Tuesday, May 27, 2008

last-minute pincushion

Over the weekend, I decided to shorten the Barcelona skirt I made last week. I'm 5'3" and the extra length from the pattern was making me look shorter. I sheared off about 6", most of the last tier. I think it might be too short now...part of the learning process.

I had lots of scrap fabric from it and felt like being productive, so I pulled out my Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts book. I'm in need of a pincushion, especially since the plastic magnetic case I've been using has been slowing falling apart. The feet which keep it upright have both fallen off and the case rolls whenever I pull a pin out of it.
During my grocery run, I was pleasantly surprised to find my fave, PEONIES!, greet me in the floral buckets near the store entrance. I do miss buying bunches of these for a buck or less each at the Nicollet Mall Farmers Market in Minneapolis. Since I'd buy them during lunch, my desk looked like a mini floral shop every Thursday afternoon.

Peonies at the market were an indicator that summer is just around the corner. Throughout their blooming season, practically every room in my house would be filled with peonies. The best is seeing them bloom in my yard...I wonder how they're blooming this year. I hope the new owners are enjoying them as much as I did. Almost summer!

Monday, May 19, 2008

skirt of choice

It was a good thing we went to the beach on Friday 'cause this weekend was a scorcher and the beaches were packed. On Friday, we had a large surrounding area all to ourselves...maybe it had something to do with being in the flight path of the military base nearby. We actually thought it was cool to be able to see the underbellies of the jets flying by.

I retreated to the air-conditioned shop at Sowing Sisters for the Skirt of Choice workshop yesterday. Great instructors and service at this shop! Plus, they carry lots of Amy Butler fabrics. I chose the Barcelona layered skirt and used the fabric I picked up last weekend in L.A. I wear A-line skirts all the time and figured it'd be more fun searching for fabrics for a skirt rather than the skirt itself. This skirt is so easy to make especially since the dark printed fabric was so forgiving of not showing any of my stitching flaws.

I don't have a zipper foot (that I know of), so Kerri showed me how to put it on using one of the shop's Janome machines. I want one! They're so smooth and quiet with so many stitch options. I figure I'll learn a bit more on my Brother XL-5600 I picked up at Target a couple of years ago, then upgrade my machine when I can actually put all the bells and whistles to work.

We simply followed the instructions for the zipper from its package and on the pattern and...it worked! My first zipper installed and demistified. Kerri also showed me that my machine has a built in threading system. No more squinting to get the thread through that needle. whoo-hoo!

Making the muslin lining was a cinch! It's the same pattern for the A-line skirt. I don't think I'll have a shortage of skirts this summer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

coronado beach day

While watching the morning news yesterday, we heard that today would be the hottest day of the week and would reach the mid-90s. We decided to have a Beach Day and take our boogie boards out to Coronado Island. It took a while to get acclimated to the 65 degree water sans wetsuits. After a few dunks underwater, we were hanging out past the surfline for any rideable, though smallish, waves. We left when our sand structure was engulfed by the incoming tide. I called it an oceanfront spa since the water pooled behind our sand wall was warmer and relaxing to wade in, but B called it a fort with spires. Imagination at work! It sounds like the heat wave hit up North, in the Bay Area, more than it did here since it was only in the low 80s, but it was perfect beach weather for me.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

give a hoot

The early bird catches the worm. In our case this morning, we caught the first couple heats of the Crystal Pier Surf Classic in Pacific Beach ("PB"). We were just heading out for a morning on the beach in search of breakfast along the way. The road we took today ended at Crystal Pier which conveniently has Kono's Beach Cafe on the corner. We sat on the patio above the beach as we filled our bellies with tasty breakfast burritos. They're generous with their portions and we could've easily shared one...doggie bags for lunch, I guess.

While waiting for our breakie, I walked around the corner to Pacific Bean to grab some coffee. I looked at the menu behind the counter and asked the guy if they make mochas. He pointed to a black board which covered the side wall which listed about a couple dozen different mocha flavors and said, "It's kinda what we're known for." d'oh. I tried the Mexican Chocolate mocha. It was exotic, but safe enough...and good.

They make their mochas with two shots of espresso, so I had a lot of energy left even after our beach playtime. When we got home, I came across this tutowlrial (Thanks Moonstitches!) and put my energy to work. I drafted a quick pattern and in a bit over an hour finished this little guy. I used a couple vintage buttons which give him a spooky look. I also added a few top feathers on his head.

I made it for B since he's been cuckoo for owls since he saw the video of the shape changing owl, but might end up keeping him for myself as a pincushion. His belly is perfect for it! I plan on making another one with some alterations on his belly so that it's not so angular...that one can be his.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

my first quilt

Something I started about a month ago is now done. My very first quilt! I love it!

When I first started cutting out the blocks, I thought, "This is going to take forever!" In this case, forever took about a month of three hour sessions at Sowing Sisters and about a couple of hours working on it on my own.

There are so many fabrics out there catching my eye. I'm tempted to go out and buy more fabric for a new quilt, but think I'll try to get that monkey off my back and make that A-line skirt from Sew What! with a zipper instead.