Thursday, January 31, 2013

Possible Purchase

I've been debating about making a particular purchase lately.

For those of you who don't know, I'm an avid tea drinker.  I take an insulated thermos of tea with me to work every day...sometimes two of them.  A few years ago, in an effort to save money, my company got rid of our water coolers that provided both cold and hot water.  When we had those coolers, I could easily make some tea at work using the hot water (no microwaved water for this tea weenie).  However, now that we don't have those, I'm back to bringing thermoses of tea.

Hello Amazon!  Since I have bought tea and tea accessories off Amazon, the company sent me an email a while ago regarding a programmable tea maker.  Here's a link to the item.  Its made by Breville and not only does it boil water at a touch of button, but it has an infuser that automatically lowers into the water, steeps for the desired amount of time and automatically retracts to stop the brewing process.

Can we say... Totally Awesome!!!

The only not-awesome part..... the price.  Its currently listed at $240, which seems like an awful lot of money to be able to make yummy tea at work.

I think the next time I get an award at work, I may splurge and get this.  I really enjoy my tea and would love to just be able to make it at work at any point during the day.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Starting and Ending a Line of Quilting

I thought I would do a post on starting and ending a line of quilting and being able to bury the thread afterwards.  Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to my Flickr site and you can view the picture larger.

When starting the thread, first you want to put your needle down where you want to start your quilting.


Be sure to keep a tight hold of the thread that comes from your needle and raise the needle to the up position again.


Gently tug on the thread until the bobbin thread comes up.  You can see it as a little loop in the picture below.  Use a stylus, pin, pencil (pretty much any small tool) and slip it through that loop to pull the thread out from under the needle.


Hold onto both ends of the thread and make sure you have some tension on both of them to prevent them from getting pulled to the wrong side of the fabric.


Again, put your needle down in the spot where you want your quilting to start.  Put your pressure foot down and hold onto those threads and start stitching.  Once you have a few stitches taken, you don't need to hold onto the threads any longer.


When you get to the end of the line of stitching, we will follow a similar process.  When you are the end of stitching, put the needle in the up position, raise your pressure foot and use a small tool of some sort to catch your top thread between the quilt and the needle.  Pull that thread to the side and grab onto it with your hand.


While holding that thread, put your needle back down in the last place you took a stitch. 


Raise the needle to the up position again and pull gently on your thread.  The bobbin thread should come to the top fairly easily.  You will want to leave your pressure foot down on this step to prevent the top thread from pulling through.


Again, use a stylus or small tool to grab that loop of thread and pull it to the side.


Gather both the top and bottom threads and snip them.  Be sure to leave enough thread such that you can tie a knot in it.


Move your quilt sandwich away from the pressure foot and tie a knot close to the surface.  You will want to leave a little space so you can pull the thread between the layers of the quilt.


I use a self-threading needle to do this step as it makes it easy to thread.  Thread the needle and insert the tip as close as you can to your line of stitching and the point should come up about a half inch to an inch away from your stitching.  You will want to make sure you only get your needle under the top layer of fabric.  it doesn't need to go into the batting and you definitely don't want it going all the way through your quilt.


Pull the needle through.  If you look closely at the picture below, in the corner of the stitching, there is a little "ball" of thread. That's my knot.  Pull gently, but firmly, on your thread and it will pop through the top layer of fabric.  You will actually feel a little "pop" when it goes through.


In this picture, if you look at the same corner again, the "ball" of thread is missing.  It is buried under that top layer of fabric.  Now just snip that thread tail close to the surface of the quilt and you are done.


I hope you found this helpful!

Happy Crafting! ~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Working from Home

One of the good things about the company I work for is that I have the ability to work from home.  This comes in handy particularly this time of year when the snow/ice can make driving to work difficult.

Lately, its been bitterly cold here in upstate NY.  On last Friday (January 25th), the temperature when I started the fireplace up in the morning was -4F outside.  I was definitely glad I was working from home and not having to go outside.

So while I was busy working and making sure the fireplace was nice and happy, this is what my cat, Ellie, was doing.


Looks pretty comfy, huh?  I was sorely tempted to join her.

This next picture is a little wonky.  I was trying to get a picture of her face (hard to do with a black cat) without waking her up.  She just started waking up when I snapped the picture.


Despite the desire to take a nap, I was able to get a fair amount of work done on Friday because I didn't have the constant interruptions that I get when I'm in the office.  I think I'm going to have to make a habit of this on Fridays.  :-)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, January 28, 2013

Make-A-List Monday

I totally didn't get done what I wanted to last week, but it sure wasn't for lack of effort.  It was a busy week at work...insanely busy.  We also had some friends over to the house on Saturday, which meant the entire day was spent doing grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and finally entertaining.  We had a great time and it was good seeing some of our friends that are going to be moving soon.

Here was the plan for last week

1. Quilt 2 corner squares for Lone Star. Nope. :-(  I did get half of one block quilted.
2. Post needlepoint picture. Nope.  Didn't get any pictures taken.
3. Sew 4 blocks for the Bento Box quilt. Nope... consistent story, right? Didn't get to this either.
4. Order backing material for Wildflower Fields. I also didn't order backing.  I'm still debating what I want to do with backing.  I could probably make the backing scrappy, but I don't know if I want to do that or just purchase some yardage.

After entertaining our friends on Saturday, we spent a good portion on Sunday working on the coffered ceiling in the "green" room.  We have all the lines marked on the ceiling and some frame boxes made, but we needed to get them squared up on the ceiling and nailed/screwed in place.  That was the Sunday project that kept me from getting into my sewing room.


This next view you can see some of the boxes on the edge as well as the marks on the ceiling showing where all the pieces intersect.


Finally a picture showing the edge of the green room into the dining room. 


Our big purchase for 2013 will be to get a "real" dining room table.  We've figured out we need to be able to have close to 100" of dining length for our families to sit and eat.  What we haven't quite figured out is whether we want to get a solid table 100" long and its permanently set that long, or if we want to do one that has leaves to extend to the necessary 100" length.

I'm hoping this coming week won't be as crazy (or depressing) as the last week.  Here's my plan:
1. Quilt one additional square on Lone Star.
2. Cut and piece 2 Bento Box blocks.
3. Post photo of needlepoint.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stashbusting 2013 - Week 4

Some sewing has been going on this past week, but not a lot to show in terms of progress.  I used a bit more stash making more blocks for the Bento Box quilt.


I've also been slowly making progress on the Lone Star quilt.  All the corners are now marked and two of them are quilted.  I'd like to be a little further along on this, but my free time (outside work) has been split between quilting and helping to build a coffered ceiling.  I'm hoping to be able to spend some time today quilting since I don't have to do any laundry or grocery shopping and dinner is already in the slow-cooker. :-)


Here are my numbers

Added This Week:       0.00 yards
Added Year to Date:    0.00 yards
Used This Week:          0.42 yards
Used Year to Date:       0.56 yards
Net Year to Date:         0.56 yards

Go on over to Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Slow....but Steady

Progress on the quilting front has been slow lately.  I've been able to do a little bit here and there, but there hasn't been a whole lot to show.  I've been able to fit in sewing every now and then between other things around the house and work.  My work has been difficult again lately.  It seems to go in waves and the peaks of the waves are getting higher and lasting longer unfortunately. 

I was finally able to finish marking all of the corner squares for the Lone Star quilt.  I'm progressing through the quilting of the marked lines, but its pretty slow going.  From the areas that I have quilted and removed the marks, it will be worth it in the end. :-)


I also did a little bit of sewing for the Bento Box quilt.  Here are some of the strips of fabrics that will be used in the quilt.  I wanted to show some the detail of the purples and greens that will be in the quilt.


I have four strips completely sewn and into the Bento Box pattern.  I will mix it up a bit more in terms of which strips will pair up in the sets of four blocks, but this is what I have so far.


I hope everyone else is have a great week and you can get plenty of sewing done!  I'm hoping to get a bit done tonight and then a nice sewing "fest" on Friday evening while hubby is out rock climbing with some buddies.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, January 21, 2013

Make-A-List Monday

This past weekend was setup to be a great weekend for getting sewing done....and then other things got in the way!  :-)

We found out a friend of ours who is moving is unable to take their pool table with them.  So for about half the price of a new table, we can get a pool table moved into the house and re-felted.  Our friend is moving around the end of March, so we now have a deadline for our coffered ceiling.

Saturday I was able to do a little sewing while my in-laws were up to help with the ceiling.  I also got the laundry done; however, the rest of the weekend was mainly spent working on the ceiling.

Here's my list from last week:
1. Mark and quilt at least one additional corner square on Lone Star. Partially done.  All four corner squares are marked, but I only got one partially quilted.
2. Post an updated picture of the needlepoint. I forgot to take a picture of the needlepoint, so it will have to wait until next week.
3. Sew next three blocks for the Bento Box quilt.  DONE!  I actually got this done, but no pictures off the camera yet.  Sheesh!  :-)
4. Order backing material for Wildflower Fields.  Not done.  I haven't been able to decide whether I want to go for "el-cheapo" fabric for the back, or to go with something nice.  Any suggestions?


 So here's the plan for this coming week:
1. Quilt 2 corner squares for Lone Star.
2. Post needlepoint picture.
3. Sew 4 blocks for the Bento Box quilt.
4. Order backing material for Wildflower Fields.

Happy Crafting!

~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, January 14, 2013

Make-A-List Monday

How did it get to be Monday again?  Somehow its already the middle of January and I'm not quite sure how that happened!

I did make a bit of progress this past week on things I had wanted to complete. Here was last week's list:

1. Post a picture of my progress on my needlepoint.  The "page" shown below is actually completed now.  I'm on to page 9...of 42.


2. Finish quilting the straight lines in all four triangles. Done.  All four triangles have the straight-line quilting done.


3. Start quilting the straight lines in the corner squares (4 total).  Done!  I finished quilting one of the four corner squares. 


4. Pair up white strips and batiks for a Bento Box quilt. Done.  All strips paired up and I made one block.  I also cut fabric for the next 3 blocks.



So I made a lot of progress this past week.  I don't know if I'll be able to keep it up this coming week.  We also made progress on a house project we've been working on.  We want to put a coffered ceiling into one of our rooms, but we've been struggling with how to put something square into a non-square room.  Below is a picture of what we kind of want to do. 

By the end of Sunday, we had figured out how to make it square and snapped some reference lines onto the ceiling.  The next step is going to be to buy some wood that we need to use to put the "boxes" on the ceiling and measure the thickness of the wood so we place everything correctly.

My plans for the coming week are:
1. Mark and quilt at least one additional corner square on Lone Star.
2. Post an updated picture of the needlepoint.
3. Sew next three blocks for the Bento Box quilt.
4. Order backing material for Wildflower Fields.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stashbusting 2013 - Week 2

First stash report of the year for me since I missed last week.  I've been doing a fair amount of quilting, but its detailed quilting on a quilt and not using much fabric.  I did start another project (not that I need another one), but its using fabric completely from the its good, right?  :-)

Here's what I've been quilting.  This is a close-up on a triangle section.  This same pattern is used in four larger squares, which I'm in the process of quilting right now.  Its a lot of starts and stops, which always increases the amount of time to actually quilt something.



This is the fabric for the new project.  Its a jelly roll I bought last year in green and purple batiks.  The white is a sparkly white fabric that I had in my stash from a little over a year ago.


Before cutting all the strips, I wanted to make sure everything would work out, so I just cut the fabric for a single block.


And the finished product.  I have to fix the seam on the top right block, but I think it came out well.  Now I can start doing the other blocks.


In the meantime, I've been doing some needlepoint during the evening while watching TV.  Its relaxing for me and the end picture is awesome.


Here's a close-up of the section I'm working on now.


So here are my numbers for the first part of 2013...

Added This Week:       0.00 yards
Added Year to Date:    0.00 yards
Used This Week:          0.14 yards
Used Year to Date:       0.14 yards
Net Year to Date:         0.14 yards

Go on over to Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Make-A-List Monday

Happy New Year to everyone in Blog Land!  I know I'm a little bit late, but that seems to be how its going to be this coming year!

I'm a little overdue for my Make-A-List Monday post.  I guess its good that I've been doing some sewing though. :-)

I came down with a cold just after Christmas and I'm still fighting it off, but I've felt a little bit better the last few days.  I've been doing a lot of this with the kitty. :-)


Looks comfy doesn't she?  Just to the right...that flat, white-ish surface... is the hearth to our wood-burning fireplace.  As soon as we get the fire going, she plops herself in front of it and starts to snooze.  I don't blame her... its what I want to do whenever we have the fire going, too!

I have been able to get some quilting done when I can pull myself away from the fireplace (I've been doing a bit of needlepoint since I can sit myself right near the fireplace and do it).  This is a picture from last week, but I do have more done.  There are four of these triangles that have to be marked and quilted with the walking foot.  I'm completely done with three of them and the fourth is almost done.  Then its on to quilting the large corner squares using the same motif.


So here's my plan for the up-coming week:
1. Post a picture of my progress on my needlepoint.
2. Finish quilting the straight lines in all four triangles.
3. Start quilting the straight lines in the corner squares (4 total).
4. Pair up white strips and batiks for a Bento Box quilt.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Happy Crafting!

~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ultimate Cuteness

I couldn't help myself the other night.  We had the fireplace going (since it was going down to a low of -13F) and Ellie was really enjoying the fireplace.  As I was sitting and doing some needlepoint, I couldn't help but take a few pictures of her asleep in front of the fireplace.

When Ellie sleeps, she usually curls up into the tightest ball possible.  Not in front of the fireplace though... she sprawls out and absorbs as much heat as she can from the fire. :-)


The funniest part was that she was actually dreaming while she was asleep.  I've never seen her dream before, but her paws and tail were occasionally flicking like she was chasing something. 


I have been doing a little bit of sewing and was able to mark the 3rd of 4 triangles on the Lone Star quilt last night.  I'm hoping to get all the triangles done by the end of the weekend.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to Work

Today is my first day back at work since December 18th.  The time off was would have been better if I didn't get sick starting on the 27th.  I'm still sick now and only managed to get about 3 hours of sleep last night.  Thankfully, today is pretty quiet still as folks are still trickling back into the office and there aren't a lot of meetings yet.

I thought I'd do a quick post on the happenings around here and some quilty items.

First off, its been very cold in upstate NY the past week or so and we've been using our fireplace a lot!  Hubby and I aren't the only ones enjoying it.  Our cat, Ellie, hasn't moved more than 2 feet from the fireplace the entire time that we've had it running.  In the photo below, she's curled up in front of it, but she usually is sprawled out between the blue plastic bin (for carting wood into the house) and the Amazon box (holds newspaper to start the fires).  I really need to get a picture of her sleeping in front of the fireplace as it is very cute.


With being sick, I didn't really have the energy to get up to my sewing room and work with the machine or rotary cutter (not a good idea to use a very sharp object when doped up on cold medicine).  So I've been spending some time working on my needlepoint.


I've been working on it for about 14 months now and this is how far I've gotten.  That top row.... that's one row of 7...that's right... seven!  It will take me something like 6 years to get this puppy done.  It will look good when its done though.


I did manage to finish hand-sewing the binding on a charity quilt for my guild.  I'll be able to drop it off at the next guild meeting.


On the day or two that I was feeling a little better, I did venture up to my sewing room to do some quilting on the Lone Star wall hanging.  Since there was a lot of SID (stitch in ditch) quilting that I needed to do, I decided to just baste it on my quilting frame and do all the detail work on my smaller machine.  I marked out the straight line quilting with a blue water-soluble pen and a ruler, then used my walking foot to get the nice straight lines.


The larger sections that don't have any quilting in them yet will be filled with a free-motion filler...something like McTavishing or pebbles.  I also plan on breaking up the squares on the outer border with doing a micro-filler in every other square.  So far I have two of the four triangle sections quilted.  It takes about 2-3 hours to mark each section, quilt it and then rinse out the marks (I just spray the sections lightly and use a cotton swab to get the moisture to the edges where the colored fabrics are --- don't want to risk fabrics bleeding).


Depending upon how this cold does this week, I'd like to get at least the other two triangles marked and quilted.  I'd love to start on the four larger corner squares, too.  The corner squares will have the same type motif as the triangles, but you'll be able to see a full Lone Star in those blocks whereas the triangles only show half of the Lone Star.

I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with the Lone Star in the middle.  I've seen people do simple SID to outline each of the triangles and I've also seen free-motion curves between the points of the triangles.  I'm not sure what exactly I want to I'm avoiding it for the time being.  Any suggestions are welcome!  :-)

Have a great week!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations