Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Valentina Quilt

I tried a different type of quilt for this last one. My usual rag quilt method means sewing the fabric wrong side to wrong side, which is opposite of regular sewing. That just doesn't work with chenille, the lumps and bumps get all caught up in the foot of the sewing machine.
So I decided to make a tied quilt. It wasn't so hard until I had the bright idea to use the chenille bedspread fringe as the ties. I think people have had babies in the time it took me to do those 16 ties. The needle would just not go through those 3 layers, I was practically yelling I was so mad. Then I poked myself and started to bleed, not the relaxing experience one imagines of a granny sitting and doing quilting.
The fabric was all free from my neighbor, old bedspreads she picked up at garage sales. The back is a Ralph Lauren sheet from a thrift store. I have a bunch more of all this stuff, so I'll probably just make several variations of this look, which I won't post here.
So here we go, another wait for an Etsy buyer. This is getting old, such a lull between sales.

Finding fabric fluff in the fireplace

It has been a while since I really cleaned house. The kind of cleaning when you would just die if someone stopped over during the process, but you wish so much someone would drop in after it all looks perfect. I used to do this often, but energy levels being what they are, it has been too long.

The Romanian language bookshelf got revamped. From all the books we have purchased, by the sheer amount of money invested, we should be doing better. I don't think there is a book about the subject that we don't own. Anyway, we can see all the materials better now.

There was quilt and fabric crud everywhere. The picture on my Etsy shop is from when I was cutting out the fabric for Judy's quilt. That is where I have done all my cutting and snipping, cross legged on the floor in front of the fireplace. I am sick of all the mess. I am tired of missing the mat and cutting the rug. (And I mean actually slicing the rug with the rotary cutter, I am not talking about dancing!)

So I have made some new house rules. I will no longer do any fabric cutting in the living room. My goal is to set something up in the garage, and do marathon cutting sessions instead of one quilt at a time. I'll sew in the sewing/office/dog/junk room and do the rag quilt snipping outside. Our living room is for talking, reading and studying. The kitchen table is for eating. It usually looks like the picture in my older post, the one with the teenagers at the table. When we were in English, we probably had one of the cleanest houses. That's not true anymore. Moldovans and Romanians are so clean, it is inspiring. And they do nothing except eat at their kitchen tables, what a concept!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Squared Up is so messed up

Not a great week for my business, ha! if you can call it that. The quilt that I sold to the woman in Texas with the baby boutique, well it got lost in the mail. It had a delivery confirmation, but that doesn't do much good when they don't know where it is!
If I give her the money back, then we are out the money. So I just mailed her another quilt, the Petra quilt, which means she will immediately receive the first one, if Murphy's Law is involved.
I'm working on another quilt, lots of flannel, jeans and cotton shirts. Ugh, it looks like I was drunk, seriously inebriated. Crooked sewing, uneven Xs, what is happening? Can you get a SUI  (Sewing Under the Influence) with a blood alcohol content of zero?
So I told myself I am taking a break from this. Time to put it all away for a time and let it gather some dust like the rest of the house. Then my neighbor gave me a huge box of gorgeous vintage chenille. Wow, it is so funky cool. Hmm, what can I make with it? Time to fire up the sewing machine...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My cheese grater brain

I have tackled some things in my life that were hard. Learning Auto CAD was a doozy for me, and then the classes I took in Solids Modeling and machine design stretched my brain even more. Through literal tears, I managed to get through it and get good grades. Learning most other subjects has been quite easy for me, if I put in the time, I get the rewards.

But learning languages has been my weak point. I have dabbled in, through the years:
Spanish - middle school
French - high school
Sign Language - in my early 20's
Russian - before Kiev in 1993
Chinese - in Davis
German - before our various trips there
German is the one language I went the furthest with. Probably from the exposure, the crispness of the pronunciation, the way it felt most like English.

So now here we are in a Romanian congregation for over 2 years, with association in the group 2 years before that. Granted, we have had some scary life events with Ernst that put some halts to my learning for times, but it has been a while now. How I feel about my language learning is like this:

In my brain, it is as if there is a large sheet of thick metal, running vertically from ear to ear. When Romanian comes in my brain, from my eyes or my ears, it hits this wall of metal, crashes and falls to the language graveyard at the bottom, where good Romanian goes to die! The few phrases that are laying near death at the bottom can only be brought to life while I am alone. When I need to use them, such as in talking to a live person, they play dead.

But in the past couple weeks, there seems to be a few holes poking their way into the metal plate. I am hopeful. I am beginning to hear more phrases, not just words. Grammar is beginning to make sense, a little at a time. There is a website that rates how hard a language is to learn. There are 5 cacti possible in difficulty. Romanian gets 4 cacti out of 5, (Spanish gets 2, even though they are both Latin based). So maybe the cacti are punching holes in the metal plate.  If my abilities are compared to a kitchen tool, I will wish to become a cheese grater rather than a sponge. It is a little late in the game to hope to be a language sponge.

Here are some reasons why I can't give up.
the clothes

the goodness

the dancing

the teenagers

the kids

the attitude

the sweetness

the joy

more kids

the history

more dancing

the friendships

the beauty of character

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My first Moldovan baby shower

Today I'll attend my first Moldovan baby shower. Somehow I doubt they will play the silly games, like who has the poopy diaper made from a tissue? Or how many jelly beans in the baby bottle? Probably there will be lots of food and maybe some dancing?
The way they do bridal showers is wonderful. They pool their money, and a few of them go to Ross and buy a bunch of stuff: sheets, blankets, pans, dishes, glasses. Then they just bring it all to the shower, not wrapped and say a little something about each item before giving it to the bride. Like "here are the dishes you will use to serve us food when we come to your house."  No cards, no wrapping paper, no pressure!

 So I think I'll just put a ribbon around this thing and bring it.

The Elizabeta Quilt

Named after Mama Elizabeta, the matriarch of the Tuchakov family,  this one is ready to list on Etsy. I had to do reconstructive surgery to repair a big mistake I made, and it would be on the heaviest quilt I ever made. What was I thinking, some of this fabric could recover a horse saddle!

Now I just need some record freezing weather all across the country to put people in the mood for a heavy wintery quilt.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Molly being Molly

Why I keep Molly away from my quilt materials.

This is a little something I made to keep her busy. It lasted a few minutes.

with her "indestructible" toy

faking being regal

A quilt for Lilia's baby

Once I get the house cleaned up, this is the next quilt I'll sew. Lilia is having a girl in March, although she barely looks pregnant. Her baby shower is Sunday. We are all waiting anxiously for them to decide on a name, they are choosing so very carefully.

Moldovans have about 20 names they seem to draw from. I know 3 Natashas, 3 Larissas, 2 Innas who are first cousins, and so many Elenas. So Lilia is at least trying to be creative. We just know it will end in A, it must, to fit Romanian grammar.

Janet's Quilt, the one that started it all

Two years ago, Joanne and I were talking about her yearly visit to California, and she mentioned she also wanted to visit the Washingtons in Wisconsin. Wink and Janet are a couple we met 30 years ago when Joanne lived in Fon du Lac.
We decided to rendezvous there in Spring 2009, and what fun we had. Usually our vacations to see each other mean that one of us is still in regular life, with work and other responsibilities. This was great to both be on vacation, and being spoiled by the Washingtons no less. Plus I got bumped on my flight, used that to go visit Connecticut last December, and got bumped from that flight too! A very lucrative vacation.

I just fell in love with Janet's rag quilts. So all three of us worked on this one. I was hooked, and became a quilt monster! I have never been a sewer. I used to crochet, but this was much more creative. Janet taught me to use recycled material, relax about it and not to be afraid to add some punchy fabric.

I got back to California, bought a sewing machine and the rest is a blur of batting and thread all over the house. It took me 47 years to discover a hobby. Thanks Janet for getting me started.

Pioneers 2011

Yes, that is me with my eyes closed, the other pictures were blurry. Here are all our pioneers as of January 2011, apparently more in the works. I understood very little from the meeting, still struggling with the language. I did understand one part, about not gossiping about others. The Romanian word for gossip is "BARF" which is hilarious to me. So no barfing!
They are all family, and very united, don't think barfing is a problem, but then again, if they don't want me to understand at all what they are saying, they start speaking in Russian. When the girls are pooling their resources to give me gas money, they speak in Russian! These tri-lingual people, can I just be bi-lingual, please? Would it be so much to ask?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mom's Quilt

Photographed in Mom's beach themed sun room, this is the quilt I made second. It was a crazy big one, 100 squares, the last one I'll make that big.  The pillow was made to match some of the squares.
It was so fun to make, especially since she wasn't expecting it. I would cringe now to look at the corners, but I was still in the learning process. Wish I could see it more often, meaning I wish I could visit more and hang out with Mom and Jo, talking and drinking coffee in their Danbury sun room.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some pictures of our remodel

Molly the watchdog
An open air hall?

New stage for the ASL monitors

The Moldovans doing food service

The little ones enjoying the first meeting

Our remodel in December 2010, let's just say it was rainy and cold, to put it mildly. We got to know a lot of new people from the other congregations. We had Russian, Romanian, English and Sign Language, and lots of interesting communication! Glad it's over, but what a great experience.

Made a boo boo

Wow, made a big boo boo on my latest quilt. While snipping it, I cut into one of the squares pretty badly. Will need to rip it out and sew in another one. It is on the edge, so it shouldn't be too difficult, but that's what I get for trying to hurry. And I was just gettting cocky about how fast I was whipping them out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Petra Quilt

This one was a breeze to make, all the corners seemed to WANT to be together. Maybe because it was all light weight fabric, or could it be that I am getting to be a better sewer?
The flowers from Todd and Sherri's anniversary party added a nice touch to these pictures. But still only 6 views on Etsy. That is not good.
So I have 5 quilts for sale right now, Loredana, Daniella, Laura, Natalya and Petra. For some reason Loredana keeps getting all the views, but my photos of it are not so hot. Need to revamp.
I put together another a large sized one tonight from stuff I already had cut out. Such an easier process, all the decisions were made and I just sewed. Think I'll call it Valentina?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Laura Quilt

I asked Laura what her favorite color was and she said green, all kinds of green. So this is named after her. I did something different on the back, a checkerboard of corduroy and chenille. Chenille is such a pain to sew with, especially the new stuff. I looked like I worked in a feather factory when I was finished.
I got the cute animal flannel at the Goodwill, and I'll sell it with the sheet that I bought at the same time. Was going to give the sheet to Myra for Elliot, but I am being a terrible friend, I'll try to make some money off it!

This was a new record, it took me 2 1/2 hours from start to finish, but I didn't do the Xs, it was too thick for batting. How in the world do people actually make a living doing this?

The Natalya Quilt

My latest, a try for something a little more edgy. I prefer my more traditional look, but these colors were fun to work with. The black fabric was from a pair of Talbots summer pants that always looked horrible on me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I sold Anastasia!

Anastasia, now at Shugabee Lane in Texas
So excited, I sold another quilt. A woman in Texas who has the ShugabeeLane shop on Etsy bought my little pink shabby chic baby quilt! She loves the fact that I make eco-quilts, and would like to see more since she is opening a baby boutique. Now would be a great time for the quilt elves to show up, but I think I'm all on my own.
I seriously need to get some Warm and White batting, it just won't seem to go on sale. I can't really make much of a profit at this until I get the batting cheaper.
Next quilt is the Natasha one, baby quilt with 25 large squares, stuck on whether to put in some black fabric from some Talbot's pants, or just stay all girly and pink.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That was on my refrigerator for quite a while. So simple, but not easy when things get busy. Now with my hands having so much pain from osteoarthritis, it is even more important. Besides being vegan, apparently I am supposed to stay away from:
Nightshade plants (all the yummy Italian vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes)
there is more, but those are the biggies. (Plus of course all meats, dairy and eggs, that is the easy part.)

So, what is left?
Fruit smoothies
Oatmeal with soy milk
Veggie salads
And we are back at smoothies for dessert!

I felt totally fabulous doing the raw food challenge for a month this summer, but then fall came and who wants smoothies on a cold morning? Not me. But who wants to have to take her wedding ring off at night because her hands swell in the night? Not me. So here I go again, will try to do 50% raw, see if that is good enough. With the days getting longer, maybe it won't feel quite so wintry and I'll be more in the mood for a fruit smoothie to start the day, and a salad for lunch and hamster food for dinner.

In need of Quilt Elves

What next?

I love Etsy, but apparently so do millions of other people selling their wares. Etsy is currently making some improvements to how things appear to the public, but I doubt it will affect my few little quilts.

I have 3 quilts ready to go and another in mind. But I can't afford the Warm and Natural batting until it goes on a killer sale, and I can't do anything until then. I've been puttering around looking for some more fabric, found a cute chenille remnant today at Joanne's fabric, but I now know it won't go far. These rag quilts take a huge amount of fabric.

Another issue is this pesky bout with osteoarthritis. How can I have it when no other women in my family have it? Making quilts when my hands ache is not so much fun, besides that I really shouldn't. What I need are elves, really great quilt elves. I find the fabric, choose the design and they do all the work. Like a sweat shop, but nicer. Molly would love the company.
At our very early surprise 20th Anniversary

 Ernst and I have celebrated two anniversaries every year for twenty years. Well, this year was weird because of the huge celebration on 10-10-10. So yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the day Ernst proposed. January 6, that is a big day for us. Each January 6 we have done a little something to remember that day.

Well, I haven't transferred over to my new calendar for 2011, and it came and went without us noticing! Ernst was on vacation and we have just been bumming around at home. I should have got flowers, or a card, or at least made a nice dinner for Ernst. We did eat together, we were at the Raelians getting some Romanian tutoring, that doesn't count.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three more rag quilts in the works

Three more rag quilts now await my further attention.

Elena, a rich red and green one with some heavy duty upholstery fabric, should be just a joy to sew!
Larissa, another blue and white quilt but with much thinner fabric than the last one.
And Kodie, a doggie themed rag quilt that has just adorable fabric.

Now I just have to wait for a great sale on Warm and Natural Batting, which I am totally sold on since trying to use an inferior product. You get what you pay for. But it has to go on serious markdown, so right now the sewing machine sits idle.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mikayla's Quilt, halfway there

The outdoorsy themed quilt for Mikayla is halfway finished, we got all the Xs sewed, we laid it out and picked the pattern and then boxed it up to finish in 2 weeks, at the Tamale party.
My personality is so all or nothing, it's going to be hard for me to wait the 2 weeks. Maybe that's why I end up practically crippled at the end of a quilt, with the dishes piled up and the house a mess. This will be good for me, out of sight so I won't go out of my mind.

Mikayla was a natural at sewing, she did almost all of them herself, and then was revived by a visit to Chipotle.