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Friday, October 31, 2008

Super Fast Super Saver Shipping

So I've already mentioned that I ordered my Kindle Monday night. When I got my confirmation, it was estimated to ship on November 3. Already I was kicking myself for choosing that method because I'd have to wait so long for it. But Wednesday night I got a shipping notice. The tracking status was "billing info received" so I assumed that it would hopefully ship on Thursday and I might receive it by November 3.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I checked my tracking status Thursday morning and found that it was Out for Delivery! I checked throughout the day, but that was still the status when I left work for the day. As I was pulling up to the house, I saw the cute little box with the Amazon smile sitting on my front porch.

As for wrapping it and saving for christmas - out the door. I get to enjoy it NOW, and C is perfectly fine with that. After all, I had to make certain that everything is okay and it's registered and all that. :)

Here is my Kindle, all snugged up in its little holder (the one that comes with it standard). Now I've read all of the opinions about this holder and was prepared to dislike it, but I don't. It's actually a better quality than I expected, and my Kindle snapped into it and doesn't feel like it's going to fall out like a lot of people have mentioned. This may be just a fluke, or maybe they have improved them just a bit, I don't know, but unless it loosens up over time, I think I'll be fine with it.

It comes in this neat white box that opens like a book. I read through the getting started guide that comes up as soon as you turn it on, and tried out everything. It didn't take long before I got to the registering your Kindle and shopping online part. I hit a slight snag here, because even though I had 2-4 bars of connectivity, I kept getting an error that I couldn't connect to the network. I kept trying for about 45 minutes, and finally gave in and called customer service. As I sat on hold, I continued to try to connect. Wouldn't you know, when my call finally got picked up, the Kindle connected and registered and downloaded my 3 books I had ordered the night before (extremely fast), so I told the CSR (a little sheepishly) that my problem was resolved and I didn't need their help after all. I suppose I should have just been a teensy bit more patient. :)

I browsed the store from the Kindle a bit, but I couldn't decide what else to buy next, so I just got a couple of books' sample first chapters (for free). There are so many things I want to read, but I'm going to try to be judicious and buy only what I plan to read next. Of course, I've been making a list that seems like a mile long.

To save battery life I turned off the wireless then and I started reading my first book, one which I haven't read before (I purchased 2 other books which will be re-reads because I enjoyed them so much), To Ride Pegasus by Anne McCaffrey. It works just like they described - the Kindle disappears and you are in the story, just the way a paper book disappears when you are reading it. I think that was one of my biggest concerns when I initially read about the Kindle nearly a year ago. I know that reading on a computer screen or a PDA just isn't fun, at least for me. I do it because I have to. When I found out why that is (the backlighting of the screen causes eyestrain), and that the Kindle is not backlit, I was more encouraged.

When I decided to purchase, I was excited. As it got closer, I got more excited. Now that I've actually used it, I'm thrilled! It is easier to read in bed (yes, I tried it last night - fortunately C sleeps with his eyes closed so the light from my lamp doesn't bother him). It is lighter than even most paperback books. It remembers where I left off, even if I go out of the book and into another book or online shopping.

Someone on the Kindle discussion board on Amazon's site described it as her "precious" like Gollum. I've got to admit, that description fits mine pretty well right now. :)

And one final picture that has nothing to do with a Kindle - an update on Autumn Leaves, upper right square finished:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A little Christmas present online ordering

I did it. I went ahead and ordered my Christmas present for this year. When it comes in I have to wrap it up so I can unwrap it Christmas Day. The wait will likely be excruciating, but it will be worth it. What is it? An Amazon Kindle! Ooh, I am SO looking forward to it! I've been getting closer and closer to the edge for a while, and with Annette's enthusiastic response to it plus the $50 OPRAHWINFREY discount (through Nov. 1), I went right over that edge and bought it. The technology looks really cool, and I love to read, just haven't done as much lately (though I still listen to audiobooks at a pace of about 1 a month - just downloaded Eragon and started listening in the car on the way to work this morning). If I want I can also listen to them on the Kindle. And several books I like reading over and over are really cheap (like, $1.25 each) and won't take up anywhere near as much space in my house.

Here is a progress pic of Autumn Leaves from Sunday. I have been working on the upper right corner since then and it's nearly half-finished now!

I also cleaned off my cutting/work table in the craft room this weekend, so I can actually use it when I need to. It feels much better when I go in there now. I worked a little more on Noel's Gone Fishing quilt (I'm slowly getting those log cabin strips pieced for side 2). Of course, I can't work on it tonight because it's Game Night and both he and Hollywood will be over for that. Not sure what I'll work on, maybe I'll read! ;-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Just in time for Halloween, Nora Corbett's Halloween Fairy (aka Trick or Treat Fairy, though she seems to have no wings) is finished!

And after I finished her, I ran back to the craft room and picked up a chart I've been wanting to start ever since I bought it. It doesn't have many colors and is fairly small: Autumn Leaves by The Prairie Schooler (which is actually 2 charts). I'm stitching the little one on the right that has a design in each of 4 squares - owl, blackbird, deer/fawn, and pumpkin. I picked a piece of 25 ct. pearl linen from my stash. I just think it's cute, different from my recent stitching, and it seems appropriate for this time of year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Appliqué project started

My felted wool order arrived in the mail last Tuesday, and I immediately got to work making my pattern pieces (I had to go get some freezer paper). Then I got started ironing and cutting. The Dream a Little Dream project does have a little bit of piecing, so I had already gotten that part ready to cut into the pattern shapes. Since then I've worked a little on it, cutting all of the wool felt pieces and some of the regular cotton pieces. You should see my craft room, it looks as if a storm has blown through. Well, here, I'll just show you.

On the table: upper left, felted wool for this quilt sitting atop fabric strips for Noel's Gone Fishing 2nd set of blocks; upper middle, fabrics for Tori's Hexagon Beads in the plastic container, which is covered by rulers, freezer paper, and appliqué instructions; upper right, spray starch, then a pile of completed blocks for Noel's Gone Fishing quilt, covered up by a quilting "toolbox", more rulers, more freezer paper; lower right, the appliqué pattern for this quilt; lower middle, some of this project's fabric pieces almost ready to appliqué, along with some additional fabric to be cut; lower left, more fabric pieces to be cut for the upper left area of this project. I really do need to be better about not mixing supplies for all of the projects that are in-progress!

I've also pieced together the block of the month for October, the Ohio Star. Just two more months to go on it. It's hard to believe we are so close to the end of the year. I know I shouldn't be surprised, because it started turning cooler here this week. It just seems to sneak up on me sooner and sooner each year.

I've also been working on some Christmas gifts - some more of those fingerless gloves. I've finished one set and am halfway finished with a second set. I can finish a set in about two days, so they don't take a huge commitment of my time.

And I'm getting closer to finishing Trick or Treat Fairy, but [probably because I haven't devoted much time to her this month] she's taking much longer than I anticipated. I've spent several days just working on the little pumpkins down near her feet (and they're still not finished yet). I still think that I can finish her before Halloween though.

Alas, I don't have as much time to devote to all my projects this week because it's back-to-work (last week was a short week because of our staycation Monday and Tuesday). I'm ready for the next one!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Well, it took two whole days...

... but I've finished the backsack! I would have finished it a little earlier today, but I had problems interpreting the instructions, which could either be the instructions or me. I had to read them over several times at each step, and a couple of different times, I ended up ripping out stitches (quite a few, and quite irritating).

Anyhoo, I like how it turned out. I LOVE the fabrics. I'll probably make some more, perhaps for the nieces and nephews.

More pictures available on My Backsack page.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Machine Quilting and Trapunto with Paula Reid

Yesterday I attended an all day workshop with Paula Reid. She was fabulous, and I learned a technique to do trapunto without all the cutting, stuffing, and re-stitching that you have to do in the original method. I've got my piece half-finished, and it really pops out when you do all the tiny stippling around it.

I got to practice a lot of free motion machine quilting on a Bernina with the Stitch Regulator (BSR), and I have to say that I don't like it, which makes my wallet really happy. Maybe it's because I started out doing the free motion on a machine without it, so I've started developing a rhythm with the foot pedal and my hand movement. I couldn't even work it at first because I didn't understand that when you turn the BSR on, the foot pedal becomes basically an on-off button with no speed control attached to it. The speed comes from how fast you move the fabric with your hands. I know that a lot of people love it, but I've decided it's definitely not for me, because even though it puts the control in my hands, it seems to take do the opposite. The one thing that I did like about the Bernina was the knee lift for the presser foot. I know my mother has really enjoyed that feature on her machine, and I can see how one could get used to that convenience quickly.

The store that hosted the workshop (and lecture and trunk show with Paula that evening) offered us a generous 25% discount on just about everything in the store, and though they didn't have a lot of fabric, I managed to find some that I think will be perfect for my "Easy Breezy Backsack" pattern from Lizzie B Cre8ive. Wasn't it fortunate I had looked at the pattern requirements before I drove over for the class?

I've just started working on that backsack this morning, and plan to work on it some more this afternoon after I get back from picking up my block of the month. I usually go get it on Saturday, but since the Castle Heights Homecoming begins Saturday morning, I'd rather not have to rush around before heading to that. I also need to pick up some grosgrain ribbon for my backsack, so I'll try to get that on my way back home. These are the fabrics I chose.

I'm so glad to be on vacation!

Friday, October 03, 2008


The new flannels I ordered for Noel's Gone Fishing came in and are definitely different shades, especially the charcoal. But I think this will work just fine, and I've already finished sewing the charcoal strips to the blocks. I'm cutting out the light khaki now. Once I finish those I'll begin piecing the blocks for the reverse side.

My order from Superior Threads came in (one spool of King Tut I plan to use on my Cotton Theory quilt which is kitted but not started yet, two spools of Rainbows just because they are so pretty, and the Vanish water soluble thread needed for my workshop on Wednesday).

And my order from LizzieB Cre8tive arrived yesterday. I didn't realize that the pattern calls for pieces of felted wool, but now I can see that that is part of what drew me to the design, so I'll have to get some (I have no wool whatsoever in my stash - something else to add, eh?). The pattern is Dream a Little Dream. I think it really is cute, and I'm looking forward to getting started on it. I've recently wanted to try some appliqué, and this pattern really appealed to me in that sense too. I think it's big enough to give me a good feel for appliqué, but it's not so big that I can't finish it if I find that appliqué is not for me after all.

I worked some on the T-shirt quilt this week. I've been working on hand-quilting the sashing strips to stabilize the quilt blocks, and on Tuesday I decided to attempt to machine quilt one of the stabilized blocks. It worked! And I am very pleased with how it looks, which is fantastic compared to the machine quilting I had attempted before in one of the sashing strips (and which I had to rip out). I changed my bobbin tension a little in addition to using Paula Reid's "Fluff & Stuff" method for machine quilting. I also decided on the quilting pattern that I will use in many of the blocks, a modified rectangular meandering. Here are a couple of photos showing that, front and back.

I also finished my thread sampler from the workshop with Sue Nickels. I decided to hang it on the wall above my sewing machine. In the center of each circle, I wrote down the thread that was used so the reference is really useful.

Mom stopped by after work this afternoon and brought me some yummy brown sugar and cinnamon bread, so I'm going to go toast a piece and browse through the Autumn Keepsake Quilting catalog. We have finally figured out how to get me a copy - my mom had it sent to HER at HER house. Then, after she read it front to back and back to front, she brought it to me. Where there's a will, there's a way!