Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Trotting

I'm back in Pennsylvania after a fantastic time in Ohio and Michigan. And lots of time in the car in the last 7 days.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but every time I drive out of state, I drive in rain. Every. Single. Time. I guess its better than snow.

But my time at home was pretty relaxing, with lots of time spent hanging with my family and lots of time digging through my mom's scrap bin and sewing and hitting up quilt stores. Look at what I collected for my civil war quilt stash!



I collected the leftover fabric from one of my sister's projects to use for my own project. I bought two patterns from Cluck Cluck Sew on Black Friday when patterns were half off! I got the Seville and Basket Case patterns and I am going to use the fabric left over from her floral wall hanging for the Seville pattern. I am pretty excited.



I also have been making a large pile of snowball blocks of pinks, blues, and purples. I was originally just going to use them as snowballs, but I have been having some other ideas related to what the colors remind me of, but I don't want to give it away just yet. But I think I have almost a hundred of them. Winning!



Today was my first day back at the lab and we were all working on a grant proposal but now I'm home, making homemade meatballs. Yum!

Hope you are all recovering from your Thanksgiving festivities! Less than 30 days to Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Five #14: Black Friday Project Round Up

Did you survive your Black Friday excursions? Did you hear about the lady who pepper sprayed everyone at Wal-Mart? Hope you survived.

My mom, sister, and I went to the Vera Bradley emporium at one of the nearby jewelry stores. I found nothing. I am a failure. We then went to the mall and hit a few department stores and I was the only one who got anything. Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch made me fantastically happy because I am approximately 3 hours from one at school. 

But it's Friday so we'll do project-round up for everybody at home.

1. Sister: Binding
My sister has two quilts that need binding sew on and bound. This one is gigantic:

This one is a wall hanging:


2. Sister: Planning
She's also planning to make a Secret Window mystery quilt (although there is little mystery anymore) using these batiks:


3. Me: Sew that together, girl!
My Secret Window is still just blocks in piles.


Mom's is done, quilted, and bound. Overachiever.


4. Mom: Cuddle with me!
Mom is making a flannel quilt. It is to die for cuddly.


5. Me: Digging for gold.
This is the treasure chest (aka mom's scrap bin)

Be still my beating heart. 

Happy Friday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

See you on the flip side!

Tomorrow I'm leaving PA to go to Cleveland to hang out with Park Ranger Boyfriend and his mom until Thursday morning, then I will drive from there to my parents house. So I should really be packing up my car, but instead I'm eating kettle corn and watching How I Met Your Mother.

Saturday is my 5 year high school reunion. I haven't decided if I am excited or apprehensive. But I'm guessing it will end up just like it was in high school -- you talk to the same handful of people the whole time.

Sunday I'll be driving back to PA from MI. Wave at me if you see me and the lil' Cobalt on the road!

So no new sewing tonight. But I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, eat some stuffing for me.


Also, go ahead and judge me. I put my tree up. It hasn't been fluffed or decorated, but I can guarantee I won't have the patience to put it up next week. I feel your judge-y eyes, but I don't care.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Fun-day

Except I should really go into lab at some point today.

Yesterday I continued to admire my place mats. I went to a class in the afternoon at the local quilt shop and learned how to make these super cute napkins:


So now I need to get crackin' on making the rest of them (7 to go!)

Last night, I finished all of my star points, finally.


So then I had  to start getting the stars put together. And I finished them all.


Something I'd like to say about this pattern in general. It may look pretty complicated, but doing it step-by-step definitely breaks it down into manageable sections that even a chemistry graduate student can fit into her schedule. You could really get it done in a matter of days if you really wanted. The matching was a lot easier than I expected as well. I've done a number of projects with an excessive amount of matching, and there was hardly any taking out and restitching. And I'm a huge fan of that.

I laid out all my finished blocks out on my floor and have been admiring it since.


I'm in love.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finished Batik Placemats

Finally! The finished product!!



I am pretty proud of my first machine quilting project, even though all I did was sew straight lines next to the seams. Gotta start somewhere. Next up: gridwork!


Look at this magnificent corner:



And do you ever find that even when you try to make sure your binding seams aren't on the corner they end up on the corner anyways? Oh well.

Hope your Friday sewing went well!

Friday Five #13: Thankful

It's almost time for Thanksgiving! In one week from today, I will be at HOME. Not my apartment. HOME. With my mom, dad, sister, and cats. And ten million people to see while I am at home. My five year high school reunion is also next weekend, so these people will realize that I have gotten 0% cooler since high school. Drat.

Here is what I am thankful for in the last year other than the typical house, family, food, etc. list:

1. Not failing out of grad school.
As much as I complain about it, grad school is a really good gig. I get paid, I live in a usually quiet college town (forgetting the last two weeks, of course), and I have a place of my own where I can be an absolute hot mess until its time to be Mrs. Dr. Suzy Chemist-Homemaker. And I learn a lot about chemistry every day. And I never have to put my sewing machine away. So grad school has been good to me, other than screwing up my stomach's inclining to eat dinner at 5 PM exactly every day (darn you, college!).

2. My new sewing machine
Oh baby. This thing is so quiet. And is so fancy. Granted, I have only managed to straight stitch and zig-zag at this point, but it sews like a dream! It makes me happy as a clam. And makes me want to stay home and sew every day, which is definitely bad. But at least I'm getting my projects done.

3. My new computer
Oh. My. Gosh. I honestly don't know how I survived so long with my old nag of a computer. I can actually check my email in less than a minute. I can actually use SciFinder. And its so much lighter. Life is good.

4. All forms of communication
Skype. Cell phones. Instant messaging. Texts. Letters. Facebook. People, your contact with me keeps me going. So if we haven't talked in a while, I probably would drop everything to talk to you right now. Unless I'm sleeping, then you'd have to wait. Otherwise, I wouldn't keep in touch with anyone. You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

5. Personal responsibility
This is an odd one, but living on my own has forced me to take care of everything myself and I only have myself to blame when the dishes aren't done, when there is dust on my desk, and when all my jeans are dirty (like today). Sure, I wish I had someone to help me out, but I guess its good to try to do all of this at once sometimes because it will make me appreciate not having to do it on my own in the future/how easy I had it until I moved to Pennsylvania. Besides, I have been forced to learn how to cook, which is the biggest accomplishment.

So be thankful for everything. Even the odd things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back in the land of the living...

Yesterday I finished up my NSF application, which was a HUGE weight off of my shoulders.

I spent the rest of the evening as a vegetable watching Alias and Glee.

But I finally have time to do a little progress report from this weekend.

I am working on hand finishing the binding on my place mats.



I am using up stuff from my scrap bag to make scrappy stars for a Christmas garland.



I'm getting close to getting all the points for these stars done.


So, I'm getting there.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear World

Dear readers, people who check out my blog every once in a while, family, and random people from all over the world:

I have been completely overwhelmed by my National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship application.

It's due tomorrow. I had a meeting with my boss today to go over my personal statement, proposal, and previous research experience, and I've scrapped the majority of what I had prior to 4 PM today.

As of right now, I have approximately 20 hours to get it all finished.

We're getting there.

I would appreciate a pile of prayers for this to get done on time and for the people on the panel to really like my application and me as a person and give me this fellowship.

I would also appreciate if someone would bring me a Baja Blast Mountain Dew and a chicken quesadilla from Taco Bell for lunch tomorrow.

I'm going to listen to the Backstreet Boys and do a crossword puzzle and attempt to sleep now.

Also, happy 21st birthday to my Gsmalls.

Love, Alison

PS I'm serious about the Taco Bell.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happiness is...

...finally getting to the apartment office to pick up your new fabric stash.


Tasty.


The tan at the bottom is from the Robert Kaufman Metro Living collection. The gold and brown zig-zag stripe is from Andover fabrics. The scroll is from the Art Gallery fabrics Dashing Roses Collection. The green and brown floral is Pimatex Basics from Robert Kaufman. The red/green herringbone is from Liberty Art.




These are from the Greenfield Hill collection, also Free Spirit.


These are also Pimatex basics.

Happiness is also working on machine quilting my placemats, not going to tailgate today, hopefully going into lab when no one else is around, and having a busy and productive weekend. And of course, being tempted to put up my Christmas tree.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Five #12: Daylight Savings and Other Things That Frustrate

This week has been exhausting.

1. Time change
So we got our extra hour. Except now it gets dark at 5 pm and I am ready to go to bed. I hate daylight savings for this reason and this reason alone. In the summer, I can leave campus at 6:30 and it is still light outside. In the fall and spring, when it gets dark it usually means that it's time to go home. But not so much in the winter. It gets dark here right about 5 PM at the moment. And it's all of a sudden. It's a little dim out for a while and then it is PITCH BLACK. Nature fail.

2. Apartment Maintenance
Yes. I appreciate that you come and insulate my air conditioning unit and all that good stuff. However, when I get the notice of it the day before and I don't get home that day until after 8, I really do not want to pull everything out of my closet, including my Christmas tree, just so you can turn off the breaker to the air conditioning unit. So now my Christmas tree will sit in the middle of the floor until I put it up before I leave to go home for Thanksgiving.

3. Fire Drills
Fire drills come at the most inconvenient times and you end up with 40 odd sorority girls in dresses, heels, and no coats praying for the persnickety buzzer to stop.

4. Evening commitments
I don't know how I managed all my evening commitments as a middle school or high school student. When my day is over, all I want to do is put my PJs on and eat dinner with Alex Trebek or Netflix. When I've had sorority adviser duties 4 days in a row this week, I'm a tired little bunny. How did I get through 3 hours of play practice every weeknight for weeks? It's heck getting older. Or in my case, it's heck becoming an old lady at 23 years old.

5. Baby, It's COLD Outside!
I'm a spring/summer person. I like to wear my sweaters, my boots with the fur, and watching it snow. But no matter what, when I am outside, I am always, invariably cold. In addition, the chemistry building is UBER cold most of the time. I never came to work in shorts all summer other than one Saturday. I will start wearing leggings under my pants in the next few days. I dislike air conditioning for the most part, and this causes controversy with certain houseguests at my apartment. So forgive me if I don't want to go tailgate in the snow, I probably will get frostbite.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Back

I spent my extra hour sewing.

Duh.

I've made a lot of progress on my Secret Window quilt!

Friday I finished part one and started some of the cutting before I realized that it was way too late to be using a rotary cutter. Yesterday, I made all of my four patch + half square triangle diamond-looking blocks. You start with your four patches:


...and then you make them all fancy-like with the triangles:


Forgive me for not trimming them up yet.

I am halfway done making the star points:



Note to self: Do not like templates and cutting. Must learn to foundation piece.

Although I didn't really want to foundation piece this, as it would use more fabric and I am going to see if I can squeeze out enough of the tan and white print to make the quilt square instead of rectangular. We'll see.

So the goal of the week is therefore to finish up all my star points and put the star blocks together. The uber goal would be to also get the whole quilt top done. Like that's gonna happen.

Happy Sunday to you all!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cutting at Midnight

Last night on an impulse, I started my Secret Window mystery quilt from Quiltmaker magazine. These are the fabrics that I am using:


The pattern is split up into three parts. I got the entire part one completed last night and started working on part two! Here are the finished blocks from part one:

Corner blocks:


These are the edge blocks:


And finally the four-patches:


I'm really excited with how things are turning out so far. Everything but the green and white print and the peacock print are from coordinates from the same line, but these two fit in really well with the rest.

The next step is making half-square triangles to attach to the four patches to make the diamond-y squares (look at the finished picture, you'll understand) and the star points.

I've also been watching the first season of SNL on Netflix. Oh the bees! Got all my grocery shopping done this morning, so I can play today and work on my Fellowship applications tomorrow. And I need to cook. After polishing off all of the leftovers from when my parents were here last weekend, I realized I had zero to eat in the fridge other than pickles and shredded mozzarella cheese, so I need to cook today too.

Have a wonderful Saturday! And come over for tacos!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Five #11: No Shave November

So here we are. It's November, how did that happen.

Here's what's on my plate this month:

1. Finishing up my fellowship proposal and group research proposal
Money for my research = PhD and me not getting fired = winning

2. GOING HOME FOR THANKSGIVING
I'm so pumped. You don't even understand.

3. Finishing up my X's and O's quilt
All I really need to do is sash the blocks together. That's it!


4. Finishing up my snowflakes
Because its almost winter! And it needs to get finished. Duh.


5. Further exploration on the new machine. 
I can't wait to try all the new features of my new Magnolia! WIN!


I hope your Fridays are full of win too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Look at all this win!

Last night, I trimmed the tops of the placemats.

Then I cut my backings.

Then I cut my battings.

Then I layered all four of them.

And basted two of the four.

Tonight, I will baste the remaining two.



This means that once I get a little stitching done on them, I will have accomplished my goal for the week! Reaching goals = awesome. So that means I can move on to my "uber goal" of getting the binding done on them as well. Which is actually attainable because I have a walking foot now.

Also. Big congrats to my sister who presented her Senior Thesis presentation at school today! I wish I could have been there!

So have a wonderful Tuesday evening in a candy coma.

UPDATE: It is 8:45 PM and basting = complete. Win win win win win win win wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.
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