Two more...

Dorothy asked: Was the 15 mile round trip out beyond (west of) the Clinton end of your trip?
  • No, I didn't go any further west than the LQS in Clinton. I'll give you a freebie, too -- I didn't go any further east than Millburn/Short Hills. It was definitely south...
Kathie suggested: how about a farmers market? stand???
  • Nope, not that either, although this store does promote its connections to local agri-businesses.


Another Guess

Kathie tried again: Budding Star in Lebanon?
  • Nope... not there, or any other quilt shop after Kindred Quilts. And I definitely didn't buy a quilt... (Two answers for the price of one!)
Keep thinking...

In the meantime, I'm fed up with whomever is stealing my wireless and blocking my access, so I just disabled the router. I hope he or she was in the middle of something important. It was a PITA to set the thing up to blessed thing to start with, and I somehow missed the step of password-protecting it. I don't know how to change it, so I suspect I'm going to have to start over. Joy. (Nonetheless, Lisa, thank you again for giving it to me! I'm just a little cranky at the moment.)

Mini Booty Sneak Peek

Clever, aren't I? I don't want the real colors to give it away!

It's not done yet, but I *am* working on it... I'm sure glad to have all that echo quilting done! Since I haven't been doing really any sewing or quilting since I messed up my back, I didn't trust myself to do this properly in free-motion. So yeah, I used the walking foot. Sue me. It's mostly even that way, and the piece is small enough to make it possible. Miles to go before this one's done, but at least it's progress!
Posted by Picasa

Questions Answered

#1) Kathie asked: a craft store, like AC Moore or Michaels?
  • No, I didn't go to a craft store yesterday. (I went to Michaels twice last weekend, but not at all yesterday!)
#2) Dorothy asked: Was your detour north of your planned route?
  • No, I didn't go north of 78.
Good questions -- Dorothy knocked out half the geographical options, and Kathie took care of a category.

These don't count, because my darling sister has a literacy problem (must be the thought of school starting on Tuesday!): No, she can't play, and yes, there is a prize. The prize, in case you missed it, is something I bought at that store!

My trip to the LQS wasn't that exciting... I only bought that backing and a little gifty for my Mini-Booty Swap partner. Since I'm going to Harrisburg next week for Pennsylvania Quilt National Extravaganza XV (!), I practiced restraint, thinking I might want to shop at the show or in Lancaster instead.


Where in the world... did I go today?!

Today was the last of our half-day summer Friday's, so I took advantage of the opportunity to go t0 the LQS and got some purple (!) fabric to make the backing of my black and bright quilt. Purple's not my thing (don't smack me, Colene!), but this quilt seemed to want it. Whatever -- it won't show the cat hair as much, so it's good ;) I just have to seam it together and that one's ready for the quilter.

Since I had to drive way out there, I decided to make a little detour on the way home (just 15 extra miles in total) to visit a store I've wanted to go to for the entire time I've lived in NJ. Just pulling into the parking lot made me smile, and I swear my blood pressure dropped when I walked in. (That is probably not a typical reaction -- if you went to a store like this one, you might not be quite so happy!) I've missed you, store. I spent twice as much there as I did at the LQS, and while the happiness will last, the purchases won't! I'd shop at this store all the time if it wasn't almost 30 miles away. So where did I go? That's the game!

We'll play kind of like Twenty Questions -- submit your question (or your guess) in the comments. Figure it out and you'll win something I bought there!

A couple of things: there are probably clues in my prior ramblings, if you're a regular reader. I don't think the actual name of the store appears anytime in the previous year, though. The store I visited is a large retailer, but doesn't have international locations. Non-US readers are invited to play along, though, and I just might accept a "close enough" answer if you get, well, really close! My family members are exempt, since I already told them all about it!

Finally, a clue: Here's the route I drove to the LQS. I drove approximately 15 miles out of my way on the way home to visit the secret location.

PS: I apparently have extended family members who still think I live in Upstate NY. I moved to New Jersey six months ago for a new job... I haven't been keeping all that a secret, have I?!


How to get kicked off Project Runway

Harangue and mock the judges, then blame the model for your ugly outfit. I'm just sayin'...

See ya' Keith -- at least Santoro's shredded chiffon came with a personality!

Totally unrelated PS: I saw IQF chicken in a different grocery store yesterday. I didn't have time to stop and read the label to be sure it was really chicken, but I *will* be going back.


Is it wrong to love a piece of furniture?

This is part of a new table from Crate and Barrel. I'm in love.

Different typefaces, letters, beautiful wood... it was made for me. Unfortunately, the price tag is prohibitive, so don't look for it in my apartment anytime soon!


Some random questions

  • Did you know that, in Excel, pressing CTL + ; (control + semicolon) automatically enters the current date into the active cell? This could be HUGE in my life! Seriously.

  • Did you ever wonder why you have to bag your own groceries at the most expensive grocery store in town? If they're not paying the cashiers to do it, why are their prices higher?

  • Why doesn't said grocery store stock any individually quick frozen (uncooked) chicken? Has this suddenly become an unusual ingredient?

  • Why does the space bar randomly stop working? (I'm guessing it's related to the canned air cleaning I gave the keyboard the other day, but still...)
Answers welcome!


I'm alive :)

And finally doing better, although my back is still a problem. Most days, I can walk fully (or almost fully) upright, and the pain is more of a dull ache than a huge roar. Of course, I discovered that *not* spending the entire evening with the laptop helped... let's call that the reason for my silence this week. That, and that nothing interesting happened -- just a whole lotta work ;)

Except, I got a GREAT deal at Lord & Taylor on Friday. It's clearance time, of course, and I had coupons for an extra 15% or 20% off sale or clearance items. I stopped in Friday after the chiro, and found a great suit. Making a long story short, I paid less than $48 for a $300+ suit, in a classic brown and white small herringbone. The jacket needs to be tailored, but even allowing for that expense, it's a great price on a three-season wardrobe staple. (Yes, I wear grown-up clothes for my real job, with stockings and heels and everything!)

OK, I need a shower and then I'm going to baste my mini-booty quilt. Toni reminded us that the deadline is just two weeks away, and since I screwed up my back, I've barely been able to stitch!


2.5 weeks and counting...

Really, this is ridiculous. My back is still messed up, although I like the new chiropractor better. So, I'm spending my weekend doped up on muscle relaxants trying to get out of the cycle of inflammation and pain. Fingers crossed... these drugs aren't *that* strong, but they leave me sleepy and muzzy-headed.


Some news...

Nah, it's not *that* interesting ;) I talked to the nurse in the chiropractor's office today; he's on vacation, but she gave me the "topline" results from the x-rays last week: nothing of note, other than arthritis of the spine. Sheesh, I'm only 36 (and just barely that)... I've known I have arthritis in my fingers for many years -- probably more than ten -- but I didn't really think about it being elsewhere.

So, the "arthur" (I love that old-fashioned name!) is a source of ongoing stiffness and potential discomfort, but it's clearly not the cause of the current back problems. I get to see a different doc tomorrow -- and it only took five phone calls to get the referral and schedule the appointment. If I'm still not happy after that, I'll have to get serious about finding someone with a more pro-active, whole-back approach.

On an unrelated -- but quilty -- note: have you seen the book Scrap Quilt Sensation? I got it today, and I have to say I'm very happy I did. It's one of the most CREATIVE patchwork books I've seen in a long time... yes, there are some things that are pretty traditional, but there are some new ideas for setting sampler blocks and trying new things that I'm very impressed with. I'm glad to see someone out there (I'd tell you her name, but I can't see it, as the book is on the floor and I'm not!) is interested in e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g our quiltmaking horizons. I have a feeling I'll talk more about this book again. (Note: you might not love all the fabric combinations in the beauty shots, but look past them to the actual instructions and patterns to discover some fun.)


August Birthday Block Done

And I'm glad about that!

Mariner's Compass block for Anne

It's for Anne, who is away on vacation for two weeks, so I get to enjoy it for a little while before mailing!

Anne asked for Mariner's Compasses, any size from 8" to 14". Luckily for me, this great pattern was in the magazine Lorraine sent me with my ALQS top, so I didn't have to look far for a plan. The blue is almost the end of an old favorite fabric, as is the red/white check. I used the magic teabag paper stuff again for the paper piecing; I didn't feel like messing around with trying to find a way to print on it, so I just traced the foundations. I still don't enjoy that, but there are only 12 units so it went pretty quickly. I showed it in that state a couple of weeks back.

Then, I used Sulky washaway stabilizer to make the center circle. Yes, I probably could have pieced it in properly, but that seemed like a lot of work for only a moderate payoff! I turned a nice circle and buttonhole stitched it to the "ring," then went in and removed most of the stabilizer so it would rinse out easily. That was the end of last weekend's progress -- just that small amount of time at the machine was painful.

This weekend, I'm doing slightly better, although still not great. My chiro sent me for X-rays on Friday afternoon, but no results yet. I'm pretty confident there's nothing major going on -- I think if he'd just crack my neck and upper back, I'd feel a whole heck of a lot better.

Anyway, I wanted to finish this, since I still need to quilt my mini-booty, and I'd like to get ahead on these birthday blocks if I can this summer.

Inserting the circle was a lot easier than I had expected. I cut the arc and the short sides to the correct size, but left an extra inch on the two long sides so there'd be extra to square up properly. I left it a little big so Anne could decide which finished size worked best; it could be anywhere from about 11" to 13.5".

The block is pretty good sized, so the curve was gentle enough to not be stressful. I pinnned all the way around -- I hate admitting how much that helps! -- and used my Curvemaster foot. I know, the Curvemaster is supposed to eliminate the need for pinning... and it might, but it doesn't eliminate my penchant for stretching, so this works for me. Since I always pin left-to-right, the pins don't get in the way and the shortness of the Curvemaster foot helps me sew a smoother circle. Now this is weird -- I was almost all the way around the circle when I realized I was sewing THROUGH the foot. The little bit that forms a circle around the needle had moved under the needle, and I sewed three or four stitches before I realized it. I had to break the little bit of plastic off the foot to remove the patchwork. I don't think this affects the usability of the foot, but I just remembered I forgot to take out that needle, which is undoubtedly dull now!

Anyway, I did need to trim down my finished block, but overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I'm most happy that this is the only required Mariner's Compass this year ;)