Sunday, July 5, 2009

Down in the Boom Boom Room

My dog, Blair, and I spent the majority of the long weekend in my studio. Not because she was feeling particularly creative (although I was!) but because she is terrified of fireworks. (And thunder. And birds. And cameras.) I try not to laugh at her and hurt her feelings, but this dog will run up to a pit bull or rottweiler and bark, but is afraid of fireworks. (And yes, I consider her feelings because I am one of "those" pet owners. The ones without children so we turn our pets into our "kids". Laugh if you like, I have come to embrace it.)

We considered giving her a sedative this year for 4th of July, but decided against it for two reasons. Firstly because she is allergic to a lot of medications and it would be just our luck that she would have a reaction and we would pay $300 for an emergency vet visit just so they could give her a shot of benedryl. Secondly, there is no such thing as fireworks on the 4th of July around here. In my neighborhood, fireworks start around June 15th and and end around September. Seriously. And I think it would probably be considered animal cruelty to sedate my dog for 2 1/2 months. Plus there is the added worry of her becoming addicted to the sedative. I mean, I can't turn down her sad little face when she is begging for an extra treat or move her surprisingly heavy little body when she is taking up half of my bed, do you think I could turn down her begging for one more pill? I'm an enabler, I tell ya! I'm just kidding....mostly.

Anyway, that is why we spent the weekend in the studio in the basement, which we call the Boom Boom Room. When there are "boom boom's" outside, Blair runs to the door. And pants. And drools. And thank goodness my studio is down there to keep me busy because we have a "No Animals in the Studio Unattended" rule.

I made a deal with her that we could stay down there all day if she let me take her picture. Well, since she is also photo-phobic, she let me take her picture but it looks like I just got done kicking her or something. She's all submissive and her ears are pinned back. I swear I didn't kick her, but I did say "SIT" in a stern voice. Now she's probably scared of the word sit too. *SIGH*

So here she is, looking completely cowed, but I swear she's usually a ball of fire. In fact, ask my oldest nephew, I think he still has a scar on his lip from when she bit him. To my sister, I still say he didn't need to go to the ER for that!

Anyway...I started the weekend by doing a little bit of reorganizing in my studio. I am still nowhere near organized, but I now have 2 new shelves hung. The first one is what I call a "favorite things" shelf. It contains things that make me happy: things I made and things that inspire me.

The second shelf is more of a cabinet really. I've had it for about 2 years but never hung it up. I got it at a yard sale for $5. Well worth the money. This one hangs right over my sewing machine. In this picture I have a WIP hanging from it. Mostly because I need to get motivated to finish it, but also because I like the colors. This shelf also has a picture of my Mom & Dad on their wedding day in 1953. Love that pic. Hard to believe they only knew each other a few months before getting married and ended up having 5 kids and stayed married for over 50 years.

After hanging the shelves I was ready to sew. I started out by making a tissue cover for purse tissues. I have always wanted to make one, but they seemed hard to me. I couldn't wrap my head around how to do it. After searching online, I found a tutorial and set to work. After 10 minutes I was done...and embarrassed. These things are easy! Why was I so afraid to make one? I wanted to make about 50 more. But I only have one purse. So I stuck with this one.
I used fabric from my Mom's stash. I used to "save" her fabric. I was afraid to use it because I felt like I was losing a part of Mom. Then I came to the realization that she would want me to use the fabric. I imagine her smiling down from Heaven, happy that I am using her fabric. And as a bonus I get to carry a little piece of her with me daily. Now I feel silly for not using the fabric more before. Plus, I guess I should mention that my Mom had a ton of fabric. I'll bet that I could NEVER use it all....EVER.

I will be making more of these. I kind of feel sorry for all of my friends. You can bet they will all have tissue holders for their purses sometime soon.
Next I worked on finishing a pin cushion that I've been working on for over a month. It wasn't a difficult project. I just had to find a button big enough to put on the top and bottom to shape it. It was way too puffy without one. I had to rein it in a bit. I don't even drink marguarita's but I think this looks way cute in the marguarita glass.

Another fear of mine in the sewing world has been making a purse or tote. I just didn't have the confidence to try one. My sister makes them all of the time. I had to try. My sister had posted a cute one she made on her blog from Spool Sewing so I decided to try it.
I won't say this was easy like the tissue cover, but it was easier than I thought it would be. I especially like the cool way they did the straps. I made mine out of inexpensive fabric, using more fabric from Mom's stash for the lining, as a test case. I made some mistakes, but it still turned out okay. (Note to self: always remember after basting something by machine to change the stitch length back to normal size)

I will definately be making more of these totes with some minor changes to the pattern that work for me.
After completing these sewing projects, I was in the mood to do some embroidery. So I pulled out my dozens of Aunt Martha's patterns and set to work finding one I wanted to do. I found one that was Summery and quick so I set out to do that. It went pretty quickly and I finished it before bed last night. I decided it needed a little fabric to make it pop so I added a stripe at the bottom. I'm really pleased at how it turned out. It now hangs from the shelf I hung over the sewing machine.

Today I dedicated to a new quilting project. I wanted to make a patriotic wallhanging. True to my nature, I thought of this the day after 4th of July. So next year, I will be ready! One of the blogs I just discovered, Quilt Dad, has a really cool looking 1/4 Log Cabin quilt on it and I wanted to do my wall hanging based on that. I worked on the piecing on and off all day (I kept taking breaks to fold fabric, I swear I'm obsessed with perfectly folded fabric!) and finished the four blocks I was working on. Then, when I layed them out they didn't look like I thought they would. I moved them around a couple of ways to see if I liked them better. I'm not sure which I like. So this is where YOU come in. Which way do you like best?

This is the traditional layout and best shows the 1/4 Log Cabin blocks. But anyone who knows me knows how linear I am and this is not linear to me.

This is more pleasing to my eye, but you can't really see the log cabiney detail of it and I could have made the same pattern with strips...know what I mean?

And this last layout looks more like a big old cross to me. So any suggestions or help would be appreciated!

Overall it was a very relaxing weekend for me and I think both Blair and I faced some of our fears. Okay, so Blair didn't overcome her fears, but I certainly made leaps and bounds in attempting my tissue holder and a tote bag with no fear!

I hope everyone had an awesome 4th and I promise to try to go back to updating at least weekly!




  1. Wow, looks like you had a busy weekend! Thanks for the shout-out : ) I, of course, think you need to stick with the quarter log cabin layout ... have you thought about adding another log or two? Maybe even in different widths and fabrics? And ... (gasP) ... a little wonky / skewed?? It might add some character that you didn't know it had!

    Good luck!

  2. I'm with John - use the quarter log cabin layout. Maybe if you add some borders, it will look better (not linear, but better). I know you can't go wonky.

    Great post, btw, lots of good info. Love the shelves, and the embroidery rocks!

    And, yes, he did need to go to the ER - the boy needed stitches. You fail to mention that the dog was named after a witch. That's all I'm sayin'.

  3. I have that same wire dress form and about a gazillion other ones. Love your quilting and piece work!

  4. Wouldn't the 2nd of your 1/4 log cabin blocks (the square), and the 3rd of your 1/4 log cabin blocks (the cross) turn out the same pattern overall? Just a thought.

  5. And I LOVE that margarita glass pincushion!