. I had an amusing tale to tell and I figured that I'd see them on their next tour. They released a second album. No dates in the southeast. A third album. Still nothing. I'd given up hope. A fourth album came out last year. Even Scott loved this one. A few months ago he called me on my way home from a quilting class to tell me that he'd read online that ELBOW WAS COMING!!! And so close to my birthday too! So we bought tickets and here I sit today in shivery bristly anticipation. First we're going to do some shopping. We're in a town with real stores and malls. Oh how I miss a mall. . . . (The other drawback of Charleston is that the mega store shopping is really limited. Independent boutiques are nice but sometimes you need to get your big shop on.) I feel like I'm 15 all over again. Except now I have the boy of my dreams by my side.

02 August 2009

Rainy day

Long ago and far away, I spent two and a half happy years in a little town called Half Moon Bay. There was a bowling alley called Sea Bowl in Pacifica where they had a great Sunday morning special - an hour and a half for $15. I called it the Pagan's special. I spent many Sunday mornings there with my brother Will. It was great place to bowl - nice and clean and with huge windows to look out over the Pacific Ocean. Not much better than that. I'm not a good bowler by any stretch of the imagination. If I break 100, I'm ecstatic. But I love bowling. I always have.

We were trying to think of something to do today to get Will out of the house and away from the video games. Rain was in the forecast so the suggested mini golf seemed to be a bad idea. (And it was. It POURED while we were bowling. Welcome to South Carolina. . .) We've seen two movies already this week. What to do, what to do?

Will won the first game, we were all pretty close on the second and Scott killed it on the third. A good time was had by all.
And they even have cool bowling shoes now.

(The ball in the first picture used to belong to Will. It was a gift from his grandparents when he was about 8 years old. He outgrew it long ago and when I heard that he was going to get a new one, I begged for it. I think it needed my name too.)