Thursday, September 25, 2008

whine fest

I had a meeting with my manger today and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. They have seen me struggling lately, which is unfortunate. I thought I hid my troubles better than I do and am saddened by the fact that I am letting things show. Work has been feeling like a burden, but I don’t want to go home either. When I have been home I have just felt drained and don’t get anything on my list accomplished. A and I are not communicating well and it feels to me we aren’t even together just cohabitating. I haven’t wanted to write about the problems because it seems like that’s all I do is dwell on what’s going wrong, what I am unhappy about. There’s no resolution and when I came home today I asked A to find a sitter for later on today so we could go out to lunch and talk or something because I can’t keep quiet anymore. He’s still sleeping. It’s quarter to 1. I asked him this over two hours ago. I want things to work with him and I am trying my hardest to work things out together but it has been feeling one sided and I am tired of putting forth the efforts if I am the only one. I might write about the specific issues later (nothing huge, honestly. I’ve just let it build up and up and up and am at a breaking point) but I need to have that conversation with him first.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about quilting, but not doing it. I am working on these aprons for Christmas presents and tree skirts too, but I can’t find all the supplies I need for them in this town. I wish I knew someone who was a real sewer who could help me with these but I don’t and my mom’s a quilter like I am (better than I am at this point) I don’t get how to follow patterns, how silly is that? You’d think if you have some sewing know how you could cross apply anything but I can’t!! I am stuck with quilting for the moment though because I won’t let myself move on until I finish this. It’s all too expensive to buy fabric and not finish a project before moving onto something else.

I wish that I had more money than we do so that I could be at home more often and maybe that would help us have a happier home. I would work harder at cleaning the house if I didn’t have to clean work so much and work so many hours outside of the home. I always thought I’d be with someone who could provide for me and that I would work because I wanted to. I never thought I’d be supporting the family with his income supplementing mine. I will admit our pay checks are about the same but I also have all of us on my insurance (therefore out of my check) life insurance, a 401K and stock investment coming out of my check. I know A won’t be able to provide for me in retirement the way we are going now so I am trying to provide for both of us and save up for things…he’s such a spender.

I also wish I could afford nicer quilt fabric and to do and spend more on quilting itself. I have so many ideas and plans and hopes for quilting that I just can’t keep up with it. I know I have been writing about quilts a lot lately. It’s easier to think about that and work on those than it is to work on relationships and so much more fun than cleaning house. I have designed three quilts loosely based on pictures I have seen, or rather inspired by with indeed stealing some details (so I don’t think I can sell or take credit for them since I did use ideas already in print) I wish I was more like my mom where her husband (my dad) provided and what she earned was for herself and for fun stuff for all of us. She has no problem going to a quilt shop and buying kits and any fabric she likes. I have to think long and hard about it.

For example I just bought a kit online at Joann’s (where I get all my fabric, I can’t go to the nice shops even thought they have higher quality fabric, more selection, and more help from the staff) and I spent about a month looking at it wanting to get it but waiting for some extra money and even when we had that money, I asked A first. He doesn’t ask me first but that’s a whole different issue. There are three books I want on quilting, but am too embarrassed to ask A for them. I want Quilt Pink, Quilting 101, and Simply Strips and Squares. I’d like some Jelly rolls and/or Charm Packs to go along with that last one, but I don’ think I can get that all for myself. Maybe my gift exchange person this year, or mom, or AJ or A. or maybe I will buy it for myself and wrap it up so I have SOMETHING under the tree this year. The kit I got from Joann’s is going under the tree. I am worried that if I don’t get myself some things it will be disappointing this year again! I want to give R and then A great Christmases but I need to take care of myself too. I know my mom always got herself things and I never knew how she could stand to know what was wrapped up for her (by her) under the tree but now I know. If she didn’t there might not be much for her! Plus this is how I have been justifying paying so much for things I don’t NEED!

I should go now and try to cheer myself up. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Here’s an idea for someone who is more technologically savy and more creative than I…maybe I should keep this idea for myself but I want to share and see if someone can come up with something:
A computer program or website where one could enter how much fabric of a certain color or pattern they have in their stash and the level of skill/difficulty they are interested in working within and could have a few options for quilt patterns. I have a young but still lovely stash that I am excited to see how I work through at some point. I have a few people who have given up sewing for whatever reason and have passed down their stashes (mom….please? Someday? No, she’s too much of a quilters still, but I love to raid her stash anyways) and I don’t know what to do with some of the things. I am still at the collecting point but still, I’d love to see something like this available. I guess it would work best if you could scan in a swatch or something of your fabric with detailed description being a second choice but then it could arrange the colors for you so you could imagine what it would look like. I know there’s a lot of software for how to design your own quilts, but I don’t think any of them work backwards where you say what you have, what can I make…most are you can make this if you have/get these.
Just a little idea

Monday, September 22, 2008

fabric inspirations

I was at Ben Franklin yesterday picking up some paper for our “green apron” at work and strolled through the fabric section quickly (they were about to close at 6, and it was about quarter to) and saw some fabric from Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and they had two patterns for free to take. I grabbed both because I didn’t have a chance to look closely at them to see if I liked them or not, but I have always loved that book, especially now with R. When I got home I looked them over and like one pattern (from Fons and Potter I think) and am not in love with the other from I like the basic idea of it, but not in practice. I am thinking about grabbing my notebook and trying to come up with something I like better. I have now graphed out four quilts in my notebook but this is one that would actually take more brainwork and trouble shooting since I don’t have an image to work off of. I guess this is what real designers do, they look at the fabric and see it, maybe play around on a design wall (which I would love to have) and what pencils with erasers are for.

So many people I know are having children right now, it’s the age I am at, it’s the phase of life I am in. The 20 something’s are the time to get married have kids, start first families (alright I am being cynical with that one). I am going to make a nursery set with the caterpillar collection and maybe someone will mention how they like that book or something and I can give it to someone. I am going top save up my tip money and go buy oodles of the fabric so I can make everything…a few crib sheets, a bumper, a crib skirt, a coverlet, maybe a pillow or something for decoration, some window valances, I have the instructions for a message board but I never used for R’s room (though I never finished her room, after the bumper I realized I wasn’t in love with the fabric I got for it all and stopped there!) a toddler quilt and then a twin size….you didn’t need to know all that, but there it is for you. I will go buy a storage tub for it all to go into and when someone wants it, I will give it to them. I love it all, but I have ideas for my other children so far. I know A will roll his eyes at this, but who knows, maybe it will be a gift for one of his friends.

In unrelated news…I know you were all looking forward to some non-quilting stuff, I asked a girl to lunch. She went to school with me, but we never were in the same circle. She lives in town and is a regular at my store so one day I finally had the guts to say “hey, would you like to go to lunch or something?” and she said yes. I figured the worst she could say is no, I am too busy or have enough friends. It turns out she is like me and doesn’t have enough friends who still live in town and are settled. She just got married and isn’t doing the whole single thing which many people I know in town are doing. She is even interested in bringing R along to lunch. I am glad I asked even though it’s awkward. At least she was on my turf when I asked. I think that’s what gave me the confidence to ask.

I am getting really tired of this apartment, even though it’s not the apartment itself that is the problem. I am really frustrated with R and A, but it’s easier to blame the building than the people. I just can’t get this place clean for the life of me. I realize a new place wouldn’t be a solution, but I am almost out of ideas on how to organize things here. I had the last two days off and was planning on cleaning and sorting through things like I mentioned in one of my past posts but R has been sick and clingy and whiney so all I did was sit on the couch and cuddle with her and watch cartoons (thank you Sprout!) I got a few odds and ends sorted, mostly laundry since I could sit on the couch with her while folding it. I wish I had more done. I have today and tomorrow where I work and then the next two days off again. (nice but then I have a long haul in the following week with only one day off, and even then I have to go into the store for a meeting) I could have made so much progress but instead I cuddled. I guess that’s important too but not as productive. Hopefully this week she feels better, or at least sleeps better during nap time so I can get some chores taken care of.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I swear I do more than play wiht fabric but...

Today I stayed at work for about 45 minutes to have some alone time. It was nice. I was going to read a book that I bought from work, The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (not a light read but she is such a good storyteller it pulls you in). Instead I sat down to try and design and figure out a quilt that I sound a picture of at (the middle one) I wanted to find something or come up with something that would allow me to use those 2 ½” squares I have been cutting from my left over fabric. I figured out how to make two that will look similar but not matchy-matchy. I wish I had a scanner so I could show you what I mean by that, but I guess I will try to describe them.

So when you look at that image you see a quilt with lots of mismatched color squares arranged checkerboard style with a plain color. There are three borders (in this instance the first one is pink, then the plain color and then green). There are also these strange boxes in the quilt which I debated if I wanted or not, but I think I do. In this one they are outlined by the outer order fabric. In my first design I followed this pattern to almost a T. I have the boxes outlining the quilt only one square in. They are five by five and seven blocks between them all. There are 10 squares total. The second is designed with the same borders and squares and spacing but instead of being checkerboard style the colored squares are more like blocks with the white/plain base being like streets that run parallel/perpendicular to each other. My plans for these quilts (when I have enough squares…I need something like over 800 for these two to be twin size) are for a guest room which I am only assuming will also be my sewing room. My plan is to have a day bed with a trundle in there so that we can have two guests without taking up too much space when no one is visiting. I figured out the pattern, the cutting needs, the fabric needs. I am proud of myself, but it wasn’t a complicated concept. It just took me some time to draw it out and do some calculations. It was actually really fun!

I just bought a quilt kit online. It is my first one that I have bought but I don’t anticipate it being my last. I do love taking a pattern and going to find my own fabric to personalize it, but this was on clearance ($27!) and has cute fabric. I think that it will be a nice gift for someone, I don’t need it for myself but I couldn’t pass it up. The kit will actually be a Christmas gift from A to me. I also bought my first quilt block of the month…I bought the first two blocks and am eager to see hoe that turns out. I am really excited about all this quilting. I just need to get some more free time! My friend will start taking R more regularly, so I might just get the chance to do so!
Now that R is down for the night I am going to get stitching!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

stashes of sorts

I am working on sewing up some Christmas crafts…the ones I spent so much money on the fabric for (and have very little left over, just enough to make a quilt with, a little throw quilt at least. I have a little scrapbook for my quilts and what not and even though these gifts are not quilts, I think I will include them as well. They are still a part of my learning experiences. My scrapbook is actually really cool, it’s not to scrappy, not too bookie. I have pictures of each finished quilt, little scraps of fabric from them (sometimes just glued down other times used to boarder the pictures) and little stories about the quilt. It’s a great way to see how my quilting has changed as well as remember who the quilt was for, why I made it, and I don’t have to keep all my quilts to show off my art!

I have also been working on trying to better organize my stash. I have a lot of things in various shoe boxes, which works since I can label them but I would love to get several plastic-see through boxes so I can see what fabrics I have, so I can re-use the storage containers, and to have consistent sized/shaped containers. I am going to ask for those for Christmas from A I think, but maybe I will get them for myself and say they are from Santa. I have also been trying to figure out what to do with the random sized pieces left over from projects. For a while I was keeping them regardless of the dimensions in a Ziploc bag. The last quilt I finished I cut a bunch of 2 ½X 2 ½ squares for it and had a bunch left over. I saved all those and thought, what a neat, consistent way to save pieces. I have always wanted to do one of those mosaic like quilts (water color?) and what better way to start a stash for that than from a stash too small to really save. I went back through that Ziploc bag of things tonight and cut them all down. It is still relatively small and not enough variation to show an image yet, but it’s a good solid start. Plus I will remember my other projects at the same time when I see those scraps and bits.

I had the chance to go up to my co-workers house this past week. It was a wonderful time, she has such a warm inviting house in the mountains. Something I dream of but I don’t think I will have, especially since the city-girl in me comes out every once in a while. I’d love to live somewhere that we couldn’t get TV reception and would have to read, and talk, do puzzles and keep each other company more. I think it would be good for A and my relationship. I also got to meet my co-workers neighbor who is a quilt designer. I thought that sounded glamorous, challenging, exciting, and fulfilling. After meeting her on a busy day I realized it’s a lot of work and a lot of pressure too. I don’t think it’s something I would enjoy, but give me a pattern to quilt without a deadline and let me enjoy it!

I was inspired to try and create that cozy home feeling though. I know I could do it if I took the time to 1) clean 2) sort through the things we don’t use and don’t need 3) added some stuff to the walls and at the same time de-cluttered our rooms. I have tackled the kitchen. I re-organized everything except the cupboard above the sink which needs it the most (all of R’s sippy cups, plastic bowls and what not’s) I have caught up on the dishes, I have scrubbed some of the cupboards and walls (one half the kitchen so far, tomorrow maybe the other side and the fridge!) next is the laundry room which will also be the easiest, then the closets, the bathroom, R’s room, our room, then lastly the living room….so counter-clockwise throughout the house. I am especially motivated to do this in case we have to move soon (fingers crossed out of this town!)