Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kitten-proof sewing organizer...

I had a perfectly good sewing-on-the-sofa kind of organizer with a pincushion attached and a removable pouch for scraps and threads and stuff. But it was a kitten MAGNET! Nosey Parker wanted to pull all the pins and needles out, dig in the pouch, burrow underneath it all- she was scaring me! I just knew we'd end up at the vet's having emergency surgery, so I decided I better come up with something that wouldn't risk her life but would still allow me to do my handsewing on the sofa at night while we watch TV.
This is what I came up with.

I didn't even have much of a plan, which is odd for me, I usually over-think these things and spend way too much time on something small or silly. I grabbed 2 fat quarters of Kaffe Fasset material out of the hutch thinking I could afford to waste them if this didn't work out. The one I used for the interior is not my favorite fabric and I think I only I bought it to have a bit more red fabric available to me when I made my coin quilt and then it wasn't the right kind of red. Anyway, I used these thinking they'd be OK, but as it turns out, I really like the punchiness of it all together.
I slapped a piece of fusible cotton batting in between 2- 10" x 15" pieces of fabric and machine quilted it using the circles on the outside piece as my guide. Then I laid it on the arm of the sofa and started thinking- "what do I want and where should I put it?" After a few mis-starts and boo-boos- (like don't put all the bulky stuff on one side, stupid!) this is what I ended up with and I'm pretty tickled with it. I managed to get all this done with those 2 fat quarters of fabric. I was piecing scraps together for that binding, though!
This is how it looks when it's just opened up or ready to be closed up.

And this is how it is "in action". The scissors just hang there, easy-in and easy-out.

See that elastic up there? That's what holds the thread in place, it loops over 2 shank buttons and keeps SOMEONE from batting them around the living room. A little divided thing in the center holds my favorite leather thimble and 2 other things, like pens or forceps. The pins and needles are encased in a little flapper thing that folds up and snaps shut, keeping all pointy things out of reach of the little beast. The tiny scissors are held safe by a fabric sheath and locked into place with a bit of fabric and another snap. When I'm using them, I can just slide it into the other strip which holds it in place vertically.

The big pouch has wire in the casing so it's easy to throw things in there, snips of thread, candy wrappers, just any old trash. And it's velcroed on so it's easy to clean out and empty. There's another pocket next to that, it's fixed in place and good for reading glasses or notes, etc.

When I'm done for the evening, I just put the scissors in the little sheath, snap them into place, and smash it all shut. lol Clip the little buckle on the twill tape ribbon and Bob's your uncle! This will be good for taking on a trip, too, I think. I like to take what I call "idiot work" along in the car so I'm not just sitting there when I'm not driving.

I'm toying with the idea of making some of these for my Etsy shop, do you think they'd sell or are they too kitten-proof-y? And if you want to make one, just ask if you need more dimensions or instructions, OK? Thanks for looking.

I'm thinking about doing a tute for this, maybe I'll try to do that when I whip up a couple for the shop. Just don't hold your breath, OK? lol

Amylouwho is doing a sew-n-tell post this week. If you'd like to see what others have been making and get inspired to do something yourself, click on that link!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Destructo Kitty!

Oh, the lovely sounds of things crashing and breaking..... the joys of having a kitten that is into everything. Nosey Parker is enamored with this pair of lamps, they have a beaded fringe that just tempts her to nibble on them and if she can't get a good bite on it, she stands up taller and leans on them. CRASH! She's knocked this lamp over twice now, it falls a good 4 feet to the floor and lands on the base of a brass floor lamp, which is now dinged up good. Not only does the lightbulb shatter, the lamp refuses to work. So out comes the electrical meter and all the lovely colored wires that come with it! Oh, BOY!

And they're tasty, too!
Daddy loves a good helper and it's the least she can do. Is it really considered helping if she's the one who broke it in the first place? He got it working again, there was a loose connection after all the battering it took. Thank goodness for electrical engineers and rocket scientists. Not that I have any rockets that need fixing. Nosey Parker is just fine! lol
I'm not so sure about our safety net, though! Sammie has taken to napping in the middle of it. It's a good safe (he thinks) place to be and very comfy. Parker likes to snooze nearby, if she's not chewing on his ears in the middle there, aggravating him. Keep in mind, Sammie weighs a good 11 pounds or so. She's probably 4.5 pounds by now. I can actually feel her now when she stomps across me in the night. (And night-time is her best time! She's so cuddly and sweet and gives the best smoochies at night, I just love that.) Anyway, I keep checking the net for trouble and stress spots. I would faint if it failed!
And how about all these cute legs? Do you think she feels safe on Daddy's lap? Or sort of on Daddy's lap..... there's a bit of slippage going on. :)

There's your Nosey Parker fix for the day. Truly. The lamp is fixed. For now. Any bets for long it stays on the top of the desk?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The finished zigzag quilt- The Morpho....

The Morpho Quilt-
I participated in the Zigzag Quilt Along at the Old Red Barn Co flickr group and from Amy at Parkcitygirl, where I learned SO much about the proper way to make a zigzag quilt using half-square triangles. It's never too late to join in, either, so if you want to learn how to make one and make some new friends at the same time, join us! We've made 2 quilts at this flickr group now and we're having a ball doing it.
I wanted something for the foot of our bed where the cats hang out most of the day, resting up from a busy night of hunting and prowling around. I'm sick to death of the towels that I keep there, trying to capture the cat hair before it wafts up to our pillows where we puff and spit at night, cat hairs in your mouth are very hard to catch! Since the cats all seem to like the other quilts I've done so much, I thought they deserved a couple of their own. This is the first one of two. The next one will coordinate but be completely different.
This is how you start out- first- pick out your fabrics and lay them out in a pleasing fashion. Then cut the fabric up into little bits. :) I used 5" squares. Start laying out your squares in the order you want your rows of zigzags to be. It was very confusing at the beginning but once you've done it, you're better able to picture how the squares will look as zigzags. Charts, notes and photos are very helpful in keeping you organized and on track.
Then you sew the squares together on the diagonal and cut them apart, press and you have your blocks ready to sew together to each other.

Once the top is all pieced, you're ready to make a quilt out of it. You lay down the backing, put the batting on that, lay the top on it and pin the snot out of it. :) Then you quilt it. I wanted something fast and easy and not terribly time-consuming, but also wanted it to be able to stand up to many, many launderings. So I was inspired by a doll quilt with long swoopy lines of stitching and that's what I did on this quilt.

I love these swoopy lines.

The Morpho quilt is named after the Blue Morpho Butterfly, an iridescent blue butterfly that is incredibly beautiful. Since there are butterflies in this quilt and the quilting is reminiscent of the lines in butterfly wings, I named it Morpho. Murphy will love it, he'll think it's named after him. He's our goofy boy.
If you've got questions, we've got answers! Just like Ace Hardware.....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quilts and kittens.... oh, my heck.

Nosey Parker's a busy kitten and she keeps us on our toes. Speaking of toes- High Four Me, Man!

One of her first forays onto the back deck meant encountering a big, green locust. She was lucky to see it, usually Shanzie eats them before we ever see them. Ick. :) Artemis was supervising to make sure no animals were harmed in the filming of this event.

I don't know what the attraction is between cats and quilts (other than it's very one-sided!) but if you can't find Nosey Parker, you should look more carefully. We've learned this the hard way.

She doesn't even care if it's finished yet, she wants to lie upon it and snooze, after she's finished terrorizing the big cats and more recently- knocking lamps off of desks. CRASH! Nearly gave me a heart attack, little snot. But it's hard to get mad at this....

I plopped this freshly quilted zigzag quilt on the floor so I could get a photo of it, not her! Bam, she was on it like a duck on a june bug... but she was still a little dozy. Or bored. It's hard to tell which with her.

Who wants to come over and sew my binding down on the back of the quilt? Anybody? Please? And hurry, I want to wash it so it can crinkle up! This quilt is FOR the cats, it's for the foot of our bed where they lay most of the day. There's another one coming, too, as this will only cover one half of the foot.
Jim's been busy doing stuff around the house. Turns out- August is a lousy fishing month around here, who knew? So he's been splitting wood, washing rugs, helping me clean house for company, cleaning shrimp, mowing the grass, tinkering with his new chipper that he bought for parts for the splitter (same engine) and now he's gone to get a new/used push lawn mower as our old one finally gave it up after about 20 years of service, hard labor. It was Pops' before it was ours and he took such good care of it, but our slanty yard and unforgiving terrain finally did it in. It doesn't want to start any more so we're putting it out of its misery and getting a replacement.
Oh, and you know you might be a redneck if you take all your nice area rugs outside and PRESSURE WASH THEM. lol At least we got some of them dry and back inside before the rains came.... now we're scurrying around looking for a big flat dry area to lay out the last one. It's hard to do when it's monsooning! We got another inch of rain last night. We need the rain, I'm not complaining, it's the timing I'm bitching about.
OK, I'm going up to sew and stuff, ya'll have a great day!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

There's another giveaway going on at I have to say -wonderful scraps of designer fabrics. I would love to win this, but you should have a shot at it, too! What a great addition this would be to my stash, I have mostly just bright colors and sometimes that just doesn't fit the project. Scoot on over to her pretty blog and tell her about your favorite TV show growing up!
Good luck to us all!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More loot in the mail, woohoo!!!

I love this, it's so much fun when the mail lady has to actually COME to the house to deliver stuff because it won't fit in the mailbox, that's always a good sign! lol
I got a great package yesterday from my friend Jenni, in CA. She sent me 7 pieces of wonderful fabric, all half-yard cuts, is that amazing or what? I love all of it, too. The fun animals in cars is so me and I'll use it for something for my next road trip, I'm sure. The 3 coordinating blues/greens are just scrumptious! Those are "Brother and Sister Design Studio", as is the black/white one and are such a nice addition to my stash! The wild circular one is Michael Miller called "Flashback" and will work with so many of my fabrics. The little dogs, "Rufus", is also Michael Miller and I just love it, I mean, little dogs in pink bows and ribbons? Who wouldn't love it? Thanks so much, Jenni! I just love getting fabric in the mail and it's really, really fun when it's all surprise fabric and especially when it's gorgeous fabric that I really like!

And then I got a box, too, from Scotland! My new friend Lynz was going to London and asked if my Mum, who was born in London, would want something from there and I asked Mum, who knew a pie and mash wasn't going to make the trip too well, and she asked for a good map of London so she could pour over it and point out places she had been, worked, lived, where she was born, etc. And you should see this map, it's the best map I've ever seen, so detailed, laminated, sturdy... it's a dandy. Thanks so much, Lynz, I know she is going to just love this! And all the other loot, it's so fun! I asked for a guard from the palace and she sent me a teeny, tiny version, he's adorable! And a Scotty dog iron-on, verra Scottish, thank you! :)
I can't wait to get into the sweetie, a Mrs. Tilly's Vanilla Tablet which looks so yummy. I MIGHT give the Mumster half of it, she's got a sweet tooth and could use some fattening up. I also got some shiny things, I love shiny things, I think I was a magpie in a previous life! I'm not really sure what they are, though, bits of belts, maybe? I like 'em, though, and I liked that she explained to me about the money involved "5 shillings, 11 pence" because they're marked 5/11. There are 2 gold ones and 2 silver ones, I'm sure I'll think of something fun to do with them!
The best thing, no- the 2nd best thing- a book of Scots slang, "Shut Yer Pus". Now I can maybe stop asking Lynz to explain all her expressions to me, like "ickle" (small) and "pants" (crap). lol That's just 2 of 'em, there's been a slew. Jim and I are having fun looking thru it and learning new words.

Finally- a HANDMADE by Lynz, star-shaped photo book which I just love, love, love. Looks normal when it's closed, but when you open it up....

You get a very cool star! There's a lot of work in this book, lots of gluin' and cuttin' and it's beautiful, I just love the papers she used. This book was a lot of work and I really appreciate it, sweetie. My photos don't do it justice at all, it's a little work of art.
Thanks to both of you lovely ladies for making the mail lady come down our long driveway to the house! Y'all sent me really neat stuff and I appreciate you both!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Remember when I said I needed more fabric storage?

Well, I got some! Like my new hutch? I do, it holds a lot of fabric and it smells good, too, just like a nice antique, not musty or icky, it's pleasant.

My fabric covered metal shelving unit was over-stressed with the weight of fabric and paints and stuff and it was getting pretty scary when Nosey Parker would jump into it and it would sway back and forth a little. I just knew that one day it would collapse, break a bunch of things and endanger my baby, so I needed to do something about that soon.
This is what I have been using- a metal, 5 shelf unit that was so ugly, I had to hide it behind fabric.

I looked at a few places online for new shelves- ugly, expensive, boring shelves. I have a few antique pieces upstairs already and I really hated to junk it up with more junk. I have an old pie safe at the top of the stairs, a library table with the good sewing machine on it near that, a writing desk with hidden drawers, shhhh- don't tell anyone, an old Japanese table on the wall that Jim brought back from Japan in the 60's, my Singer sewing table, a drop leaf table, etc. Oh, and not an antique, but a cool 'roo wine rack!

So more wire shelves weren't really going to fit in too well. I went online and started looking at the local Craigslist and found a nice hutch in Fayettevile, about an hour away. Emailed to see if they still had it, yes! Got dimensions, measured the stairwell that makes 2 right-angle turns and yes, it would fit. Or so we thought, forgot about that lower ceiling over the first 4 steps, oops. Had to take the net (saves kittens from falling to their deaths!) down for a while so we could finesse this thing up 2 flights of stairs, phew, on about the hottest day of the year so far! lol I was sweating like a little pig. And I don't ever sweat, but I did yesterday. I didn't think we were going to be able to get it up there, I think we were within about 2 inches of being thwarted. Poor Jim was doing most of the work, too. I am a bit sore today, my shoulders are feeling the work out, so I guess I did my part.

I love this new piece! I moved the metal shelf into the hall there to the left, behind the pink, frothy curtain that some little kitten thinks is fun to try to pull down, when she's not hiding behind pretending to be invisible. :) I have all my good, much used fabric in the new hutch and the stuff I don't use as often in the hall now. Interfacings, battings, paints, etc, that kind of thing- banished to the hall! I'm going to take down the little shelf to the right of this, where the bird cage is, acting as a seat for Miss Nectarine. I don't want it to be too cluttery.

I haven't even put one thing in the drawer, yet! Not sure what I'll use that for, but it sure is nice to have my fabric where I can see it and this will force me to keep it tidy.

I'm having fun today, sorting thru fabrics and tidying things up. I need some boxes for scraps and I am half tempted to make some, but I can probably buy black and white photo boxes cheaper than I can sew some. And they'll have lids, that's a big plus for me, so they'll stack. Oh, well- whatever I do, I'm having fun! I finished my quilt top, too, you can see it folded on the table, I made my quilt sandwich today, just need to get some pretty thread so I can finish it up!

Friday, August 7, 2009

I love my mail lady...

...especially on days like yesterday! I had ordered some fabric last week and it all decided to show up on the same day, I think just to freak my husband out. He came in from getting the mail and grumping about how we needed a bigger mailbox. :) Nah. I just need a bigger shelving unit for all my fabric!
Inside the packages were almost 9 yards of assorted Heather Ross "Mendocino" fabrics, a lovely collection of mermaids and fish and seahorses and kelp, etc. I got some of the aquas, some fuchsias, some blush, just a nice mix. This is the nicest fabric, very fine cotton and as you can see, 9 yards is JUST a handful!
Nosey Parker says she doesn't know nuthin' about no fabric but says Mommy spends a lot of time right here, sitting and looking at it on the box.

Now if you'll excuse us, we have HST blocks to square up and fabric to prewash and press. Busy day here! I've got half of my first little zigzag quilt assembled and it's looking good. All my points are present and accounted for, yay!

Have a loverly day, people!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits!

I made my mom a new bag yesterday, she's going in for an MRI tomorrow and I wanted her to have something new to kind of distract her. And since she said Rabbits, she gets a present!
I've made myself a couple of these bags from some ideas I got off the internet and they work up really fast and easy. I had purchased this fabric with her in mind, she loves bright colors and cats and already has several Laurel Burch bags that I've made her, so she got this, this time. The cat fabric is by Nancy Wolfe for Robert Kaufmann.
Close up of the front- I love this button, reminds me of a cracked egg.
The inside-

The back-
There is one big exterior pocket, one small interior one and a good sized compartment inside. It's about 7" tall, 2" deep and 6" wide. I gave her a big round strap and a button and hair elastic closure. Jim delivered it to her this morning, left it outside her front door and she's very happy with it. Said she'll use it tomorrow and promised to NOT take any orders! :)

And Nosey Parker wondered if I was going to be needing the 4, 5 or 2 anytime soon!

It's so hard to be a kitten!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Zigzag quilts in progress....

Made with 5" blocks of fabric, sewn and cut and pressed into 5" half-square triangle blocks. I'm doing 2 different ones to go on the foot of our bed where the cats spend a lot of time sleeping. This will be easier than doing one long one and having to wash the whole thing even if only a bit of it is dirty.
The first one- these fabrics coordinate with our bedding.
And the second one- I could have done it like this-

but I didn't really like it. So I changed it to this- This I LOVE! I added more green and a bit more turquoise and got rid of the pale lavenders that didn't show up at all. Somehow it all worked out just right.

I did have some help, though!

She certainly keeps things interesting around here. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of sewing to do! Blocks into rows, rows into quilts, corners and points to match, oy! Maybe I'll go make my mother a purse instead! Why do today I can put off until tomorrow? Right? RIGHT.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

She puts the "NOSE" in Nosey Parker.

Yep, that's my baby and she's growing up so fast! Used to be there was room for her and the mouse on the mousepad, now she completely covers it and hangs off the edge, threatening to ooze over the side at any moment. She's like a Slinky, very limber and fluid.

Our black cat, Sammie, is quite tolerant of her antics and attacks, but sometimes he comes crying to me to be rescued. She is relentless and when she's on a tear, she's impossible. She's had more than a few "time-outs" in her bathroom. And hairballs that aren't white. lol

"Mom? I'm on the interwebs! Am I old enough to see some of this stuff?"

"OMG! You need to put some safety filters on this thing!"

This actually Parker's favorite napping spot. This is in the stairwell going up to the sewing/craft room, the stairwell she fell down her 5th day here. Fortunately she didn't weigh anything so her landing on the hardwood stairs was soft and she didn't get hurt, just scared, but probably not as scared as I was. So now the stairwell is netted with "The Decapitator", because if I'm not careful coming down the steps, it'll get me right in the throat and jerk me off my feet. And she loves it, so I guess we're stuck with it until she learns a bit about heights and falling and danger and stuff. Right now she's young and stupid and fearless. And adorable. We just love her to bits, Nosey Parker is a fun little kitten and keeps us laughing all the time. This morning she was sleeping with me and decided to check out my ear. It's amazing how purring tickles. And nibblings kind of hurt. But I let her have it and played dead while she explored my ear and licked my lips, again. She loves lips, especially right after you've brushed your teeth. :O) My lips are so clean and exfoliated now, what did I ever do before N.P.? rofl (Sorry if that grosses anyone out.)