Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 in Review

First of all, I'll jump on board the mosaic train to show you a collage of my finished projects from this year. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to finish this year. I'd attribute most of this closure to the Year of Schnibbles project; always having a queue of small-ish projects I could finish quickly definitely boosted my closure rate for 2010.

2010 finished projects

Finally, let's (cringe while we) reflect on my 2010 resolutions...

1) Floss at least 4 nights/week. Hehehe, EPIC fail. There's not really much else to say. Gah, I hope no one in my dentist's office ever finds this blog.

2) 10,000 steps/day or bust. This one kind of waxed and waned, depending on the weather.

3) Crafty resolution #1: Cut into my fat quarter bundles - Christmas Past (Minick & Simpson) and Mistletoe Manor (3 Sisters). Again, another epic fail. I just can't bring myself to do it. I keep telling myself that the reason I buy fabric is to USE it. For my birthday, the in-laws were kind enough to give me a copy of the latest Miss Rosie book, which uses mainly fat quarters. I'm hoping that will be enough inspiration for me.

4) Crafty resolution #2: Make 1 quilt top from my scrap bins. (almost) DONE! Unfortunately, this quilt, which used 42 strips from my dark 2.5" bin, made a very small dent in my stash of scraps. That bin still doesn't close all the way.

5) Try out at least one new Durham restaurant each month. We didn't really keep up with this resolution all the way through the year, but I think we found a restaurant to fit each of the requirements we were looking for:
*a tasty diner (preferably one that always serves breakfast) - 1) Elmo's 2) back-up = Honey's
*a good pizza joint - we didn't pursue this one quite as purposefully as others, mainly because the Hubz is so awesome at homemade calzones, but Amante is always a good option if we want fancy pizza. If we just want quick and cheap, Big Cheese Pizza was passable.
*a standby cheap Mexican place - El Corral
*Asian food - Shanghai for take-out Chinese, Thai Cafe for Thai (duh)
*a local pub - Tyler's has never led us astray
*somewhere nice enough to take the folks - original choice: Tosca, but sadly, it closed over the summer. Now it's Dos Perros.
By no means have we tried EVERYTHING Durham has to offer. That would take forever. But I'm glad we have the basics covered. Of course, the list of our essentials is subject to change.

our first Christmas tree

Christmas was great fun, but in some ways I think I need another week off. We got to see a whole flock of cute kids like this one,

more cuteness

this one,


and this one.

cuteness cont'd

We also helped my parents pack and move across town into their new house. Hence, the need for another break.

Like most folks, I have a whole list of resolutions for 2011 queued up to share. I'll be sharing those with you over the next few days.

Hope everyone's enjoying the New Year and (on their way to) feeling rested and rejuvenated!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In

It's crunch time.

Christmas is slightly over a week away, and I'm planning to make a quilt for a gift. The problem?

I just started cutting last night.

That's right. I didn't even finish cutting the fabric.

There's work to be done.

Here's my stack of fabric.


Here's what's for dinner: Big Cheese Pizza

And here's the guy who knocks over the bathroom trash can and digs through it when I sew for hours on end and ignore him.


If you need me this weekend, I'll be parked in front of the sewing machine, with my 69 cent iTunes holiday mix playing in the background.

I might emerge for a little while to visit the local quilt shop to redeem the Santa bucks that I earned on the above stack of fabric.

See you on the other side.

Update: If anyone else is in such dire straits, you might consider participating in tonight's Friday Night Sew-In.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Around My Sewing Room

After an unplanned blogging vacation of sorts, I'm happy to say that I'm baaaaacckk, with a quick tour of what's been going on in my sewing room.

I spent most of this past weekend in my warm fuzzy sweatpants, with my nose to the quilting grindstone. Last night, I finished quilting my first scrap quilt ever. Hard to believe, huh? I've been quilting for 5 years now, and this is the first quilt that originated completely from my stash without any sort of manufacturer intervening on which prints/colors go with what.


Final pictures will have to wait on 1) the binding and 2) optimal weather conditions, which have been few and far between in these here parts the last few weeks.


Another exciting development is that my sewing room has become a little bit more ergonomically sound, and unlike most ergonomic upgrades, it cost less than $15. (Did I just hear the sound of 3 people doing that weird snore/snort thing that happens when they nod off in the middle of a boring meeting?) I know, I know, ergonomics is kind of a snooze. I know I always click through the obligatory ergonomics powerpoints during office orientation as quickly as possible so I can get back to my exciting spreadsheets. BUT quilting is my hobby, and I don't want it to cause me pain.

Anyways, I'd like to introduce you to the risers.


Anyone who's short on space has probably seen these risers before. You usually put them under the legs of your bed to increase storage space. While increased storage space is a nice side benefit, my goal was to make my rotary cutting experience a little less painful. Whenever I had to cut for more than 15 minutes or so, my neck, shoulders, and lower back would be crying out in old lady pain. I'm already an old soul. I don't need to have an old achey body, too.

I use a little depression-era table for my cutting table. Mom got it for me from one of the local antique shops when I moved into my first apartment. I love this little table, but it's slightly short for a cutting table. Over the summer, I was perusing this book at Mom and Dad's house. It recommended that the surface of your cutting table fall an inch or two below your ELBOWS. The surface of my cutting table was roughly parallel with my WRISTS. Sheesh, no wonder I've been in such pain.

The book showed all these big fancy cutting tables that looked absolutely luxurious, and once I started doing research, I realized that they can be kind of expensive, unless you're lucky enough to find a used one. Honestly, y'all, I'd rather spend my money on fabric than on furniture, even if it is for the sewing room.

So, armed with a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card and a couple of those ubiquitous BB&B coupons that don't actually expire, I picked up a box of 4 (7") risers. And voile!


I'm very pleased to introduce you to my (messy) ergonomically-friendly cutting table. Total upgrade costs: $12. Money saved on ibuprofen over the next year: $50 (estimated).

Here are a couple of upcoming projects in various stages of completion and disarray around my sewing room:


A stack of Fig Tree fabric for a Christmas gift/Just One Charm Pack tutorial (time to GET ON that)


My Plan C Schnibbles in Simple Abundance, with the batting and backing that I need to piece together, then baste.

Finally, on to the food for the week...

For more menus, be sure to check out this week's edition of Menu Plan Monday on OrgJunkie.