We're here! We flew in tonight, grabbed dinner at Cranberry Cafe, and checked out Times Square and Forever 21 before crashing at the hotel. I'm exhausted!
I saw this Singer on display at Forever 21 and had to take a picture. While I'm here I'll be on the hunt for the store that has a wall to wall window display of antique Singers! (The picture quality's awful, hopefully my iphone will take better pictures in the daylight.)
If I had it my way, I'd spend all of my time making handmade gifts for friends and family, for birthdays, Christmas, and sometimes just because! Unfortunately, real life tends to get in the way. But I did get to make one thing for a new grad. school friend!
He SAVED MY LIFE one day when I left my brown folder (that just happened to have a lot of IMPORTANT papers in it) on a chair outside the Ferguson Center. While I was at home having a heart attack, he walked over and found it for me. :) And since he's always wearing a Superman t-shirt...
I dubbed him Superman. :)
(Doesn't his ornament look so weird hanging on my girly tree? LOL)
I'm officially done with my first semester of graduate school!!! I just finished writing the conclusion to my last final paper, a seminar paper for my eighteenth-century class. I've already emailed my Teaching Comp. final, and I'll turn in the other two tomorrow morning. Phew!!! I've never been done with finals before Finals Week actually started! It's a nice feeling!
Here are a few pictures to contextualize my grad. school experience. :)
These are only the librarybooks, for one paper. :)
This is the most practical use they were put to. (The picture quality is horrible, so like a good English major, I'll describe it in words. "A leaning tower of books, of exactly the right height to allow my laptop to be level with the printer in my entertainment center.") Don't judge my prose, I just spent 7 hours finishing a paper about letters in the eighteenth-century novel. The fact that I'm still writing in Standard English qualifies as a miracle. Seriously, tell the Pope.
Wait, where are the rest of the pictures? Oh yeah, I was too busy writing to take any. :)
I haven't gotten much in the way of craftiness done around here, but I did at least get my Christmas tree set up! Finally!!!
Now, I have very specific tastes when it comes to Christmas trees (and Christmas in general). I dream of an old-fashioned, classic Christmas. Think White Christmas and Irving Berlin. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, red mittens, and hot cocoa. All that jazz. Unfortunately, my apartment is a little small for the genuine Christmas tree of my dreams (plus I couldn't blackmail any male friends into dragging one up the stairs for me :) so I'll have to make do.
And it's probably the first of many. So fun and quick to make!
It took exactly one jelly roll strip to bind a 9x9 in doll quilt. How handy. :)
I've never tried pinning down the binding before as I sew it down by hand, but I did this time and I was amazed at how much easier it was! Usually my hands ache after sewing down the binding, but I'm typing away and they're fine. :)
There are the most amazing doll quilt swaps on flickr, so inspirational! Maybe one day I'll feel skilled enough to join in. :)
I had a nice, lazy day today, but somewhere in the middle of it I started feeling a little productive. I don't really know how it happened, but suddenly I was motivated to finish that dratted piano key border on nephew's baby quilt. So... I did!
Not only that, but I kept going and prepared the batting and backing...
and then I quilted that sucker!!! That's the great thing about baby quilts, once you sit down to do it, everything goes so quickly!
I was very brave and tried some free motion quilting. It's not perfect, but hopefully I'll keep improving. :)
To combat imperfection, I decided to quilt some "purposefully" imperfect squiggles down the seams and in the borders. I kind of like it!!!
And since nephew gets a quilt, I think niece should too. :) And if I can find the time to put a binding on this mini quilt, she'll have an almost matching one for her Barbie dolls. :)
I got my hair cut!!! I love it, and it's so much easier to deal with now that it's a little bit shorter. It doesn't show up very well in the picture, but it's actually more of a honey blonde with warmer tones, I was ready for a change. :)
It's been all grad school, all the time, but I did have time to make another Chocolate Stack Loaf last night while I was watching Sons of Anarchy. (I couldn't tell you why that's one of my favorite TV shows, it just is.)
My reading list suggestion for the day is Evelina by Frances Burney. I'm reading it again for EN 674 and it's so hilarious. If you have time I highly recommend picking up a copy.
P.S. I notice that I've had quite a few visitors lately, from all over. I'd love it if you'd leave me a quick comment, it would be so nice to know who's visiting!
I needed a creative outlet today, so after relaxing for a while at home I started surfing my google reader to see what was going on in blogland. I have a few quilting/sewing blogs that I love to follow (maybe I'll list them at the bottom of this post) and I found this awesome Ruffled Rosette Pillow at the Moda Bake Shop.
I wasn't sure though, that I wanted to commit all of my brand new jelly roll strips to the project before knowing how it would turn out, so I decided to make a mini pillow to test it out.
I made all of this up on the fly.
I didn't have any elastic thread on hand, so I improvised with some embroidery floss that I zigzagged over, then tugged on the ends to create the gathers.
I did use the Ruffled Rosette Pillow tutorial to make the rosette and attach it to the striped top.
I ran out of purple right as I got to the center, so I decided to add a fun burst of orange!
Wait, what's that color I hate again? Oh yeah...
Kind of liking the finished product. Definitely nixing the orange next time though.
It could use some work, but for a test product, not bad!
Posie Gets Cozy (sewing and crafting, also some great recipes if you look closely)
So I realized at 5:28 this morning that I was absolutely NOT going to be able to trick myself into going back to sleep. Accordingly (and begrudgingly), I seized the opportunity of catching up on my reading for the day. Luckily, Pamela was next to me (yes, I sleep with my books, at least it's not a teddy bear... Who am I kidding, I sleep with Mr. Bear too) so by 6 a.m. I had finished and even gone beyond the reading assigned for today!
Welcome back, productivity. I missed you.
The high was almost too much for me, so I hopped out of bed, grabbed my binder of articles for the same class, and read McKeon's "Historicizing Patriarchy," which amazingly did NOT put me back to sleep (it must be noted that I returned to bed to read, so really double kudos to me). I even notated it with ideas for the article review that I have to write by Thursday. Woohoo!
By now, it's 7:45, and I think to myself, "Hey self! Get your run out of the way!" Because yes, I have given in and started training for a 5K. Appropriately, it's the Crimson Couch to 5K Initiative that the Wellness Department initiated for overweight faculty and staff.
I especially needed to run today, since last night I ate this.
And now I'm telling you all about it on my blog, after which I fully intend to go and continue being productive!
So my shiny new grad school friends are coming over today for a stitch'n'bitch. Excitement!!!
Entertaining is my favorite thing.
I should have been 22 in the 50's.
Instead, it's 2010. That's okay.
Since my friends are coming over I decided to try a new recipe! Conveniently, I had all of the ingredients for Chocolate Stack Loaf in my pantry! I ran down the road to Michael's for parchment paper and I was in business.
And it all started out so well!
Lovely, smooth cake that released instantly from the pan thanks to the parchment paper.
Yummy icing (if maybe a little lumpy, but it's chocolate, so I'll take it!)
And then, DISASTER STRUCK!!!
The cake broke apart as I cut it into three sections, iced, and stacked. :( The top layer slid all the way off!!!
So this is the final result. And this is the "pretty picture." It's best side, so to speak. Oh, well. It does taste delicious. We just need to work on aesthetics.
I rebelled against the readings last night and got creative. :) It's been so long since I've been able to sew anything that I decided to make a spur of the moment mini-quilt. I've wanted to try making a doll quilt for a while now, so I hauled out a few sewing supplies and got started.
I paper pieced each of the blocks (found the pattern online for free) and used up scraps from a bright, fun kids quilt that I made a year or two ago.
I was so happy with it, right up until I decided that I didn't want to get out the other (heavier) sewing machine to quilt it and decided to try zipping a few lines of quilting over the top with the regular quarter inch foot. Quilt in haste, repent at leisure. It was so sad. My pretty, brightly colored blocks are now a bit wonky and crooked looking. If I were a better, more conscientious craftswoman I would pick out every single stitch and redo it until it was perfect! No crooked, sad little project would leave my workstation, no way!
Alas, I am not that craftswoman. So instead, I'll send it to someone that I know will love it, crooked, misbegotten seams and all.
I'll whip on a binding and send it to E (since she was so appreciative of her teddy bear, sweet girl!) and she can use it for a little doll (or bear) quilt.
In other news, some guy came around my apartment trying to sell magazine prescriptions this afternoon, and while I'm sure he truly was a hard working student with dreams of traveling to Italy, I was cold of heart enough to turn him down. I dislike being disturbed in my fortress of solitude.