Envelope Project

Saturday, October 30, 2010

This and That

I started today off with a nice 5k run in downtown Houston.  I finished 36 out of 60 in my age group.  I'm happy with that.  There was another 5k today at the Sam Houston Racetrack.  I should have run that race as based on my race time I would have definitely scored 4th place and there was a good possibility I would have taken home the 3rd place medal!!!  That would have been too cool.  My time downtown was a bit slower than I wanted it to be because the last 1/4 mile was all uphill and it was not FUN!!!  No excuses . . . I'll get there.

Today's projects were finishing the potholder/trivet, sewing on buttons and hemming a dress that I made for my great niece and drawing today's envelope.  In between all this there were errands to run and naps to take!!  Ah, yes . . . NAPS . . . my favorite pasttime!!!



Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Little Chicadees

If you're wondering what all this doodling has to do with quilting, I thought I'd let you know.  I have a longarm machine and I'm always dreaming up ways to fill the space in my quilts.  Since I usually only have time to quilt on the weekends, my doodling is keeping my brain active and hopefully will come in handy when I have a quilt on the machine and I'm trying to get from one end to the other.  Whatever the outcome, it's all FUN!!

My envelope project is also a way for me to use up the stationery and cards, etc. that I've been collecting for years!  After designing the envelope of one of my earlier cards, I started to write a message to my Mom on the inside of the card.  I was totally surprised to find its sentiment to be "Happy Holidays"!!  I spoke with my Mom tonight and she was impressed with her first Christmas card of the season.  Usually, I'm late, but this year I managed to get my first card out 2.5 months early.  Yay me!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What a Waste!!

I took a day of vacation today to go to my local Bernina store and learn how to use my serger.  I was excited to finally learn how to thread this puppy and then start using it.  I bought it at IQF four years ago and the first time I tried to use it, it had to go in the shop for repairs as it was defective.  Fast forward to today and I made it exactly 2.5 hours into an 8 hour class before the machine broke again.  The first 2.25 hours were spent going through the manual and our machines were not used.  So basically it took 15 minutes of use in learning how to thread the machine to find out that the machine was having a meltdown.  The instructor told me that she couldn't spend any more time with me and had to move on with the class.  I understood that.  The two ladies at the shop were then determined to try and get me up and running again.  They called their tech guy who told them what to do, but said it wouldn't solve the problem.  It didn't.  I was upset and disappointed.  I have always loved Bernina.  I bought my first Bernina in 1975 when I was in high school.  I paid $300 for it and it was a used machine.  I've been loyal to them forever and now I feel like this machine is a total LEMON!!!  Sorry Bernina, but I'm not happy with you right now.

So, the machine is in for repairs.  I've asked that they call me before fixing it if they plan on charging me for the defectiveness.  Depending on the price, I will either chunk it (not really) or use it as a doorstop!  Have I said how unhappy I am?  So, the net result of all this "learning" is that I have decided that serging is not in my future and if the puppy gets fixed I will either sell it (it's a very expensive model) or I will give it away.  I wish today had turned out differently.  Heavy sigh.

So, it looks like the day is not over yet as both last night and tonight my blogs have posted before I finished writing them.  Yikes . . . what is going on???  I better finish this and move on.  Maybe tomorrow will be an AWESOME day!!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Playing Hookey

I am taking tomorrow off from work.  Yay!  I am finally going to learn how to use my serger that I bought at IQF three years ago!!!  Yes, I tried to take the class previously, but I got the call that it was cancelled the day before the class and since the class is not usually offered on the weekend, I have decided it's time to take a day of vacation and as NIKE would say "just do it"!!

Tonight was speed work at the track.  It was my first formal speed session and even though it was almost dark when I started and definitely dark when I finished, I had a really good time.  I burned more calories running one mile of speed work tonight than I did running 2.5 miles this morning.  Hmm . . . seems like a no-brainer to me that I should just run FAST!!!  My trusty Garmin informs me that I have finally run in Zone 8 and that makes me happy.  I'm getting there.

#23 (sent to Sophie)

Stamp courtesy of my SIL

Monday, October 25, 2010



I doodle at work.  Big surprise there, huh?!  So today I was making some marks and thinking of quilting patterns when I decided that the marks could represent the nose and ears on one of my drawings.  I don't draw life-like anyway so I started messing around and came up with this guy. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oh, Happy Day!

Although it is the end of the weekend and tomorrow it's back to the "real" job, it was a wonderful weekend.  My friends from the running group competed in a Half Marathon today and I met up with them afterwards for a congratulatory meal!!!  I was so HAPPY for them, but somewhat depressed that I'm not up to running 13.1 miles yet.  I'll get there.  My Half Marathon run is at the end of January so I still have plenty of training time to go.  I did go back to the pool on Friday and swam 900 meters.  It was so enjoyable, now that the pressure is off.  Tomorrow morning my plan is to go out for an early morning run.  I better get to bed soon if that's going to happen!!

Still in progress - needs binding.  I quilted this with 2 layers of Insul-Bright and one layer of regular batting.  My plan was to make a potholder, but I think it's going to be more the size of a trivet.  It's an experiment - I can do better!


Tri to Remember

#20 sent to Bro Joe & Family

I was in a rush to get today's envelope made and to the post office before they closed this morning.  (Oops - I guess it was yesterday morning!  I better get to bed!!)   SUCCESS - I managed to get it mailed along with my cousin's package.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fun!

I finally buried the threads on this quilt I made for my cousin out of my aunt and uncle's clothes.  I really like the way it turned out.  It's very soft.  Tomorrow I will send it off in the mail and surprise her.

This is the backside of the quilt.

#19 for my friends in Portland that I met when we all lived in Boston. I miss them.

Last weekend I bought a box of acrylic paints that I was itching to try out.  Turns out, it was probably a waste of money as the paints are rather gummy.  I painted on paper backed fabric that I purchased last year at Houston Quilt Festival when I took a class.  This is just a sample that I'm going to quilt up and see how it does.  I think the next one I paint I'll use my old tried and true paints.  But, you know, it's always FUN to buy new art toys!!!  Live and learn.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Play Day

Tomorrow is my 9-80 at work which means I have a 3 day weekend.  Color me HAPPY!!!  I have lots of running (literally) to catch up on and tons of creative projects to either finish or start.  If I report back on Monday that my weekend was not successful, then something has gone terribly awry. 


Preview of upcoming project

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For Mom

This one's #16 and it's for Mom.  Since she doesn't have a computer (claims she's too old), I'm going to print off some of the tri pictures and send her a nice letter.  We live in different states and I only see her a couple times a year.  She's still spry as ever at 81 and I love her.  (I should have drawn a better tree!!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quilt Free Weekend

Yesterday I competed in my first ever triathlon and I must say it was a BLAST!!!  I cannot believe how much fun I had and I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they may want to "tri" one.  Go for it!!!  I finished 12 out of 17 in my age category so I've got lots of room to improve.  I can't wait to try it again and get my times down.  I was beat by 8 and 10 year-old sisters!!!  They were adorable!

Consequently I did not get any quilting done.  I was too nervous on Saturday to accomplish much besides running errands and I was hyped up after the race on Sunday.  I did manage to get my envelopes finished and mailed however so there was a little bit of creativity happening.  All in all, it was a very good weekend.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Envelope Project

I have embarked on a new journey, one that complements who I am and what I love.  From a very young age I have loved the written word.  Books were a welcome escape and writing that first poem in 7th grade was a revelation.  Even though having it read in class was traumatic for me and I denied that I wrote it, inside I was glowing.  My poem was read (it was the only poem read aloud); therefore, it must have been good.  Wow!  Validation.

For awhile there, I wrote a lot.  Poems poured out of me.  I wrote a few short stories, but they weren't any good.  I haven't been able to find a story voice.  But, I digress.  Fast forward 30-some (okay, maybe 40-some) years and here I am.  Finally able to see that all that worry, all that negative thinking was a colossal waste of time.  But, as a kid, you just don't know that.  Seriously.

So, I have decided to combine my new found drawing/doodling creativity with my love of writing and every day I am designing an envelope (or postcard) and sending a written note or letter to someone in my life.  There are going to be repeat recipients, of course, as I don't know 365 people who are close to me.  Sure, I could send out some business correspondence in a decorated envelope or send to randomly selected strangers, but I'll see how it goes sending to the people I know first.

My start date was October 4, 2010 and I will continue to at least my birthday in June 2011 and hopefully I'll continue on until I have a collection of 365 decorated envelopes or postcards.  Each day I log the date and the recipient's name and take a picture of the envelope/postcard.  I've already received two phone calls thanking me for my correspondence and complimenting me on my artwork.  It feels good.  I'm excited to see a growth in my artwork.  At least I'm expecting that to be one of the side benefits.

So, if you would like a piece of correspondence, the kind you can hold in your hands and not read on a monitor, with the added bonus of a decorated envelope to boot, then send me your address and I'll put you on my list of recipients.  How EXCITING is that??!!

Mug Rug

I love making these things.  So easy and so fun to look at when they're finished. 

Tomorrow is the BIG day!!!  I went for a 2.25 mile run this morning.  Normally I'd do a longer run, but I want to make sure I've got gas in the tank tomorrow for my triathlon!!  I'm EXCITED and NERVOUS!!!  Who knows . . . maybe this time next year I'll be competing in KONA!!!  Ha!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Beautiful Day!!

It was a gorgeous Sunday here in H town.  I got up and did a 52 minute bike ride.  I hopped off the bike, put on my running shoes and off I went.  My oh my, that was some kind of hurt!!  I was thinking "how heavy are my legs anyway?".  I felt like I was leaning forward and that I would tump over at any moment.  But I kept on going.  I kept thinking about the professionals who at this point in their triathlon are running just under 6 minute miles and I thought "how do they do it?".  Well, they get paid to do it, so I guess it's a job for them!!  I was just happy that I clocked my first mile at 11:10.  I thought I was going a heck of a lot slower.  Well, next Sunday is the "for real" race so I hope that I have put in enough practice to get me to the finish line without collapsing.  I think I'll be okay.  Fingers crossed anyway.

Next up for the day was a bit of sewing.  I longarmed the little baby quilt.  It deserved a better pattern, but all I had in me today was some meandering.  Afterwards I made some binding and sewed it on and buried the loose threads.  I also buried the threads on the other pink baby quilt and now they are both finished and ready for mailing.  Just in time as tomorrow it's back to work and you know how much I look forward to that!!  I hope everyone's weekend was as lovely as mine.

This and That

Let me just say that on an unrelated sewing/quilting note, I swam around 750 meters in an open body of water yesterday.  Next weekend is my first ever triathlon and they highly recommend that your first time experience in open water not be on the day of the race.  Now I see why.  It is freakishly frightening to be in water with no discernible bottom, no lifeguards and nothing but your own ability to get you back to safety.  It took me awhile to settle in and get going.  At the pool I have been swimming my 300 yards in 7 minutes; yesterday it took 12 minutes.  I'm hoping that next weekend I'll be somewhere in between the two numbers.  This morning I'm going to hop on the bike and do a ride and then take off on a run.  I hope that goes well.

Back to sewing.  On Friday B. and I headed down to the local Bernina store to purchase a 1/4" foot.  The store is not conveniently located, but we were out running errands so we made the trip down there.  For some reason I did not check my sewing feet before I left so I asked the sales person if this foot would have come with my machine when I purchased it. She assured me it did not.  I get home, open up the package and put the foot on my machine.  Then I get to thinking, "hey, let me check just to see".  So I pull out my case of attachments and there glaring back at me is #37, the 1/4" foot.  So now I have to make a trip back to the store to get my $40 back.  Aaarrrgghhh.  I tell B. the story and he says "well, of course it's going to come with a 1/4" foot, it's the "Quilters Edition" sewing machine".  Touche.

So, why haven't I been using this foot all along, you ask?  Well, since I don't use patterns at all and I create as I go, the normal foot (which is slightly wider than 1/4") works perfectly fine.  The problem began when I got the GO cutter and decided to use all the blocks it cuts to make a quilt.  Since they are made to be seamed with a 1/4" foot, I got into a little trouble when assemblying the blocks.  Oops.  So, instead of recutting everything (that would defeat the purpose of the GO cutter, huh?!), I decided it was time to join the ranks of the 1/4" sewers.  Yay, me!  I'm here, I've arrived and I'm on board!!

I spent Friday and Saturday sewing 1/4" seams and ripping out the non 1/4" seams and putting together the latest quilt.  I will longarm the puppy today.  I must say, it looks pretty.  I didn't get all the seams right (I admit I didn't rip out ALL of the seams!), but it's still lovely.

I also added binding to another scrap quilt I did with leftover fabric.  The binding was made from the extra fabric I cut off when trimming up the original Summertime Refreshment quilt.  I then folded the fabric to fit my 2 1/2" Go cutter and voila, binding strips in no time. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pretty in Pink - Part Deux

Yesterday was another quilty day.  While I made and sewed binding on to Saturday's baby quilt, my Guy was using the GO die cutter and cutting the set of blocks needed for the next quilt.  It was so cute watching him with his calculator and pencil making sure that he got everything just right.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'm short two white squares.  We decided to use a scrap piece of fabric for the white and it's a little dicey if we have enough for the two additional squares.  If not, then I will incorporate the philosophy of wabisabi (beauty in imperfection) and know that the quilt is still special and will be beautiful no matter what.  Hopefully I'll be able to finish this quilt this week and put them in the post by week's end.  They are headed to Australia for Cheryll's charity quilt drive, Blankets of Love.  If you are able to help, I'm sure she would appreciate it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Today began with a nice 6.6 mile run.  It was very pleasant when we started running (low 60's; low humidity).  We don't get many days like that here in Houston.  It made the run so much more enjoyable.  Afterwards I quilted up a little baby quilt and then finished the afternoon off by hand sewing some binding to the back of a quilt and burying all of those pesky little threads.  Tonight I'm going to enjoy a movie with my guy and my doggie.  It's been a very enjoyable Saturday.