Envelope Project

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Goodbye January - It was a Good Run

It's the last day of January 2008. Wow! It's been a busy month for me. I wish that I could say it's because I've been crafting up a storm, but the accountant in me has been extremely busy. The (dare I say) artist in me has had a slow but productive month. I rediscovered doodling at work. If I'm not extremely busy, I draw on any piece of paper that I'm putting in the recycle bin. Does that mean I'm making recycled art? I am a few hours away from finishing M's quilt and tonight's crafting endeavor involved putting one of my doodles on fabric. I think for a first effort it turned out okay. I'm looking forward to doing this design on my longarm. I have the wrong quilt loaded right now and this design would never work on it, but I have a couple of quilts ready to be quilted that I think this design (or some form thereof) will look nice on them.

Well, once again it is late as I didn't start sewing until 10:30 p.m. This project took about 30 minutes. I'm seeing it as a potential oversized postcard. Goodbye January, hello February.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bike Day

This morning was an especially hard spin class. It felt good after the 60 minutes had elapsed, but it was totally hard today. After spin Doggie and I went for a long walk and then I came home and worked on the quilt. The only part left is to figure out what to do with the white space under the tree. I thought if I took a nap I might have a brainstorm, but guess what . . . still empty space. I wanted to finish the quilt today and take it off the longarm, but hopefully tomorrow while I'm working on spreadsheets an inspiration will come to me!

B. came home around 3:30 p.m. and we went for a short bike ride. It was supposed to be in the 70's today, but we were both cold. Bill was wearing his arm warmers and I had on a long sleeve shirt and a hooded sweatshirt. We pulled over at the end of Braesmont and I put my hood on and wore it under my helmut. It was much better that way. The wind wasn't too bad and all in all it was a good first ride of the season. I can tell that the spin class was doing me good out on the open road. I'm looking forward to this biking season. Yay!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Tree Matures

The piecing of the back of M's quilt was finally finished today. It took several more hours to add the last 20" to the bottom of the back. Most of the fabric used had to be fused before it could be added to the rest. I finished this portion of the quilt around 2:30 this afternoon. After walking the dog I came back and loaded the quilt onto the longarm machine. I was very excited to get to this point and start the thread creation. I used a new brand of thread (for me), Bottom Line, in the bobbin and I used a variegated Coats and Clark color in the top. Because the piecing on the back has a lot of different fabric thicknesses and holes and embellishments, the quilting had to be done slow in some places. In the end, the result turned out really well. It is still on the machine as I now need to figure out what to do in the white space around the swing. I also need to change thread color to do the flowers at the bottom. That will be tomorrow's project. So far I am very pleased with this learning project. I hope that M likes the quilt.

Doggie and I went for our Saturday morning jog and had a great time. B went to the Jackwood property and did some work in preparation for the new renters coming in. Tomorrow morning is spin class, more quilting and hopefully a real bike ride in the afternoon. So far it's been a great weekend. Monday will be hectic again. I didn't leave work until 8:15 p.m. on Friday, but you know what, it'll still be there Monday morning and it'll get done. It always does.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dog Jog Blog

All year end tax entries were booked yesterday. In theory, that would mean that our accrual work for the year has come to a close, but in reality there will be late entries from now until we announce our earnings in either February or March. After that no more entries will be allowed to be made. Some days I think that I cannot do this one more year. It's repetitive even though it's always different and some days it is just down right hard. Most days I don't mind a challenge, but on certain days when my brain is at half wattage, I think how lovely it would be to create for a living whether it is sewing or writing or crafting. How absolutely fun it all sounds. I'm sure it's hard work also especially if it's the main source of income, but it sounds good to me. Of course, twice I month I really like the paycheck that comes with the 9 to 5 job. And where does that 9 to 5 come from anyway? I have never had a 9 to 5 job. Do they exist? Do they pay well?

After today's exercise was complete and the paper was ready to be recycled I turned it over and did some doodling. This will be tried out on my long arm machine. The drawings are continuous line drawings. They say practice makes perfect so if I can't sew while I'm at work, I think I'll become an expert at doodling! I'm pleased with the creativity and since I have an entire box of recycled paper at my feet, I think that I will try to turn each one over and doodle before I send it to the shredder. If I feel the need for any tax accounting stuff, I can just turn the paper over and voila, I'll probably have a spreadsheet full of numbers or a research memo to peruse. Oh, doesn't that sound like fun?!

I did manage to leave work at a decent hour tonight. Of course, once I left the confines of the building I realized why I don't like leaving until later. The traffic in downtown Houston is horrendous and doubly horrendous on rainy days. Guess what? Today was one of those rainy days. Oh, well. Doggie and I went for a jog in the rain after we got home. It wasn't bad at all when we started, but by the end we were drenched. As we rounded the last corner my head was down and I was trying to avoid the puddle when I stopped abrubtly and gasped. B had come out to meet us and I didn't even see him. I was thankful it was B and not someone up to no good. Oh, well. The knees did good and it felt good. I'm thinking about my half marathon. I wish I could commit, but for some reason I'm holding back. Hmmm . . .

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Spin Cycle

Today's spin class was tough. Melanie, the teacher is awesome, but she is tough, tough, tough!! The class was totally full (35 bikes, I think) and half the class is guys. She offers no recovery time so from the get-go we are going full out. I feel great after each session, but during the class, it is tough. I'm getting much better though. After class, I came home, put on dry clothes and jogged with the dog for 25 minutes. I must be getting better. Other than the fact that it was cold outside and I had shorts on, I didn't mind the jog even after spinning for an hour. Yay!

More progress was made on the quilt. I'm so ready to put it on the longarm machine and quilt it. Yesterday and today was spent zigzagging the edges and making sure everything was stitched down. That took FOREVER!!! I finished at 5:10 p.m. today and then went to the store to buy some fusible interfacing for the back of the quilt. Then there was a trip to the grocery store where in the end (30 minutes later) I didn't purchase anything. Does the name Randall's in Bellaire mean anything?! Yep, once again, slow as molasses and they didn't get anything right. Enough said. I walked out of there empty handed and totally hungry. B and I ordered fajitas out and had a nice dinner at home. Now, I'm exhausted and going to bed. Tomorrow is work and I'm so not looking forward to that. Oh, well.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Out With The Old

No, I'm not saying out with the doggie! Heaven forbid! That's just the way the pictures loaded! Bye, bye old refrigerator. Hello new! After a morning of shopping, the new refrigerator was purchased. With a little help from B's brother, the new one was installed. Tonight we discovered that the refrigerator has a leak. Since it was a pain to get into the house, I'm not looking forward to having to return it. I hope that it's something that can be dealt with without returning it. Always something.

Today's sewing project entailed stitching down the fruit and tree on M's quilt. It seems that the Wonder Under which fuses to both sides of the fabric did not do the trick and now I am stuck zigzaging around all of the items. There are a lot of items. I was hoping to avoid this step, but I am using a really pretty opaque thread that is enhancing the project. At least I hope it's making it look good. Sometimes it's hard to be objective after looking at it all day.

Today's pictures include a photo of our current refrigeration system and the newly purchased leaking refrigerator!!! All of the food is still outside in the ice chests. What're you going to do???

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chocolate Always Loves You Back

That's what my dark chocolate Dove raspberry flavored caramel is telling me and I'm a believer!

Another busy day at work with more to come. I did have time today to think about crafting so that was good. I had good intentions to create tonight, but I didn't develop a plan so no crafting for me. I did manage to do the treadmill this morning and a jog with the dog tonight. Then I laid on the couch and watched my Law and Orders. Addicting. Now the evening is over and I should be in bed doing my crossword puzzle. I had good intentions of writing a tremendous blog, but I'm not sure my ideas would be well received in the blogosphere. So for now, my rants will remain inside my head and by tomorrow I'm sure that they will not be important to me anymore. Time is good that way.

Five Random Facts:

1) I was never a "pet" person growing up. Dogs scared me and I'm allergic to cats. Now I can't imagine my world without Doggie. It's crazy that I let him sit on the couch, sleep in the bed and tell him how beautiful he is. I would never have done this ten years ago. Ten years ago the pet hair alone would have driven me crazy, but now it seems immaterial. There's always a vacuum cleaner or broom, but Doggie will only be here for a finite amount of time. I know it won't be long enough.

2) I biked across Kansas with only a 50 mile practice ride on a borrowed three speed bike. I had ordered a bike from PA and it came in the week before the ride. I spent the next 6 1/2 days biking from Colorado to Missouri with really no knowledge about the bike at all. I was young then and it was not really a problem. Now I'm older (a lot older) and this will be my third year to bike the MS 150 ride from Houston to Austin over two days. All I can say is that it really is exhilarating reaching Austin and crossing the finish line with the capitol building in the background and hundreds (maybe thousands) of people cheering you on. The ride is in April and I hope the spin classes are doing me some good.

3) I discovered soccer at age 27 and I LOVE the sport. I grew up in Kansas in the days before soccer was introduced to the school systems. Consequently I played basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball. But, once I discovered soccer, I wish that I had learned to play in my teens or preteens. I quit playing two years ago because my knees finally said "ENOUGH!!!". After four knee surgeries, I finally listened!

Okay, doggie is wanting to go outside, so I guess I'll only share three things tonight. Maybe more tomorrow. Pictures are of custom bookshelves crafted by B. I love my library (okay, it doubles as the dining room and formal living room).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What's That Smell?

This morning we awoke to a non-working refrigerator/freezer. Yep, the ice was water and all the meat and fish was thawed. Yikes! Luckily today was trash day so to the curb it went. Well, not all of it. B loaded up about 5 ice chests and went and purchased ice this morning. Now it's all sitting out on the back patio getting rained on. Oh, well. It's always going to be something.

Work has been horrendously busy yesterday and today. Yesterday I kept thinking "it's okay, breathe, you can quit if you want!". I barely got my computer turned on when I was off and running. It was 12:30 p.m. before I even took a breather. A quick lunch at 1:30 and then back to it. Today felt much better.

Unfortunately no work on the quilt for now. Progress was made on Sunday, but I did not get it loaded onto the longarm. I discovered that the back I pieced is about 20" short so I have some more piecing to do and I'm pretty much out of M's clothes and the pieces I have left all need to be fused and I have no more fusible interfacing. I'm thinking I'll use from my stash to complete the back. But, of course, I may have a change of heart by the time I actually get to work on it again. Let's make a date for Saturday and check back then!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Good Day

Today was a good day. Doggie and I usually start our Saturdays off with a nice jog. Well, first we watch our quilting shows on PBS and then we take off. Today's jog was good. The weather was gorgeous today - cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon, even cooler this evening. Tomorrow morning is spin class. I've been going faithfully for 5 months now. B and I are biking the MS150 again this year. This will be my 3rd year and the 4th ride for B. We are ready to get out on the open rode and ride our "real" bikes. I think we are shooting for a ride next weekend if the weather is good. Yay!

The quilting project lasted all day today and lots of progress was made. I learned how to mirror image text while Doggie slept in the chair next to me. Since I don't have any draw software on my computer, I discovered that my printer has a mirror image feature that was a lifesaver for my quilting project. I was able to print out all of the quotes, words, name and dates that will now go on the quilt. In addition, I have pieced most of the back of the quilt. It would have been much simpler and quicker to use my fabric stash, but I am using M's clothing for the back. Since not all of the material is cotton, I had to stabilize a good portion of the material before it could be pieced. Now I am almost completely out of stabilizer, but I see this as a good thing as it means another trip to the fabric store is in order. Yay!

Tomorrow I hope to finish the piecing and get the quilt loaded onto the longarm machine. Maybe if I'm really on a roll, I'll even do a little bit of quilting before the head hits the pillow tomorrow night. It was a very good quilting day.

B was gone most of the day working on his projects. We had a very nice evening together eating dinner and watching a movie. Now he and Doggie are sound asleep and that is where I am headed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Week's End

It's Friday night and I'm beat. It's been a long week of 10 plus hour days and I've done no creating this week at all (except in my head). This afternoon I found out that Sharon Schamber won the $100,000 Quilting Challenge and I was so excited. I called B up and told him that if I knew that I could win $100,000 on one quilt, I would quit today!!! Oh, how I wish!!! Her work is beautiful and I've been able to meet her and speak to her twice at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. She is just an awesome, giving person. And oh, so very talented. I have the same longarm machine that she does so I'm expecting great things from ME!!!

I will not be going into the office this weekend. I need some down time! Monday will come soon enough and I'll be off and running again tackling another set of problems. But, for now Monday is two long days away so I hope that I can enjoy my sewing room tomorrow and Sunday!

The Marathon is this Sunday, but I will be at spin class doing my thing. I wish I could run the half marathon, but I don't think that my knees will hold up for that. For 2008 I want to run some 5k's (well at least one!).

Doggie is laying at my feet and asking me to go to bed, so I guess I'll sign off. I have no new pictures for tonight, but hopefully the next couple of days will be prolific!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Howdy Neighbor!

We're getting new sewers and the price to pay is the dog cannot go outside. Yesterday B came home to find one of the worker bees sitting on our bench under the tree. He took him out some cookies and an assortment of beverages. KIDDING! The guy scampered into the neighbor's backyard as soon as he realized there was someone in the house. Yikes.

Here is a possible layout for the back of the quilt. I haven't had any time to work on the quilt as I'm now working 10+ hour days and quite frankly I'm tired when I get home. This was supposed to be a relatively easy year-end close, but we're having problems. Maybe I'm just getting tired of this job. I want to stay home and CREATE!

Add to that a nagging cough. People at work are sick and my immune system is trying hard to stay healthy. I'm not sure if I'm going to win the fight. It's late and I'm too tired to think. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

All In A Day's Work

It's Saturday and the only thing I've done for me today is my jog this morning with my doggie. He is still sick and it hurts me to not be able to do anything for him. B is giving him his medicine and it has made him lethargic and he seems to just fall down and not be able to support his weight. I'm hoping he's better in the morning. Both B and Doggie are sound asleep.

I spent my lovely Saturday at work. It was quiet and I got a lot done, but I wish I could have enjoyed the day at the house and worked on other projects. So much to do. Tonight I watched my 48 Hours Mystery which just sucks me right in. The thing is that every crime that they showcase, the person arrested will be found guilty at the end of the show. In probably all cases, I think they got the answer right so I'm not exactly sure why I'm glued to the set when it comes on.

Tomorrow morning is spin class and then I must get back to my quilt project. If I want to get my other quilt done for entry into the 2008 International Quilt Festival, I better get on the stick and quit writing blogs, going to work and just sit down and design. Hmm. . . do you think the bank that holds the mortgage would like that answer???

Well, today's picture says it all. . . my two Sweeties!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year; Same Routine

It's a new year and I feel good about that. Unfortunately I'm still employed doing tax stuff so the start to any given year is the same . . . long hours. I'm so NOT ready for that! It's year end close time and I'm part of the team that calculates federal income taxes for a multi-billion dollar company. In the scheme of things it's been an easy year - no major acquisitions or dispositions; nothing hinky. It's just a very large company and therefore a lot of manhours go into calculating our tax numbers.

At the same time, I'm trying to finish up the memorial quilt and instead I will be going into the office over the weekend to make sure that no deadlines are missed because of me. Ha!

Also my doggie is sick and I'm not spending much time at home with him. I feel bad about that and he's not a dumb dog; he ignores me when I get home just to punish me!!! Sorry, doggie.

This morning I wanted to run back inside and grab my camera and take a picture of the same car that I posted a picture of earlier. This morning the car is in a driveway, parked askew and in the foliage area where it's almost sitting on top of a very large dead branch that has fallen from the tree. It appears that the bad driver is a guest (I'm guessing an in-law of some sort) of my neighbors. I can understand old people not quite getting the parking thing right in their later years, but I'm having a hard time with the neighbors not noticing or informing the driver of the potential danger in curbs and fallen branches and driveway v. foliage. Oh, well. My relatives' parking skills are just fine, thank you . . . at least for now!!!

Here's the latest picture of the quilt. Hopefully more progress will be made this weekend.