Thursday, June 23, 2011

another sewing / creative post

May brought about not only Mother's Day, but also a birthday, and so I made items to celebrate both occasions. First up is a bag that I made for my mother, using the same pattern I've been using since last summer (this is the fifth bag I've made with it, I rather like it!). I picked out handpainted fabrics at the Sewing Expo in March, selecting a light purple with a silver sheen and swirly pattern as well as a shades of gray with silver and a raindrops pattern. Rather than just doing one side of each color, I used a strip of each one to slash the opposite fabric, and cut my pieces from those. There wasn't enough fabric left to make the outside handles, so I used a dark purple dupioni silk that I had on hand from a project a while back and that turned out really nicely. I was a bit nervous using the silk, but I didn't have any issues with fraying on the parts I was working on and it turned out really lovely, I think. The lining is a royal purple ballistic nylon, and inside (not shown) are two pockets made from a quilting cotton in a green/cream/gold butterfly print. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out. Of course, I forgot to take pictures before shipping it, but my mom sent me these pictures she took, including this last one that shows the bag next to the quilt I made her two years ago (the first one I ever made!).

Next up was my best friend's birthday, and I decided to make her an iPad cover similar to the one I made myself a few months ago. I originally picked out the blue flowered fabric seen in the lining on the left, and then changed my plans based on a mutual purchase of the geometric/metallic fabric that makes up the center stripe. Shortly after we bought yardage of that fabric to split, I came across the green flowered fabric that fit with it perfectly, and so the design was set. I made the dimensions a half-inch smaller in width than mine, and it is a little snug on the iPad but seems to be breaking in well. Mine is really just a bit too big, so maybe the happy medium is a quarter inch in difference. The binding is a sage green leaf fabric that I used to bind the baby quilt I made for Finley last year - little projects like this are great to use some leftover binding for, saving me a lot of effort in cutting and ironing! I'm really happy with how this one came out, and even more pleased that I finished it with several days to go instead of finishing it just minutes before leaving for the celebration! Yay for me!

I've completed one other project which is enroute to its recipient, who reads this blog so I will wait to talk about it until she has received it. I am currently quilting a small baby quilt (meant to cover the baby-pod carrier thing) for a brand new baby another friend had, and again will wait to post more about that until it has gone to its recipient.

I read an awful lot of quilting blogs, and have been awaiting the release of the 1001 Peeps fabric by Lizzy House, which is an Arabian-themed followup to the Castle Peeps fabric she designed last year. The end of last summer is when I really began reading a lot of blogs, and at first I was irritated with how much of the fabric was showing up everywhere, but some of the design did grow on me - of course, too late to buy it in most retail locations! I did find some of the green castle print at the Sewing Expo, which I used to make my iPad case, and I bought some half-yard cuts of the blue colorway from a seller on Etsy earlier this spring. When the new 1001 Peeps fabric came out, including a gorgeous purple colorway, I bought quite a lot of it...mostly half-yard cuts, but some full and multiple yard cuts as well! I was super thrilled when it arrived, and I've just about settled on my first project with it - a sleeve case for my Nintendo DS, rather than the large snap-on case that I currently use. I'll post about that when I work on it next month, never fear - I want to have it in time for PAX!

Speaking of PAX, both Chris and I are planning to take part in the Buttoneer exchange this year, which is where all participants make up their own buttons and bring them to trade. I took part in it last year and had a great time, so it was a no-brainer for me to do it again this year and Chris doesn't want to be left out. I can come up with great designs in my head, but I'm not so good at the art of drawing them up myself, so instead I chose two photos of Curzon and Ezri from our photoshoot last fall and with the permission of Artis Photography I made PAX buttons from them. I can't wait to trade them in August!

We're about to head out on vacation, as our friends are coming from NJ with their two kids and we're taking the RV out to the Olympic Peninsula for a week and a half. It's going to be a lot of fun, even if the weather is not being so cooperative, and we're really looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Memorial Day ride

On Monday, for the first time in about two years, I went on a motorcycle ride for fun. This time around was much better than the first time, mainly because of the bar risers that make it so much easier to ride my bike for long periods of time. It was also more fun since there were friends of my own on the ride, rather than just my husbands' coworkers, as two people I've known for a long time via an online message board came along for the trip.

We took the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston, then met up with the last person in Poulsbo before heading out 104 to 101 towards Port Angeles. This was the first time I've gone out that way, including going over the Hood Canal Bridge, and that is very impressive - and I'm very glad there was almost no wind that day! We rode up to the top of Hurricane Ridge, which surprised us with temperatures of 34F and more than five feet of snow still on the ground, as shown in the above photo. The road was a LOT of fun to ride, despite the cold, wet, and fog, and I'd like to give it another shot some time when I'm not holding back due to weather conditions. I was definitely the most comfortable of our group in my electric heated gear, however!

On our way back, we stopped on 101 in Port Townsend to visit Fat Smitty's, a burger joint recommended to us by another friend on the forum who wasn't able to join us. We parked our fleet of bikes - my BMW F800ST, my husband's Honda ST1300, a KLR, a V-Strom 1000, and two others I don't recall - outside of the joint and went inside. It's definitely a dive diner, with hundreds of dollar bills with sharpied drawings/comments thumbtacked all over the place, but it was a great stop after a lot of riding.

And that is their signature dish - the Fat Smitty burger, with three buns, two patties, cheese, bacon, and veggies. The advice the server gave was "to squish it as flat as you can, pick it up, and DO NOT LET GO" which was ignored with entertaining consequences by at least two people in the group. I did not get one of these, as I know better, and my regular sized burger and chocolate shake were perfectly tasty on their own.

Taking a motorcycle on the ferry is awesome, as you can skip the 1-2 hour wait that the cars are suffering through and go straight to the head of the line. There were about fifteen bikes waiting for this ferry, including our group pictured above (with another big BMW from another passenger) and a group of Harleys that was on the other side. The ferry was pretty crowded so we just stayed down below with our bikes for the ride over, especially since it's only about a half-hour once the ferry is loaded and moving.

We did a total of about 200 miles or so, and I really enjoyed the trip. I'm thinking another trip should be in the cards for this summer, maybe a visit to Mt. St. Helens, especially since we can't take the dogs there. We'll see!