Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now that all the family visitors have come and gone, I guess I am having a day of feeling blue.  We did so much while they were here, it really shouldn't be a surprise to feel a sudden let down, kind of like after the holidays.

First, we pick them up from the airport on a Saturday.  Went to Hearst Castle on Sunday. WHAT A TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT.  Back in 2003 (may have have been a couple of years later) my mom and oldest daughter came for Christmas and we went there.  The weather that day was just awful, raining all day long and cold. We saw the great rooms, a couple of bedrooms, went to one of the cottages, then back to the  castle.  It was decked out for Christmas.  THIS time however...I made reservations for what I thought was the same tour.  It was not.  We got to see three great rooms and a home movie in the castle's movie room.  THAT WAS IT!  While I truly admire the craftsmanship that went in to the furnishings, I was disappointed that we paid that much money and saw THREE rooms.  Just wasn't right in my opinion.  No one in the group honestly was pleased with the tour either. The only saving grace of the whole day was we had a nice lunch on the water at Morro Bay.

Monday we drove up to the Trail of 100 Giants.  A grove of sequoia trees that are near by where we live.  Now that day was a true pleasure. Beautiful weather, walking among pure nature, just felt the presence of our Lord that day as we walked along the pathways. Little Mr. M went with us, he was such a joy to watch as he explored the world around him.  He just started walking a few weeks ago and is really starting to get around quite well.

Tuesday we just hung out around the house. It was a hard day for me, it was my mom's birthday.  She would have been 86.  I miss her terribly.  We went out to eat Mexican food, just happened that it was at the same restaurant which was the last place we took mom and...we were even seated at the same table as we did with mom.

Wednesday we drove my in laws over to the coast. My mother-in-law's older sister lives there and they are staying a few days with her before returning home.  Big surprise there, hubby offered to take Miss Zebra and I to the outlet mall. Oh and we spent HUGE, a $9 blouse for Miss Zebra.

I have been on a little bit of a spending spree lately though, I have to admit.  I purchased an AccuQuilt Go.  It is a cutter system that uses die cuts for cutting fabric for quilting.
I have wanted one for a long time, but had always thought that I could probably do the same thing with my Sizzix Big Shot which is for scrapbooking.  Had read blogs where several people had done just that.  Went to the Sizzix web sight and saw that they have even come out with a line of quilt related dies.  Well, I started doing a little research and found out that while I might be able to work it out that way, the AccuQuilt system is specially designed and sized for what quilter's need.  Not trying to make a scrapbook page cutout work on a quilt. I found out from a great number of sources that the two are quite different.  Then I asked for some feed back from a couple of my quilting groups.  I also went to the local quilt shop and talked to the owner about the system and found out that they have the huge cutter and rent out use of it (in there shop of course) for a nominal fee per hour.  Now depending on the fabric, depending on the die, you can expect to cut through six layers of fabric at a time at least.  For the size quilts I make, that is the same as cutting out a row at a time. I had mentioned to the shop owner that I had a friend that told me she would sell me hers and she told me if I had the money I should jump on it.  I had Mr. M with me, so the owner, who was being so nice and helpful, knew that I didn't have a lot of time to work on my quilting with him under foot.  She told me that if she didn't own the shop and have the industrial cutter available to her she would absolutely invest in the smaller one.  Now, there is a smaller one called an AccuQuilt Baby, but I learned my lesson when buying my Cricut that I wanted the bigger home size, the AccuQuilt Go.  So...I made a deal with my friend.  She also has a lot of the dies, but I am only buying a couple of basic ones from her.  Once I learn what I will use the most, rather what sizes I like to use the most, then I will invest in some more.  I know that some of the more specialty dies, like the rag quilt blocks, that I would only occasionally make, I will just go down to the shop and rent out their equipment.  However, that being said, considering my time constraints with Mr. M (which I wouldn't trade for anything) I am placing an order for a couple of the dies that I know I will use a lot and know that it would be a HUGE benefit to have sitting in my own room, ready to use at any time or take along on a trip.  Oh yeah, I can just see that this would be something I would take on a camping trip to do a lot of cutting at a time. One of those is a 2.5 (a 2 inch finished) inch square multiple.  Cuts 9 squares at a time. Since most of my quilts tend to built around 2.5 inch strips this will be an enormous help for me. I am truly math challenged, so will have to figure out what size triangles will go with what before I order those.  The other dies I want for at home are shape related.  Sunbonnet Sue is for sure one I am ordering.  Maybe Sam as well.  I get absolutely giddy thinking about being able to layer 6 fabrics and cut one time and have the Sun Sue pieces in one crank of the handle.  Mix and match for different outfits and looks.  OH SO MUCH EXCITEMENT.  Now to wait for them to arrive.

Yeah I know, simple minds have simple pleasures.

Another addition to the craft room is a new embroidery machine.  I love my Brother machines, so I stuck to that brand.  I bought a new PE770.
I already have embroidery machines (yes plural) and I love to play with them.  I have gathered tons of designs that fit them.  The one draw back to them...a 4 x 4 inch embroidery field.  Which means that most of the designs are only about 3.5 x 3.5 or less.  There have been several times that I have had to adjust the hoop several times and hope that I was lining up with the previous stitching in order to get a larger letter or such.  This new machine has a 5 x 7 inch design field.  While to those who aren't familiar with embroidery machines will think that the size difference isn't that much, believe me, it is HUGE.  By the way, I have purchased my machines through Walmart and I would highly recommend buying an embroidery machine if at all possible.  Now, there are a couple of things you do have to keep in mind when you decide to buy one.  My first embroidery machine was the PE 150.  It came pre-loaded with a lot of designs and like three fonts. In order to get more designs you had to buy design cards, which were so expensive I honestly didn't do much with the machine.  Then a friend of mine liked my machine so much that she bought one, but her and her husband were smart enough to research it and bought the Amazing Magic Box.  She was kind enough to explain it to me, since I was so jealous of all the projects she was doing.  Then, Brother came out with a combination machine. A Brother SE 270D (sewing/embroidery Disney). Hubby bought this one for me so I could take my projects traveling with us but only take one machine.  It came with a Disney card.  You have to have a card, like a miniature floppy disk or giant memory card for a camera, to put additional designs on your machine.  You can buy the cards already with designs on them, which is as I said expensive.  That is where the Magic Box comes in.  A blank design card is inserted in to the box, the box hooks up to your computer, you can then load a design on to the card. As long as it is in PES formatted language, and the design in smaller than 4 x 4 inches. So, to recap, you have your sewing machine, the computer, the box that all have to be used.  That is why I am so excited about my new Brother 770.  The larger design field, and a USB port that can read a memory stick drive.  Cuts the computer and box out of the process.  Well, you still need to have a computer to download designs on or to read design CD's, but once you have saved those designs on to a stick drive, just plug it in to the machine.  In other words, the computer doesn't have to be right next to the sewing machine.  The next step up would be a machine in the professional line, which means big $$. While I would love to have one of the professional machines that have several colors and several needles going at the same time, unless I opened up a business I just can't justify it.  I remember back in the 90's when the home embroidery machines first came out, my mom's friend spent around $3,500.00 for her set up.  She put names and flowers on some bibs, some names on vest, that's is it.  Thankfully, Brother has a very affordable version for most hobby use. I am so ready to get on that new machine and do something, just to see if the thing actually works.  The reviews for the most part were really great.  A few had tension issues, but that is why I picked Walmart, easy to return if there is a problem.

On to other topics.

Menu planning has once again become non-existent around here.  With the family visiting, we have eaten out almost every night, some times several times a day, and spent a boat load of money in the process.  I will certainly be glad to have that part of life settle down a bit.  I am in a mood to do some OAMC, or cooking for the freezer, just don't have any room in the freezer at the moment.  I plan to start using up what I have to get some room and to start getting back on track as far as that aspect of homemaking is concerned.

I received a wonderful surprise in the mail today.  A member of one of my crochet groups sent me some wonderful purple and yellow blocks.  They had been on my wish list to put together for my daughter an afghan, those are her school colors.  I have been so ready to start on some sort of project. I think if I can't do something soon I will go mad.  My crochet projects have been packed away since mom first got sick and I would take them with me to the doctor's office with her.  Just have not been able to really look at them too much yet.

I promised myself that I would not work on anything until I got this house back in order.  That is proving to be a bit difficult now that Mr. M has started walking, he just isn't happy to be confined any more not that he has had that taste of freedom. Tomorrow night, I am going to a concert.  The artist name is Rudy Parris, he is currently on The Voice, and is competing on Blake Shelton's team.  He is a local actually, but I am really looking forward to going out with a girl friend.  Then Saturday I will work on the house when I don't have the little guy under foot.  Hopefully, Sunday will be open for a pedicure and some much needed craft time.

I am trying to figure out how to add to my blog a project tracker or such to show what I have to finish and what I have finished.  You know, quilts, afghans and such.  Machine embroidery of course.

Well, this post has gotten long winded for sure.  Thanks for stopping by to visit.  I am heading to bed.  Please come back to visit often.


  1. I saw your blog link on one of Mark's yahoo groups. Wow, a lot of interests! I am a little bit jealous of your crafting area but I'll just be happy for you! :) I had to go to work to get my credits in to draw on my husband's social security, which in 9 years when I am 62 can now. I had to work an additional 5 years but worked 8 until my shoulder got wonky. I had worked a lot of cafes in my past that did not pay in to social security or I would not have had to finish this up. I hope I can start a quilt as I've been away from crafting since we moved to a tiny house in the country. I do not drive but seriously think I should put a craft room in my house in town for 9 months in the year the temperatures would make it useful and no space here. Houses don't sell in our town so..! Right now it is empty and I miss having room. I enjoyed your post so much!

  2. Oh I meant to post that post on your more recent blog entry! :)
    it is early!!!