Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fiona's Christmas Stocking

It's finally done!
I started this Lil' Twister pattern last January, as in 2012.  I seem to start all my new quilting/sewing projects in January and then they fall to the wayside as the busier Spring months take hold and we flock to the outside to soak in the sun.

Fiona's Stocking all done!

I truly meant to get it finished in time for hanging up this past Christmas, but I was intimidated by how all the layers were put together.  It wasn't hard, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around it.  I finally just hunkered down and read over the directions about 5 times and finally it clicked!

Straight line quilted

quilted side effect

Fi's stocking is heavily and painstakingly quilted front (above pictures) and back.  You can see in the second picture the neat effect my chosen quilting pattern had on the batting.  You won't see any of it though as that batting is now sandwhiched in between layers on the interior of the stocking.
The quilting on the back was done as a large diamond pattern.

Overall this is a really fun pattern to try out.  You will need the Lil Twister tool (which I believe came with my pattern originally, I talk about it here), a bit of yardage for your binding at the top or cuff and your hanging loop and at least 2 charms packs.  The instructions say you'll only need 1 charm pack but if you need to have more of a mix up between your lights and darks you'll definitely want to have 2 on hand.


Happy sewing!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Rare Visitor

I really like woodpeckers.  
I think they're pretty amazing and last year I saw a Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker come thru our backyard.  I hadn't seen him since and worried a bit because the Starlings are such pests in this area.  We actually help control the Starlings every winter by taking out at least 40-50 of them via airgun.  I know that may sound cruel, but they're considered an invasive species.

Helping to cull a small flock a year helps woodpeckers, like the Flicker, nest peacefully and raise a few chicks without fear or competition of a Starling coming thru and kicking the babies out of the nest or killing the mother and babies altogether.

While they aren't endangered their populations are declining.

Here's the cellphone picture I managed to snap of him:

He must've been hungry because this woodpecker prefers bugs and ants to suet and seeds.  He's mainly a ground feeder, but as we had about 5" of snow still he must've been having a hard time finding bugs.

And here's a better one from the Cornell Lab of Orinthology Click the link to learn more!

If you fancy birds take a look over at Cornell's website.  
And if you're even more into birds you can join Project FeederWatch  and help track winter birds at your own feeder.  There's a small annual fee of $15 USD but if you appreciate conservation of any kind this a fun activity to do and something that even kids can help out with!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Le Serger

Threading new serger not as bad as I imagined.

I bought this as a treat and investment in my sewing skills.
I like to think I have mad skillz when it comes to sewing, but let's not kid ourselves.  You can ALWAYS get better and fancier.

It's a Viking S200 model and it's nicely compact and basic for a newbie serger like myself.  I was given the good advice to buy different colored spools of thread  so I could better spot any tension issues I might encounter as I started sewing.  I must say it was great advice because it made it much easier to follow my thread as I threaded it for the first time and once I began to practice on scraps it helped me see what threads did what "stitch".
And it looks pretty!

Chris and I looked at a few sergers and I actually found this one at a local Jo-Anns, but bought it thru one of my favorite quilt shops, Sew-A-Lot in Centerville, OH.  We've also bought ALL of our Pfaff sewing machines thru them as well because they typically have a nice selection of used models.
Yay local!

In any case the Viking is brand spanking new.
And it's a beast of a machine....as in it sews wicked fast.  If you've never sewn with a serger before you might be surprised at how speedy they are and watch out for the trimming blade because it will come up fast!  I'm still tinkering around with it and plan to repair a busted pillow cover I've had lying around for a few months as my first real attempt at serging something nicely.

But before I go here is a shot of some of the "innards".
Innards of the machine.

I must say that color coding where the threads need to go is SO helpful.  Hopefully you can see the tiny dots of color on parts of the gears. Also, providing a nice diagram of what goes where is amazing.  This serger actually threads right to left which is nice because you don't need to remember what looper thread to do first.

It's not as scary as I had thought.

Happy sewing!

Friday, January 10, 2014

What I'm Reading: Elantris

I love to read and last year I managed to plow thru about 46 books of a 100 book goal. Though I'll admit several of those were of the Regency Romance genre.
100 books is a bit ambitious so I've scaled back to a slightly more practical goal of 50.

If you're interested you can follow me along over at GoodReads

Currently I'm reading: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy)

It's one of his very first books and so far it's very typical Sanderson material.  I've read a few other books of his and I sincerely enjoy his writing style, world building and magic systems for their cleverness and originality.
I'm curious to see how this book will end since it's a stand alone novel and not a series (though it could've been).

I'm reading this one on my Nexus 7.
Some people may have a strong aversion to tablets/e-readers but as I've run out of space for physical books and don't fancy storing boxes of them in my basement an e-reader is a nice solution for my situation.  Of course if I truly love the book I do usually end up buying a physical copy.

Do any of you have any reading goals this year?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Returns and Revelations 2014

I won't say I'm not glad 2013 is over and done with. Man was it a roller coaster.

Tumus had another spectacular year, but it was a fight to the finish.
Final count for 2013: 122 ornaments
 Fun Fact: Each dog ornament uses, on average, 5 feet of embroidery thread!

The home stretch

This last batch went out December 17th and some of them weren't delivered till Christmas Eve!

The final pile, yay!

So now that it's over and I've had some much needed down time and I was able to just do some fun stuff for once, on my OWN schedule...

Birdy Puzzle

it's back to the grind.

Blogging really does take effort, especially when it comes to uploading pictures and getting them from point A to point B and then posted.  But I've got a plan this year and I hope to stick with it!

Apparently since I was so overwhelmed with New Baby duties I didn't bother making a 2013 Resolution list.  I'm going to assume that my only resolution was to make it to the end of the year and get a few nights of SOLID rest somewhere in the next 365 days.
A short and simple resolution and I'm glad to say it did happen in various degrees.

2014 I'm making lists that are both short, but ambitious.

2014 To Make & Do List

- Getting PDF's up for Tumus's shop revamp

- Getting friendly with my new fancy, schmancy serger

- Finish up my Field Greens Quilt

These are my solid, I'm going to get them done if it kills me, to do's for 2014.

Hope you all had a great Holiday break! And for those readers in the US hope you enjoyed the snow, ice and ridiculous deep freeze of the first week of the New Year. Spring is only 2 months away!

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