Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Saying Hi

It's been awhile since I've made an update here, for several reasons. My sewing machine has been in the shop getting a tune up (just got it back on Friday, and while there had an offer made to me on a new Pfaff that I MIGHT not be able to refuse - we'll see), so my projects have been on hold. Our camera has been having problems with the auto focus ever since our trip to Assateague. I suspect that some sand got blown into the lens (only the lens is AF, not the camera itself - in manual focus it works fine). But that is another one of those bugaboo things that is probably going to cost money to fix, if I can even find a place nearby to take it, and so I've been avoiding dealing with it. As a result we've been short on pictures these days.

Mainly, life has just been simple and easy around here these days. Don's back in the swing of things at work and my days home with Amy are so pleasurable now. She's always been a pal, but now that she's almost 2 our whole routine and the way the day unfolds is just, well, easy. It's a pleasant time for our family - just enjoying our precocious little girl, the still-warmish fall weather, playing at the park, reading, taking little outings here and there...

In less than two weeks we'll be headed north to see friends and family, and after that I am all too aware of how quickly the weeks will snowball right into the holiday season complete with more travel and general busyness.

So for now, I will enjoy the lull!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Have You Met My Pillows?

Oh my, nearly a week has gone by since their completion and I have not mentioned a word about my new living room pillows. And I know you all have been anxiously awaiting a decorating update (ha!).

This project was of course kicked off by the great living room rearrangement back in August. With the new setup you can see all the furniture more from the rest of the house, and it irked me that nothing really matched. So after at least a dozen trips to and from the fabric store with samples (and one time with an entire bolt of fabric), I finally settled on the cheapest option of all (yay for that) and the one that is the most "neutral" as far as overall decorating style.

My "inspiration piece" was the very first quilt I ever made, shown here up close and on the back of our big blue couch.

This quilt is rather small, and I did not do the greatest job with the binding so it is a touch on the fragile side. As a result it has remained folded up in the blanket chest since its completion four years ago. But I have always loved it and it matches the couch very nicely, so up it went. The next obstacle was deciding how to complement the quilt without going too much in the "country" direction. I found the dark brown curtains at Target, which helped put some color on the wall, and for the pillows I decided on a basic red and cream check, and coordinating solid red and cream fabrics. I still have a couple of ideas in mind for some other accent pillows but those are on hold until I have my sewing machine back.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I even made my own piping for the pillows on the couch and installed zippers in all of them. I think the best part of this project was the time spent sewing, and thinking about my mom. I have to give her huge credit for my ability to tackle projects like this. She never really "taught" me to sew, and any time she tried I often got frustrated, but somehow all those years of hanging around the sewing room while she worked on curtains and slipcovers, and making trips to the fabric store with her, and studying the things she made really seeped into my brain and came flowing out on my first attempt at home-dec sewing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Guilty as charged.

This post falls in the "need to get it off my mind" category. Bear with me.

My well-intentioned but often cantankerous sewing machine is currently in the shop getting a tune up and fixing a problem with the pressure foot adjuster dial. This recently-discovered sewing machine shop is also a Pfaff dealer, and after taking a quick look at their machines in the store I came home and did a little research on my usual haunt, eBay, where I found this: Everything I am looking for in a sewing machine: not made in China, sturdy, simple, dependable, with better stitch and feed control for quilting and sewing thick fabrics.

Oh, but wait, 24 hours ago I was not looking for a sewing machine! Never mind that the repair and service to my Simplicity is going to cost half the purchase price, I still HAVE a sewing machine that, in theory, should run beautifully when I get it back next week.

So why did I spend most of the afternoon coveting this $500+ piece of machinery, and trying to work through in my head how I could possibly justify its purchase? Why, when my husband works hugely long hours doing often dangerous work to earn all the precious money we have? Why, when I have a daughter who deserves every spare penny directed to ensuring her immediate comfort and security?

Because I am a perfectionist, and I think that comes into play in my shopping habits. While I am not an extravagant person, I am always looking for the perfect system. If I just had this machine, everything about my sewing life would be perfect. Etc. I need to get over that.

After a hot shower and a little time away from the computer I have backed off my earnest desire for a new machine and am filing it away for some point in the future when I truly have the money to spend and truly need to replace my current machine. So there, self!

I feel much better now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ocean City, in Pictures

As promised, I'm finally getting to a recap of our trip to Ocean City and Assateague National Seashore this past week. We are still riding high from the fun of it all, and so as to not make this a mile-long post I'll hit the highlights, then share a few pictures that tell it all much better than I would be able to anyway.

We spent two nights away, and stayed at the Atlantic Hotel right on the boardwalk. The drive took less than four hours and Amy was an angel for all of it. Not one complaint. We spent two mornings on Assateague Island, a short drive from Ocean City. There we took several toddler-friendly hikes through dunes, marsh, woods, and beach. And of course we saw the horses! One even walked right past us on the beach. Amazing. We ate out at restaurants on the water both nights, explored the boardwalk (just a little), and took a ride on the Ferris Wheel. We hit the beach, but with so much wind and huge waves it was not swimming weather. Still a thrill for all! Oh and those rocking chairs - on the deck of our hotel - beautiful place to watch the melee below from a pleasant distance.

I think that hits the high points (actually the whole trip was high points). Now, relax and enjoy a few pictures. Can we go back now?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cats in High Places

It was a beautiful, sunny, and dry day today and perfect weather for the half dozen tag sales taking place in our neighborhood. We happened upon one when we made our usual stop at the playground this morning. I spotted this guy from afar:

...and since I know a certain someone who is very fond of Tigger these days I went over to check him out. I also picked up this little print in a nothing-special frame but I totally dig it, and hey, it's already up on the wall!

But the very best score of all was a like-new fold-away cutting table for $10. While my dining room table is adequate for sewing, I've been considering a table like this because it is much higher and more comfortable to work at while standing, and it folds to about 12" wide and is on wheels, so I can tuck it away when not in use. My mom pointed this particular version out to me but it cost upwards of $100 at Joann's. Now I could not be more thrilled to have this baby as my very own, at about a tenth of the cost! I was so inspired that it's already been put to use today, as I finally am getting started on the pillows for the living room. Of course the table also seems to be a feline magnet.

One other satisfying bit - that lamp on the right: Dirt cheap at Walmart years ago, used it all the time in my college apartment and in our Rhode Island houses but it never found a home here. With the new furniture setup we needed a little more light on that side of the couch and I brought it out of storage, only to realize that the harp and finial were missing. No where to be found. And I usually know where to find things. But once again, eBay to the rescue, and my replacement pieces arrived in today's mail, all for less than $5.

It's these small victories that really make me tick.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So Much to Share...

... and so many pictures to sort through. I am dying to tell all about our wonderful mini-vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. But of course the whole day has gone by without a good opportunity to sit down and capture in a few words just what did make our trip so special. Now a cup of tea and a movie with my husband are beckoning. So, here's to making time for this tomorrow!