Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smoothing things out

Last night, rather than work on any of the projects I have already started...I decided it'd be a great idea to iron out some new fabric and cut more strips. Sure, because who DOESN'T want to iron when it's 90+ degrees out??


Anyway, it has come to my attention that I should probably acquire some kind of ironing board. Last night I was ironing on a stack of fabric on my desk. Effective for fat quarters, but certainly not for yardage.

What do you iron on?

I should have stuck around for #talknt on Twitter last night, since they were talking about ironing, but I got distracted, as always. :(

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book on the way!

In lieu of the Farmer's Wife book, which everyone seems to be doing, I ordered this one:

I plan to use the vintage-style fabrics that my aunt gave me for this one. I read online that the Farmer's Wife doesn't include great instructions, while it looks like this one does have them...important for a beginner like me!

I don't think I'll start on this until after I've worked on my nine-patch (and maybe another nine-patch!) some more. I am not entirely confident in my ability to line up seams, and you really need to be able to do that to get a quilt like this to look right!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is it just me....

Or is there anyone else who'd much rather put new color and fabric combinations together instead of working on projects in progress???

I've got FOUR quilts I need to finish up as Christmas presents, and which I started months ago...

But instead I've started more. The quilt for my sister-in-law, the Tetris quilt, the nine-patch blocks I've started...and I just put together four new color combinations from my stash.


In the meantime, here are my nine patches:

I only had to pick out two or three strips, but overall, they look pretty good! I have charm squares of the same fabric - but the nine patches are six inches and the charms are I think I'm going to put white sashing around the edges of the charms, then white all around ALL the squares. Thoughts?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another finish, and another WIP (edited to add SBM!)

Small Blog Meet
Edit: Hi everyone from Small Blog Meet-up! This isn't the most current post on my blog, but it IS the most current post that makes it look like I actually have completed something! ;) The post I originally did for the link-up can be seen here. :) 

I wasn't able to blog about this quilt before because it was a gift and I had to wait until it was given. It's another jelly roll race-style quilt, made from stashed fat quarters and bits left over from other fabric. The front's all regular cottons, the back, solid black flannel. It's a couch sized piece (the photo shows it spread out on our bed, which is a flattened out futon and slightly smaller than queen-sized). Hopefully it keeps my cousin and her new husband warm for many years!

I've also started a new jelly roll quilt, this one nine-patch style. Joann had some half-jelly-rolls on clearance (only 20 strips?? it forced me to go back for a second trip) for $7, so I bought some, along with packs of charm squares to work with, too.

I love the calming blues mixed with the browns and oranges. I am trying my best to actually follow all the steps in the book, including ironing - which I hate!!!

What are you guys working on this weekend?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I actually have some WIPs that I can blog about now , so I can finally join in Freshly Pieced's W.i.P. Wednesday! :D For a while all I'd been working on were gift quilts (though admittedly I still am) but now I've started a few projects that don't have destinations or which, heaven forbid, are actually for my husband and I!

First, the longest-running project, the queen sized quilt for our bedroom - simple 4" squares, in a brick-like pattern, in a blue/purple/black scheme to match the bedroom we have not yet painted. I'm about 3/4 of the way through quilting it (straight line quilting, 1/4" from the seams). I'm definitely hoping to have it done, um, before winter. I think I can manage that timeline. :)

I'll admit, I love the fancy designer fabrics from Moda...but the clearance racks and remnant bin at Joann's are a bit more my budget. I found this adorable jelly roll there this past weekend, and grabbed it. I'm planning on using it for a nine-patch quilt - my first attempt at using one of those nifty, sew-strips-together-and-turn-them-into-fancy-things techniques that seem oh-so-clever!

 While on our way home from vacation, I had the brilliant idea to make a Tetris-themed quilt. After deciding to use the color scheme from the Microsoft Windows 3.1 version of the game, I bought solids (again, at Joann, which had them 50% off all weekend) - hooray! Looking forward to getting started on that one.

Okay, so my kitties aren't a work-in-progress (or are they?) but they're adorable so I included them. They LOVE hanging out by the front door when it's open - Jeff and I call it Cat-TV. :)


I'm a little in love with Pinterest right now, even though it's not as reliable as one might hope. Whether it's finding adorable quilts to drool over / use as inspiration or pretty flowers to use as inspiration for tattoos, it's definitely been keeping me busy...often at work. Oops.

Anyway, are you on Pinterest? Check me out here!

So yeah, tattoos? I'm hoping to get another one. If I get another bonus like the last one, I want to get morning glories like so:

on my right arm, similar to this arrangement:

Found here

I need to find a good artist in my area; I'm not thrilled with the place I went to for my previous work. :) My bonus wouldn't come for another three months or so, though, so there's plenty of time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Raiding Auntie Em's Stash

One of the highlights of my trip was going to my dear Aunt Mary's house - I just realized I could call her Auntie Em, hehe! My aunt sews...and used to work in a quilt enough said - we're pretty much birds of a feather, now that I've acquired this new hobby! She's realized recently that she's got WAY too much fabric, so she told me to bring an extra suitcase so I could raid her stash!

I didn't end up NEEDING the extra suitcase - she's got a lot of fabric for making clothing, which I wasn't interested in, but I did pick up quite a few fun things:

There's holly for the pennants I plan to make for each holiday (these for Christmas, of course!), whales for I'm-not-sure-what-but-they-were-adorable, and dancing skeletons for a mug rug for hubby's desk.

I also got some great basic-type stuff, including big polka dots...

But the best part was definitely all these sorta-50s-ish fabrics, with these adoooooorable little prints - aren't fat quarters basically the mini-candy-bars of the fabric world?

Fat quarters folded like triangles are even better!

There was also a stack of layer-cake-sized slices, about half of which have similar prints, so, you know, my arm was twisted into taking those, too! ;)

Lastly, my aunt sent me away with these - four boxes of Keepsake Quilting fabric sample squares. They're probably only 1" squares (I haven't measured and the inserts don't say). I have no idea what I'll use them for - a tiny patchwork quilt, perhaps? I have fond memories of spending afternoons with my grandmother sorting out fabric samples and taping them onto the boards that came with them. They were bigger than this, and cut with pinking shears, and I don't remember any of them being nearly as adorable as these. :) 

The retro prints have really inspired me to start on something like the Farmer's Wife book. I think they'd look absolutely darling in those blocks... I'm just still not sure if I have the dedication it takes to finish it!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Books 32, 33, and 34

Book 32: Bare Bones, by Kathy Reichs - Temperence Brennan book 6

Didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the previous Tempe books, but still enjoying the book series more than the TV series (Bones) that it was adapted into. Book-Tempe is a much more well rounded character and generally more believable as an anthropologist than TV-Tempe.

Book 33: Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison, by T.J. Parsell

A good memoir, I thought - but definitely not for the faint of heart. It includes graphic depictions of prison rape as it relates to sexuality, power and masculinity within the prison system. Race also plays a part, as the author is white and most of those he is incarcerated with are white.

Book 34: Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, by Juliet Schor

I've read other books by Schor, and this one was along the same lines as those. She writes about the effects of advertising on children. At the end of the book, she advocates strict government controls over advertising; basically, it seems like she wants the government to legislate more parenting. She had me with her up until that point.

Pretty lazy book reviews there, huh? Oh well. ;) I'm still on track to meet my goal of reading 52 books this year (actually 53, now that I've counted), though, which is good!

Vacay review

So before leaving for vacation I did a 10-on-Tuesday list of things I was looking forward to on vacation.

Well...I think we did pretty well!

1 - Loved the Smithsonian, again - most importantly, the dinosaurs!

Attempt at panorama shot of T-Rex. Not perfect, but darn good for like, my second try, okay?

2 - Well, I was on the other side of the country from work, so big checkmark there, too!

3 - The Mutter Museum was pretty darn great as well. They don't allow photography, unfortunately - though by that point Jeff didn't have any batteries left in his camera anyway. Definitely recommended if you're a science nerd with a tough stomach in the Philadelphia area!

4 - Another checkmark! I'm a dork who doesn't take photos of myself with my favorite people, but I definitely should have, because my aunt's one of my best friends. She sent me home with a ton of fabric, which I'll post about tomorrow, probably.

5 - My cousin's wedding was beautiful. The ceremony, which was both in English and Spanish (solely for the groom's benefit!) was great, and it was good to meet him, of course! I got to practice my Spanish when listening to him chat with my cousin - I'm much too chicken to actually SPEAK Spanish, unfortunately, but I sent him a Facebook message today telling him I wish he and her all the best :)

Hubs and I, blurrily enjoying ourselves :)
6 - I got a gelato from Rita's - tangerine ice with vanilla custard, mmmmmm - and we ate at a few other places we don't have here (including Five Guys, which I didn't enjoy as much as the folks on the Howard Stern show seemed to think I was supposed to), so that was cool.

7 - I didn't get through as many podcasts as I expected, but I managed to finish all three books that I took with me, which is just as good, since I have over 100 that I haven't read yet (that's the hoarder in me coming out!)

8 - No cooking or driving done by me, check and check!

9 - Aaaaand no talk radio, either, just some Larry Miller podcasts and lots of my folks' classic rock stations.

10 - The crap I had to do at work today definitely indicated that I was NOT at work for six days, so clearly I completed that all around!

All in all it was an okay trip. I don't really like traveling, I don't think - I can never sleep on planes, I can't sleep in strange beds...I like my house. And I missed my kitties!

One final photo:

Saber-Toothed Cat, Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Back from vacation, and I'm exhausted! Up for only a few minutes before heading to bed before my first day back at work since last Wednesday.

I've got plenty of posts bubbling in my head - including chatting about how well we did at crossing items off the August to-do list before going, how well we did at crossing things off the vacay to-do list, the stack of fabric I snitched from my aunt's stash (okay, okay, she gave it to me!) and my plans for it, and the reading I got done! Hooray!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I finished up the gift quilt I've been working on (which I'll blog about next week, after it's been given - don't want to ruin the surprise!), I had to start packing for our impending know, because I actually had something to pack!

In doing so, I found these: reasons why I'm hoping sewing (or crafting in general) is a genetically passed on trait. My grandmother made this sweater:

Which unfortunately doesn't fit me - sleeves are too short, and the neckline is a, unattractive, as well as uncomfortable, because it's just a straight line. But Grammy made it, so I'll keep it, of course!

I also have these two afghans:

I don't keep them out right now, as I don't entirely trust my cats not to have a good time with them (read: claw them to bits, as Molly is wont to do)...but they're delightful, I think, nonetheless. :)

Unfortunately, Grammy passed away in 2001, long before I took up quilting or sewing or any such things. She tried to teach me to crochet when I was 7 or 8, but I wasn't interested. She also taught me counted cross-stitch, but that didn't show results fast enough for my pre-teen self.

Do you have crafters in your family who inspired you to get involved with sewing or other such endeavors?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Request - help!

Can someone point me in the right direction for a tutorial on properly squaring up a quilt? The process makes me REALLY nervous - I put all this work into this thing, and now I have to do what? Cut some off!? Yikes!

I'm working on some quilts with more intricate designs - half square triangles, hexagons (hey, I'm a beginner) and don't want to screw up more than necessary along the way. I know I've made the mistake of not squaring up all the HSTs before sewing them into rows...but I've learned the error of my ways...and figure I should probably square up the rows themselves before sewing them all together, right?

Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hooray for me!

Nothing like a self-indulgent title like that, huh? I think I deserve it, though - my boss told me today that I'm getting a $500 merit bonus based on work I've done to increase our customer retention numbers! The email he sent out about it makes it look like I might have the chance to earn this much extra every month - but even if I don't, that's a HUGE complement from him, considering I've NEVER gotten a bonus that big before!

The last bonus I got was last summer, when I got $300 - I managed to acquire $1,000 in old school tractor-feed paper for free, so my boss gave me some of the savings. Woot.

Anyway...what to do with it!? I know I *should* save it, or put it towards the house - we have two more bedrooms and a bathroom to work on, and those are expensive projects...

But the other part of me wants to buy a bigger one of these:

or maybe a bunch of pretty fabrics.... or maybe even one of these:

I have no idea what I'd DO with an iPad...but they're neat looking. LOL. 
What do you do to spoil yourself when you come into a bonus like this???

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - vacation style!

I'm leaving for vacation in less than 10 days, so my 10-on-Tuesday will be all about that! 

10 Things I'm Looking Forward to Whilst on Vacation

1. The Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History! My husband and I are huge science nerds - he's getting a Master's in biology while on his way to pursuing a forensic anthropology career, and I married him, so that explains me. ;) The Smithsonian's got a Human Origins exhibit going on right now, and we're really excited to see the casts of the different species that led to us! This is in addition to the amazing ocean exhibit and the dinosaurs that were there when we went last time. 
2. Getting time off work! It's been since our honeymoon two years ago since I got to take more than four days off in a row - this time I'll get, um, six. Hooray! :)

3. More museums! Going along with number 1, we're also heading to the Mutter Museum (warning: website not for the faint of heart!). It's a museum of medical history and oddities, including more skeletons and specimens and all kinds of things like these skulls: 

4. Visiting with my favorite aunt, who lives in Delaware. We chat via email all the time, complaining about all the usual things - work, husbands, family, etc. The best part? She's a crafter/sewist, too! Her fabric stash is huge - she's instructed me to bring an extra suitcase to fill with fabric so I can make more lovely jelly roll quilts (she's a big fan of the ones that I've made/started so far). Can't wait!
5. Going to my cousin's wedding. My cousin's fiance was finally able to get a visa to move to the US from Mexico, so they're finally able to be together! They were originally planning to get married back in April, but as with all things bureaucratic, it took longer than expected. It's probably for the best, though, since she's a teacher and will get to have a week or two off after being married to stay home and enjoy that! If you're interested in donating to a very worthy cause, check out her page. :)

(Phew, 10 is harder than I expected, and I'm writing quite the novel! Oops!)

6. Food! There are a bunch of east-coast places I don't get out here in California, like Rita's Italian Ice, that I'm looking forward to!!

7. Podcast love! I have a TON - literally like, six months' worth, if I listened to them all day, every day - of podcasts on my iPod that I have to catch up on. Old episodes of Loveline (mmm, Dr. Drew!), lots of Adam Carolla, and all kinds of other things. Plane flights = iPod time, at least for me!

8. Not having to cook or drive: Not that I really cook, um, ever, and I don't drive much at all, either, but since we'll be staying with my parents and won't be renting a car, I won't have to worry about either task!

9. Not listening to talk radio: While yes, I will be listening to my own pod casts, as mentioned up there in number 7, I don't have to listen to any of hubby's talk radio - which means a break from Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. I don't mind TOO much, but a break will still be nice. :)

10: Have I mentioned not being at work? I did? Oh. Well. It's important enough that it deserves two numbers!!! :)

Wow! Hi Everyone!

Wow, the Small Blog Link-Up sure has been great - I've almost  officially doubled my followers in only a few days!

I'm thinking a giveaway at 50 followers and another at 100 - sound good to you guys? I'm sure it does!

So here's the question - what sort of fabric do YOU want to see as a prize? Scraps from my (admittedly meager) stash? Gift card someplace? Some fancy charm pack or jelly roll?

Tell me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Small Blog Link Up

Small New Blog Meet-Up

Hi everyone! I'm joining up with Lily's Quilts for the Small New Blog Meet Up! I've increased my following by one this week to 12, so I still definitely qualify!

My blog name, Hope Sewing is Genetic, comes from my beloved grandmother's gift for sewing. She was able to do any craft possible, it seemed, from quilting to crochet to counted cross stitch; her gift for creating extended into her lovely gardens, too. 

(still unfinished quilt for our bedroom)

I started quilting in November of last year, when I purchased a cheeeeeap Singer machine during Target's Black Friday sale. I was getting out of playing World of Warcraft and looking for a new hobby to replace it. I figured, "Well, Grammy was good at sewing, and I certainly spent enough time at her house growing up, so some of it had to have sunk in...right??"

Things have gone well so far - I have sewn several projects for around our house and a bunch of skirts for my good friend's daughter. I've already moved on to Bertha, my Brother CS6000i, who I am very much in love with (just don't tell my husband!).

I finished my first quilt this weekend, in fact: a jelly roll race quilt, in lovely shades of pink and purple and white, for a coworker whose girlfriend is expecting their first daughter any day now!

(My first finish, hooray!)

Other than quilting and sewing projects, you'll find some book reviews/comments, updates on the status of our various home improvement projects, and darling pictures of my kittens!

(This is Molly, our acro-cat!)

Thanks for visiting, and I look forward to following you back! :D

July to-do list recap

-Finish 7 books - mostly things that are wished for on Paperback Swap: I didn't do as well as planned, but started off strong. For whatever reason, I can't seem to get myself to finish the Martin book - perhaps I'm subconsciously trying to ration it!?
     -Book 5 of George RR Martin series, as soon as it comes!!
     -All the Names, by Jose Saramago (recommended by Allison)
     -A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America, by David K. Shipler
     -The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes: And Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients (I'm finally going to finish it, honest!)
     -Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital, by Alex Beam
     -If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers, by Jack Bowen
     -Born to Buy, by Juliet B. Schor
     -Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, by Ammon Shea 
     -Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, by Kerry Cohen

Sewing: - Made huge progress, though on projects I added to the to-do list mid-month. I finished my first quilt this month, and gifting it felt SO good. :)
-Start gift quilt number FIVE. OMG. (fabrics picked - design picked - fabric cut (started 6/28) - strip made - strip sewn into top - backing pieced together - wash fabrics - quilt together - bind  - rewash - ship)
-Work on gift quilt number SIX. OMG x2: (fabrics picked - design picked - fabric cut - strip made - strip sewn into top - baste - quilt (in progress 7/20) - wash - wrap - give!)
-Work on quilting hexagon quilt.
-Finish sewing rows for halfsquare quilt.
-Find more fabric for boys: bought apple for back of T, bought striped flannel for ??
-Finish PJ shorts
-Finish shower curtain
-Make skirt for wedding!

Working: I did great! I have planned times now to do his work (Tuesday evenings, when I know he's out, and again on Thursday nights, if need be). Go me!
-Keep up with binders for Dan - no more than three day turn-around: Why am I such a failure at this? Oh yeah, because I barely get enough pay to justify bringing his crap home. - doing better! note to self: continue doing this on Tuesdays, when I know he won't be at his computer in the evening.

Gardening: Didn't make much progress in the yard, but I did keep up with weeding/watering.
-Keep up with weeding and watering!
-Weed back garden - attempt not to make fence fall over in the process
-Get Jeff to dig out front mimosa tree, side mimosa tree, thing next to garage, weird thing along back fence
-Give agave and cactus plants away on Freecycle - he's come and dug out three of the six agaves so far, hooray. Supposedly will be back.

Home Improving: The bathroom project didn't get finished, but a LOT of progress was made, considering how dang hot it's been.
-Bathroom remodel:
     -Have Mark complete work as outlined below:
     -Have Mark install outside light
     -Repair area of wall that was opened to do Mark's work with scrap drywall
     -Have Mark install light switches, outlet
     -Repair window area in wall
     -Install light fixture over sink.
     -Install new door
     -Get rid of shitty looking texture in room (sand)
     -Joint compound- window wall, washer wall
     -Prime, paint walls
     -Buy baseboard, paint, cut, install
     -Come up with some sort of solution for area under the sink
-Get frames, hang up diplomas