January 30, 2007

More Ideas Than Time

I'm starting to recover from starting an exercise program with renewed vigor! Last Monday JB and I started getting up at 5:30 and walking the dogs. Well - the only new part for me was walking the dogs. It was all new for him :) Then I work all day, come home, and either log 60 minutes on my treadmill (M,W,F) or 40 minutes on the weight machine (T,TH). After working out, I rest for a few minutes, then head upstairs to cook dinner. Then I crash for the night. Well this week I planned stuff that would take a long time to cook - baked potatoes, crockpot soups, etc. So most of the dinner is ready when I'm done with my workout. Last night I actually spent 2 hours in the sewing room while JB played on the computer and the dogs slept - lucky dogs!!! So, currently on the table, cutting that is. Is one finished apron. The cute little blue print one - I ripped off the pink ruffle. I will use that for another apron - this time all the same fabric! One cut out apron - hope to get finished tonight. 3 aprons in my mind - the pink one, which will be short and 2 from dog prints to send to my friends. I have been attempting to knit Valentine theme warshrags for gifts - so far I have two pale pink ones finished. I made them out of left over Takhi cotton and they need to be blocked. I'm not real thrilled with blocking a washcloth. The red cotton chenille that was on my swift? Wound into a yarn cake - want to make the MD round washcloth with bobbles to send to a friend. Would make a loverly Valentine's surprise. Finally - I picked up some single CD sleeves. I want to try using these to make a holder for circular needles. If it works I will give one to my friend with her needle case - that is if we can ever find time to get together when one of us isn't working! Okay to finish working so I can knit in peace on The Man Sweater - the back is about 8" long again (heavy sigh).

January 27, 2007

Good Morning, Good Morning

Occasionally, I have to act as if. But not so much today. I am actually having a good morning :) I was too tired to get my weight lifting in this morning, but I did two full weight workouts this week, as well as 3 sessions on the treadmill, the dogs got walked every day :) Not too shabby. By the way - my WI this week finally showed a great loss (4.6#) and I am finally under goal again! Woo Hoo. This morning I am headed to the new home of one of our ASG members. We are having a party there! The meeting will still be held, however there will be food, too. This is new for us and I'm looking forward to it. Yesterday I made it to both JoAnns to get some solid fabric that will hopefully work with the apron as well as some really cute valentine's dog prints to make aprons for some friends. My goal is to get those in the mail by next weekend - February 5th at the latest. I also got to the local yarn store and got the correct size of Addis Turbo for The Man Sweater. I got it switched to the metal needle and away I went. I think I added between 2-3" to that puppy yesterday. And speaking of puppies - that was after bathing all 4 of them. Have you ever tried to wrestle a 110# dog into the tub who doesn't want to go? Maybe I did get some weight training after all :)

January 26, 2007

Don't Really Have Anything

I've been thinking sewing all week. Thinking about it, looking at it, all the while doing other things. I haven't ripped the flounce off the apron yet, although I'm shopping for different accent (not drastic contrast) fabric to work with it today. Last Sunday I finally stopped at the LYS and bought an Addi turbo for The Man Sweater - but I got the wrong size - what an idiot!!! So that's on the errands list for today too. And after living in Seattle almost my entire life and spending the last 3 years walking the dogs in any weather I finally bought myself a nice Columbia Sportwear raincoat - only to find it's a little snug at the hips. It would work fine over a t-shirt, but add anything heavier and it won't be zipped. So, exchange coat is also on the errands list for today. Plus checkbook balancing, vacuuming, cleaning. I'm having company for dinner tomorrow after my ASG meeting. I'm really looking forward to this meeting. One of our members has spent the last year building a new home. The photos look fabulous. They are finally moved in and we are meeting at her house. Another member is giving an awesome presentation on Color, how to work with it, how to understand it, why somethings work together and others don't. This will be an incredible presentation and I can't wait. Then we are all going to have a pot-luck meal. Will be very fun. After that it will be more housework. Then I'm cooking prime rib, baked potatoes, roasted asperagus and cauliflower. I'm not sure why I'm making two veggies because the wife won't eat either of them. I have a new JenAire oven which I've had since my kitchen remodel last year. I have never roasted prime rib in this oven. I'm a little worried as I know that the temp is off almost 25*. I really need to check with JenAire and find out what my warranty covers and how they can fix this little problem - which isn't too bad when your recipe calls for 325* for 30 minutes - I know to crank the oven up to 350* and everything will come out fine. But prime rib starts off in a really, really hot oven!! I'm a little worried. Okay - to start my errands - first stop Weight Watchers, for WI. I've been really, really, good this week so I'm hoping to see a loss.

January 22, 2007

Feeling a Little Blah

First - look what I got for Christmas. JB really came through with this one. There is also a ball winder, but my table needs a minor adjustment before I can set it up, the table is currently too think to attach the winder. I also got the skein of red currently in residence on the winder. Next, remember that shopping spree I went on? Well the yarn on the left is the Cascade Quatro to make Lattice and Lace from the Summer 06 issue of Knitters Magazine. The body will be knit with the multi and then the cardi has a little ruffle around the button bands - which will be the solid. I previously swatched for this and then promptly forgot which needle size I liked. So, I need to restart it ~ but I'm afraid if I do, The Man Sweater will never get finished. The yarn on the right it for a twin set - the pattern is from Plymouth Yarns. I choose merino wool to make both pieces. The colors aren't very true in the photo. the main cardigan color is a rich chocolate brown and the pink for the contrast and the shell is more raspberry then the bright color shown. Finally, there is 3 skeins of KPPPM to make another Clapotis. This one will be for The Musical One. It will go lovely with her baby blue winter wool coat. I had hoped to get this one done by Christmas but since the yarn is still in skeins and not balls - it obviously didn't happen. However her birthday is in June and this would make a beautiful, light spring wrap. So, I'll just keep it in mind :)
Finishing up are some shots of things I've been working on. The photo on the left is an apron for The Princess. I loved the fabrics when I purchased them - but now the pink seems to be too much for the cute little blue print. What do you think? To me the pink is completely overpowering. I might need to go shopping for a softer pink to use as the ruffle and contrast on this apron.
The last picture is of the flower pincushions I made last Monday. Hope everyone else is having more productive days than I am. I think I might take one of them as a hostess gift to lady in my ASG Neighborhood Group who is opening her new home to our group for a meeting and potluck this Saturday.
On a completely unrelated front, I have however been working out and walking the dogs. We had a personal trainer come and visit on Saturday and man was he tough. And it was only "The Assessment." JB and I talked about it and we have decided to shake up my routine a little bit. He will start getting up at 5:30 with me and we will walk the dogs then. You don't really need to be awake to walk the dogs :) Then after work and before dinner we will do our workouts. I will do cardio on M,W,F and weight training on T,TH, & Sat. Sunday will be a day of rest with nothing more strenuous than walking the dogs, laundry, grocery shopping and hopefully some craft time. So far, I'm down 2# and moving in the right direction :) It feels good to have a commitment from him to do this with me - finally.

January 19, 2007

Not Once, But Twice!

I've been tagged. By both Carolyn and Shannon. So, here's the deal: *Get tagged by someone *Write down 5 things that have never been revealed on your blog before *Tag 5 others Here goes: *1~I am a perfectionist. If I can't do it correctly and perfect, I won't do it at all! *2~I avoid watching the news and reading the newspaper like the plague. It's just too depressing to me and I get all caught up in what they're missing. I particularly hate senseless tragedy. I will and do follow politics however - go figure. *3~I hate to cook, yet I am responsible for 98% of the care and feeding that goes on in this house. However, I love cookbooks and trying new recipes. Just this year I've become addicted to Rachael Ray - she makes me nuts, but she has some good recipes. Also, I could very easily be vegetarian, most red meat grosses me out!!! *4~My first husband was in the Air Force and we were stationed in England for 2 years. Consequently I can never give blood - apparently I'm a Mad Cow!! I also re-learned how to knit while we were stationed in England. Because of the way I knit, I hate to knit in public. Apparently I hold my needles and move my yarn in a modified Continental style. Basically I knit by feel. This means that I can knit and watch a movie or carry on a conversation without looking at my knitting. This drives other's in the same room crazy, they all start looking at me and watching what I'm doing ~ this makes me crazy!!! *5~JB and I are planning for our next job. We hope to make the move from working for others to owning a B&B. We just can't decide where to live - I want to live in New England and he wants to stay on the West Coast. Other than that we have a basic agreement on what we want ~ land, separate owner's quarters, and at least 5 bedrooms all with private baths. *Bonus~all of my dogs have middle names. Abigail Jane, Dudley Do-Right (JB is Canadian, after all), Lucy Lou (who was named after Lucille Ball, but her name is Lucy), and Beauregard James. Beau didn't have a middle name until one day last summer at the vet's office. He was getting his ears checked and he is a huge baby. When the Doctor lifted his ear to look in it, Beau screamed, jumped up on the bench and tried to hide behind me. Dr. Throm looked at him and said "Beauregard James, get back here!" He went and has been Beauregard James ever since :) With that being done, I'm tagging the following people Claire, Linda, Debbie, Lisa, and Linda.

January 15, 2007

Feeling Stir Crazy

I haven't been outside, other than to walk dogs in a couple of days. I got home from shopping on Saturday around 1p.m. and that was the last time I was outside. I'm feeling stir crazy and like I've been pent up for days. I'm having a little problem though. I don't have a real reason to leave the house. There is a local fabric store going out of business and I could go shopping, but I don't really need anything and I'm trying not to spend money. I could head to the local yarn store for a size 3 Addi circular needle. I don't really need one - I have a size 3 Bryspun needle - but I like using the metal needle much better. I'm considering calling The Princess and offering to trade her a taco for a coffee. I'm sure she's hungry and she's working at the latte stand today, but in truth I'm not all the hungry and there are left-overs that need to be used. Hmmm - most likely, I'll just stay in and continue working on the little flower pincushions I saw at over at Stacy's blog several months ago. Mine aren't looking as round as her's, but they are fun.

January 14, 2007

Calling All Knitters

I need help! I don't know what to do. I am working on The Man Sweater. The pattern calls for gauge of 26 stitches and 32 rows with a size 4US needles. I size 4 I'm getting 26 stitches and 26 rows. On size 3US, I'm getting the 26 stitches (it's a very stretchy fabric - 5x3 rib) and only 28 rows. I held the back up to JB - since he figured out based on the color that it was for him. Anyway, the armhole shaping on the back looks a little short, but the body is long enough - I really don't want to add any length. I think what I'm going to do is refigure the increases/decreases for the sleeve and work the front up one size smaller. If I switch to smaller needles for the sleeves, do I need to rework the back? It wouldn't hurt to be size bigger :) Thanks for any suggestions - I'm off to rip and watch the overtime game. Actually, I just heard JB scream that Chicago won! Guess it's over 'til the next game :)

Shopping, Ripping & Thanking

:Shopping: Well my friend the ex-sewing machine dealer called bright and early Saturday morning to help my diagnosis the problem with my sewing machine. The timing is off! Apparently it has been out since I had it serviced in August. I'm wondering how the couple of skirts I made are going to hold up since apparently, even on a straight stitch the hook has been cutting the needle thread - it's just more pronounced anytime I was working with the needle to the left of center. I have a couple of options for getting it fixed: ::1:: send it back to the guy who created the problem in the first place; ::b:: ship it to the Distributor (which would take about 6 weeks); or ::2:: wait for my friend to get home from Georgia and fix it. He will be here in 3 weeks. I decided to go with waiting for my friend to return and I made my hubby stop by WallyWorld yesterday to look for a back-up machine. I bought a little Brother CE-4000. It's okay and will definitely work in times when my machine is busy, needs service, and for the rare times when The Princess wants/needs a project. Prior to stopping at WallyWorld, we stopped at my favorite local yarn store ~~ Great Yarns! I love Great Yarns. It is the only Indy yarn store I know of that will pull all the die lot for your project and not make you purchase it all in one day. Pretty cool huh? Anyway, I picked up the rest of the Cascade Quatro for a sweater I swatched for this summer, I also picked up a pattern I had asked them to get for me and enough yarn to make the twin set - so much for not spending any money for while. :Ripping: On a sad note - it would appear that I'm going to have to rip the sleeves on The Man Sweater. They are just too long. I thought I would be okay - apparently my row gauge is way off! I measured the sleeve against his arm last night - the sleeve looked like it would be a little long - there is a high wool content in this yarn - so no shrinking. But I still have more than 10 rows to go on the sleeve cap shaping and it's way too big! So, Rip I will and then I'll swatch again and drop to even smaller needles - I'll have to check, but I'm pretty sure I'm already at least one size smaller than the pattern calls for - UGH!!! :Thanking: Thank you all for the kind comments on my Pink Quilt for the Kim's Block. I'm hoping that it looks okay in the final quilt - I'm sure it will. ::Serena:: can't wait to see your finished block - do you blog? ::Carolyn:: when are you going to start blogging? I can't wait to see some of your finished projects ::Sharon:: just tell Sophia that that is an empty box (they always get the empty boxes to clean as well as empty ice cream bowls and the last bite of my breakfast during the week (when it's oatmeal or cottage cheese). Love what you're doing with the fur :) ::Patricia:: Thank you. I look forward to seeing your finished block too :) ::Erin:: I'm really enjoying your blog. What is the story on your SO's blog name? I love hearing what we all come up with to avoid putting our families on the web!

January 13, 2007

My Block is Done!

My quilt block is done! While I have made quilts in the past - I am not a quilter. Not that there's anything wrong with being a quilter, I just don't have the eye. I'm not overly creative on my own. I can take an idea and run about a block with it, but not for miles. Anyway. After reading the "Colors" (scroll down) post at the Quilts for the Kims blog. I started looking for inspiration. Remember last weekend when I only bought fat quarters at JoAnns? Well I look at every quilting magazine in the store and all the books too. Looking for something 'new' and 'non-traditional' that caught my eye. What ended up catching my attention was this Lotus Quilt by Amy Butler. This is a free pattern and I love all the different but in her case matching fabrics. I did a little math to try and avoid one side o the block being too narrow - but that didn't work out. I cut 16 different fabrics into strips 1/5" wide, then I cut those again into 2.5" rectangles. I wanted this block to look very, very random. So I then put all the little rectangles into a basket. I thought they looked very pretty out in the snow :) My thought was that I didn't want two of the same fabrics touching each other at any time during the block. Not horizontally, nor vertically. So, after randomly grabbing fabric out of the basket - I had to actually plan for their random placement. I think I only had to rip 3 little block apart because they were the same. Here you can see them all laid out on my ironing board, trying to make sure that I don't have any duplicates. It took awhile to plan it out, but I finally got it all done, there are no two of the same fabrics next to each other, but all the fabrics repeat more than once. I added some green and pink fabric for a little pop - as well as a white brick. This next photo shows all the rows sewn together into strips, but now sewn into a block. I love how much it shrinks once it's actually sewn into a block. My thought is that as Sabine grows up, Kati, Sabine & Penelope can play a version of "Memory" with this block. Can you find another fabric that looks like this? I had fun making this. I will be very interested in seeing the final quilt. Everyone's blocks are so different and I think the blocks and the stories are so incredible. This is a great cause. Thanks for putting it together Patricia and Shanna. Here is a final shot of my block trimmed to 12" square! Finally I'm leaving you today with a funny shot of the dogs. This is both Beau & Lucy trying to both get their schnozes into an empty Ice Cream box. They couldn't decide who's turn it was to get it - so The Princess held the box and they shared.

January 11, 2007

Thankful

I am in need of another dose of Thankful Thursday. Lately I'm feeling like a spoiled brat and I don't like it. I'm doing what I want to do, regardless of what I need to do. Last night I was working on the hedgehog beds for The Princess' boy. The little hogletts are due to be flying to Seattle on Friday - but we had snow on Wednesday night - which is never a good thing! Anyway - I was so irritated at my $7,000+ sewing machine! I generally love my machine. I have a Designer 1 SE, which I bought before I quit working for the local dealer. I quit working for him because his business was going under due to the economy. Anyway - I love this machine. Now, the ex-local dealer, who is also a family friend has gotten a new job with Homeland Security and is currently in Georgia for training. Up until he left, he has done all the service and maintenance on my machine. This summer, he didn't have time so I asked him where to take it. I then took it to the dealer he recommended. They had it for a week, did an intensive service, completed a recall and replaced a part that had gone out. When it came back - the machine began shredding threads on any stitch but the most basic - straight and a very long zig-zag. I called this dealer less than 60 days after getting it back to advise of the problem and ask if he warrantied his work. Nope! So, last night was the final straw - I have the last to tents together and I just need to zig-zag the ends together to form triangles. I couldn't get the zig-zag for actually make a stitch for more than an inch! I was so mad! I could have spit needles. Mind you - I have done absolutely nothing different - I'm using the same needles, the same brand of thread and basically attempting the same stitch functions that I was using before. The local ex-dealer/friend won't be back in Washington until mid-February. Can I wait that long to sew? Or do I just spend the money for a back-up machine? Thankfulls: Today I am very thankful for how pretty the trees looked out my kitchen window this morning. They are covered with snow. Today I am very thankful for puppy kisses from Beau! Today I am very thankful for safely driving to work. Today I am very thankful for the ice crystals sparkling in the snow - how pretty. Today I am very thankful for having power and roof over my head. Today I am very thankful for being a valued member of my office team - even if I am the only one who made it into the office :) Happy Sewing everyone.

January 10, 2007

21!

Today The Princess turns 21. Apparently - I don't have any pictures of her at all :{ I was able to find some in a Yahoo Album but there are none on my new computer. Last night while watching House I was thinking about being in labor. I was still pretty young (22) and this was my second child - but I did this one myself. The Princess was originally thought to be due at Thanksgiving - yes, today is January 10th! I was even induced on December 24th - but she moved backwards - just wasn't ready. To this day she does things on her own schedule. She is a bright, beautiful, girl and I'm happy that she was mine - if only briefly. Happy Birthday Princess!!!

January 9, 2007

Jumbled Thoughts

After reading Shannon's post yesterday regarding sewing letting her be thinner, taller, whatever . . . I started thinking about why I sew. I don't really have an answer. I started sewing as a small child - when I was 8. When I was younger I mostly made things for others - for my brother, sister and my girls. I really enjoyed the process of making stuff for them. Going to the fabric store, finding the perfect pattern, the fabric that matched the vision and then creating that garment. I don't do that as much with my own clothes. I think that's totally fear based. I would much rather spend lots of money on garbage fabric from the local chain stores then ponying up for a good fabric. Good fabric scares the beezeesus out of me! Wool? Silk? Linen? So, that is one of my goals for this year - to purchase at least one fabric that I have never worked with before and make something. Instead of drooling on my monitor to actually purchase a piece of fabric that calls to me and then using it. It's just money and currently there are piles of it stacked in the storage cupboards in the sewing room - some was spent on "good" fabric. I have a piece of chocolate silk that I bought that will become a fabulous skirt. Due to the color the time is now - it's winter already! Perfect for a chocolate brown staight skirt with some detail. Okay - one plan. Second - I think I finally have my head back around my weight management plan. It's not as perfect as it was this summer, but it's getting there. I'm human after all and ocassionally I want a drink or a piece of cake. I don't have to eat the whole thing, but I can have the 3 bites that satisfy the craving. I got into the exercise room last night and man did it feel good. I did 3+ miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes, varying the speed and incline while I was at it. Then I went over to the M2 and set the weight stack and 40 and did 2 sets of 20 crunches. This morning I got up, got my workout ball out and plugged in a 45 minute workout video. I just jumped right in and used 8# weights. I'm sure I'll be really sore late this afternoon, but for now I'm doing good. Last plan is to get back to walking the dogs.

January 8, 2007

I Have a Problem

And this is the real reason that I'm not turning out 117 garments in a year like Shannon & her dog Simon or even half that like Carolyn. I always think I have way more time than I do and that things won't take as long as they actually do. So, I killed several hours of my free day on Saturday, by watching tv and knitting! Good news - I'm finally on the sleeve decreases on The Man Sweater. I'm working both sleeves at the same time. Bad news - I'm bored with the project and I still have to finish the sleeves and knit the front! Then I roamed around JoAnn Fabrics for more than an hour looking for something. I'm not sure what and I never did find it. Upon arriving home I found these piles of fabric on my sewing table. The Princess had been here and she picked out some cottons for the hedgie beds. However she left me no instructions on how big these beds should be. So, these are the first couple of 'tents' I turned out. Since the inside should be something warm and fuzzy and I didn't have any sherpa - I put fleece inside and lined them with batting. I thought the first one (on the right) looked too tall so I made the next one smaller. I quilted the cottons together so I could make use of both pieces she picked for each bed and still make sure they were washable and warm. Then I talked to her. Apparently, a full-grown hedgehog can get as big as around 7" from nose to tail. So, these won't be deep enough. But since a baby is coming I still have more time. The John Deer Fabric in the front was cut to be deeper and a little more shallow - to really snuggle in and keep warm. Finally - once I got done running all my errands on Sunday - Costco, grocery, and picking up prescriptions - I came home to JB working on building our new M2. The Musical One had finally moved out of the downstairs room and we were setting up the workout room. This room is small than we thought, but it will work. In the room is my treadmill, the M2 and a Gazelle Glider. JB says he's going to use it, but I won't hold my breath. We originally bought the glider when I wanted a new treadmill 4 years ago, because he was going to use it. I have used it plenty, but he's been on it twice. The first time after assembling it and the second time last night to make sure he had enough room for it! I am excited about the Inspire M2 - this is a complete home gym with a 150# weight stack. It has a pretty small footprint and is much easier to use than some of the other home gyms we had looked at. The store we bought it at also included a one time session with a personal trainer - in our home! I'm really excited about that! You can see the back of Lucy check out the machine - they were kept out of the room yesterday. After getting the equipment built, we moved the tv and stand, moved the computer desk and filing cabinet and the last remaining recliner downstairs. Everything got cleaned, dusted, vacuumed and walls even got washed. Unfortunately - I was up way too late so I didn't get to use any of the equipment this morning. JB is working late on a friends car tonight, so that plan is to test the tv viewing angle from the treadmill as soon as I get home!

January 6, 2007

Strange Things

This morning I worked on the Man Sweater a little bit while watching the sewing line-up on the local PBS. Then I went to Weight Watchers to see if I was officially below goal weight again - semi good news. While I'm not at or below my goal weight, I'm within 1.5 pounds of it, which is 4+ pounds closer than I was last week! Yea Me. Hopefully next week I'll be below. Anyway . . . after that I went to JoAnn's to look for fat quarters for my block in the Quilt for the Kims. I wandered around JoAnn's for more than an hour and came away with 7 fat quarters. I could find nothing else I wanted or needed. Not a sewing/knitting/quilting magazine or book - nothing! Shocking! So, I used my $10 off a purchase of $10 or more and came home. Upon arriving in my sewing space/studio/whatever - I found three piles of fabric. They were small - each containing 2 pieces of cotton. The Princess was here again and she looked through the quilting stuff so I could make the snuggle tents for the soon to be shipped Hedgehogs. Since the entire thing needs to be washable and the inside should be super-cozy, I'm piecing the outside and using some left-over fleece for the inside. Hope to get 4 tents made today.

January 5, 2007

Weekend Plans

JB has to work on Saturday and The Musical One will be finishing the move to her new room upstairs this weekend. That means I need to vacuum her old room - after she does. Sunday we'll be picking up our new piece of weight equipment and moving furniture in the sewing/workout/computer/dog room. Saturday, however, is all mine! I have been reading blogs and need to update my links. But in the meantime I am inspired to sew clothing! For me even. I do have a few - small - craft projects to get finished first. First - Cozy Tents to The Princesses new hedgehog. Yes a live one. Her new boyfriend is buying them each hedgehogs for Christmas/her birthday and they should be arriving on her birthday. I told her I'd make the tents, but not a 'snuggle sack.' They can buy that! Next - 2 aprons. One is for The Princess, was on the agenda for Christmas but didn't get done. The other for a friend - same situation. One needs to be done by the 10th the other by the 13th. I have the 12th off - again, no biggie! After that I'm going to finish up the Santa Monica Tee that has been cut and mostly sewn since last summer! Shame on me. This is going to be a great top. If I can slog my way through all of that - then I plan on cutting out a few new skirts! Wish me luck.

January 3, 2007

First Craft Project of 2007!

Last year (2005, sorry, still thinking 2006) I found this great cotton fabric at JoAnn's. I loved it! I screamed my friends name and I had every intention of making a needle roll for her knitting supplies. The fabric got washed and then stowed away in the fabric closet with all the other cottons. This year, I was surfing the web and found this great website. Craftbits. I don't remember how I found it, but I did. There was a loose pattern for a Kimono Needle Roll. Starting with Christina's idea, I made this Needle Roll for my friend, who shall remain nameless as I think she might read my blog :) I think this might be a little big, but I filled it with my needles and there are the smaller pockets for stuff. I think it would be okay. I started by cutting the front and back 25 x 17. I also cut 2 pieces of warm and natural batting the same size. Anything that was sewn to either front or inside piece was sewn through both the cotton and batting layers. The top pocket - which is cut at an angle is 25" by 6" at the small end to 9 3/4" at the other end. Just use your ruler to make a diagonal line. The short pocket in the front is 4 1/2" deep. I used the cotton fabric cut on the grain and iron it into "bias tape" using a tape maker. Since the strips didn't have to turn any corners - they didn't actually have to be bias strips. I don't remember the actual dimensions of the obi sash strips on the outside and for some reason didn't write them down. Also the inside flap which is meant to keep your needles from falling out is a little small. Next time I will make it deeper. Enjoy - would love to know if anyone makes one for their friends - or themselves :)

January 2, 2007

As Previously Promised

Remember this post? Well I promised to show the advent calendars. The first photo shows the original advent calendar made by my Sister-in-Law a million years ago. It has just a few ornaments on it already.
I asked The Princess to email me a picture of her advent calendar all decorated for Santa, but she hasn't done it. The Musical One lost one of her ornaments last year while she was in the process of moving back home. Anyway - she didn't put hers out this year.
The next picture is of The Musical One's bare advent calendar. As you can see - all the number pockets are embroidered. These truly were one of the first projects made after I got an embroidery machine. There are little gold stars scattered around the tree and some silver 'twisted cord' garland. I also made 3 different pieced and quilted tree skirts. The skirt is much straighter on the banner than the picture indicates :)
The presents were embroidered on organza and then cut out and the edges sealed with a wood cutting tool. Finally - it's hard to see, but I added a button hole by the trunk and placed a little teddy bear (who is on a shank button) there. I think these trees are much prettier bare than the original.
Here's a little close up of some of the tiny cross-stitched ornaments. It would appear that some more of these are in my future for 2007. I put a pocket on the back of the banners and labelled it "Extra Pieces." The Princess was quite upset this year to find out that the pocket didn't actually contain any extra pieces. The picture isn't close enough to tell, but the wreath has little red beads scattered for the berries, the white of the stocking is all beaded as are the faces on the gingerbread man and the reindeer. Now I just have to find the supplies.
Finally - I'll leave you with a fully decorated, but crooked, shot of the original calendar with all the new tiny cross-stitch ornaments. And the good news - the Sister-in-Law didn't even notice that the decorations for the tree had been changed!!!
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