Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Machine Quilting Five Minutes Later

Since this is a scrap quilt for cuddliness and doesn't matter, I thought I'd try my amazing new free motion quilting skillz on it.

This was the very first try, smack in the middle of the quilt.  It took only a couple minutes and look how pretty it came out!    
I had one goof-up that I had to restitch, and one broken thread. 
Since taking the pictures I've done a bunch more sections with no goofs and no broken threads.  At this rate the whole thing will be done in no time. 
It's easier than trying to crisscross the blocks or stitch in the ditch-- why?  Because without the machine presser foot, the layers move freely around and any scooting evens out instead of compounding as you get further.  Also, since there's just one area being worked on at a time,there's less muscling of that mass of rolled quilt around inside the machine!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frugality Win - Tablecloth Dress!

As long as one doesn't mind walking around wearing a tablecloth.

I don't 🙂

Always Wanted a Dough Blender!

I’ve ALWAYS wanted one of these!  Not quite enough to pay the $20 ish that they sell for, though.

But this really neat one was on Freecycle.  It’s brand new in the box, with manual, MADE IN USA.  The lady I got it from had always wanted one, too!  She never ended up using it.

So now it's down there in the box, warming up a shelf in my storage area, making me happy... until I pass it on to the next Freecycler who's always wanted one of these?

This is How We Make a Quilt Out of SCRAPS

As I said, when I finished Mike's quilt, I thought I was doing something really nice and selfless by opening up a real store-bought batting to trim down to size for it.  But the result was so thin and useless I was almost ashamed to give it to him. 

For the next effort I'm more certain about using "junk" for the batting!  One layer of a Disney Ariel flannel sheet I got at the free swap (I despise that character) and one layer of old cotton thermal weave blanket.  Already you can tell this is going to be a NICE thick, warm quilt.

Right now it's gotten as far as lining up and pinning the layers, which is the hard part! 

Oh boy, will you (please, not) look at the sloppy lining up job on the back of those pieces!  I used some 3.5" squares I got at the free swap, with some 4" squares that were new, and didn't bother to trim.  Whenever I accidentally got a seam pushed over the wrong way, I snipped it.
*gasp*  Not going to make it into the quilting guild, I bet...

Australorps in the Mail

So stinking cute!!!

And they are Ed's project, so I know I won't hear a word of complaint no matter how literal that second word gets :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

The New Me Gives Away Jigsaw Puzzles

The old HOARDER me would have put them away on a shelf "just in case", but the new me boxes them up and gives them away at once. There are LOTS of jigsaw puzzles out there!

Gorgeous Walk It Out scenery

I'm done with the whole island!

Total steps: 561957
Total distance: 160 miles
Total play time: 78:26
Rainbows completed: 71

There's one new rainbow every day! 

At the end, basically NOTHING happens. 
I got a shot of what the trainer says. 

And that's it!  Luckily the play is the point.  If we had been doing all this trying to achieve some goal at the end, we would be very underwhelmed.

That's okay, I restarted a new profile at once.  I'm doing the whole thing over again, but this time on Easy instead of Normal capsule value.  It's actually very motivating! 

Here's a couple of early morning views from my new island.

Note, why the Suspension Bridge shows up at 2000-- I clicked it accidentally, and didn't want to buy it. The value on Easy level is only 300 steps. I had to switch to Very Hard level for just a minute until I could walk over to find some other capsules and knock that one out of my queue before completing it!

Two Bright Light Ideas

I read all the "build your own 10,000 lux bright light therapy boxes" and they're great-- but they all involve building.  I went on a tour of Home Depot to see what I might be able to come up with instead.  One of the associates said his friend had made one for his wife, and showed me the gigantic fluorescent light array he had used for theirs.  It was a six-bulb thing that took up, like, a whole wall.  He insisted it was supposed to be a certain temperature of light that you could only get that from those long, full-size fluorescent bulbs, but all the research I've been reading, particularly from this book "The Depression Cure" (great book, by the way, it's a six-step program; one of the steps is therapy light, one's CULTIVATE THE COMPANY OF OTHER HUMAN BEINGS-- I'm still working on that) says it only needs to be white light. 

In the book, he mentions a certain model of therapy light, and I found that on Amazon, I also found another like it but better quality and doesn't have the complaints about bad smell or tipping over like that the recommended model has.  The only downside was the price *choke gack*  $200!!! 

At that point is when I went to Home Depot to see what I could come up with instead (yes, got this narrative a little out of order  :-)
I thought I might use one of those four-bulb bathroom vanity mirror fixtures.  The trouble was, after perusing the selection of light bulbs and comparing lumens and wattage, I realized the vanity fixture only takes 100 watt bulbs and I'm gonna need something heftier.  They also sell basic sockets that you can use to build your own, but there we're back to building again, so we either have to get into cabinetry or end up with something that looks homemade.
DH had been following me around from idea to idea, just observing, but at this point he started picking up stuff from the shelves and throwing it into the cart.  Yay! I only had to pick a color! 
These outdoor floodlight fixtures come in black, grey, brown or white. 

The bulbs are 2,780 lumens each, so 8340 lumens.  The lux conversion is a tricky thing so I'm gonna go with "we've got quite a lot of light going on here."
We probably won't have 10,000 lux, but I've seen therapy lights that were only 6,000 lux, and we'll have more than that. 

Once all plugged in the effect reminds me of Dr. Octavius the Spider-Man supervillain, "The power of the sun!!  Harnessed for the good of mankind!!!"
It really does seem like a tiny sliver of sol for our personal cheerment.  In this picture below, the rest of the room is NOT dark.  That's all my digicam could handle  :-)
You can't possibly look directly at it, but you're not supposed to, you're supposed to eat or read or do whatever in its light for half an hour a day.  It's actually TOO BRIGHT for me, so I gave up after a session or two, but Karen's been using it every morning for a couple weeks now and she loves it. 
And the cost was $31...

The other bright idea was something I happened across while searching for therapy lights.

I had read about those before and wanted one, but wouldn't spend the money.  How cool it would be to wake up to nothing more than light!  
While I was in do-it-yerself mode that brought on another bright idea-- I just plugged a little table lamp into a light timer.  I had both a light timer and a table lamp lying around the premises, so the cost of that idea was an even-better $0.
It works just fine!  I wake up in the morning now to the delightful sound of peace and quiet, and soft light, AND a feeling of smug complacency, "Oh, the cleverness of me!"   :-)

Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals - Linda Carr

Wow, only ten bucks??  And the hardbound version which is really nice, that's only $14.
I'd gone looking for it on Ebay after borrowing it from the library, and couldn't find it for anywhere near that price... I'm gonna go buy that right now!
I digress, I was just gonna share the pics of what Andrea made with it  :-)

It's a COOL book!  Andrea opened it right up, traced the patterns and cut out this little bear, and it went together with only a little help from me.

And then I embroidered the nose and mouth.  Mike told me it didn't look good and I was supposed to do it like the picture.  Gotta love honest little kids  :-)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The new spiral skirts in Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls

Was online t'other day looking at the big three websites and noticed some spirals. 

Simplicity 2416 and Butterick 5042 both look really cool! If I hadn't already made up my own I would totally buy one of these.

McCalls 5056 caught my eye but it's not a spiral at all.  They've colored the illustration to look like it is. Isn't that silly?