Sunday, September 25, 2011

My First Swap Ever: Ready to Post!

       I recently "took the plunge" and entered my first swap ever.  It was a wonderful [international] swap, hosted by Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting  Each participant was assigned two partners, for which we had to make a Mug Rug and a small Goodie.  There were about 69 participants-- many very seasoned, and quite a number of first-timers.  It was great fun-- sharing Flickr photos, reading the ensuing discussions (the ladies in the group had quite a sense of humor) and I stretched outside of my comfort zone to create items that I hope are of decent quality, and to my partners' liking(s).
    Here's Partner 1's package, ready to go:
It contains this "goodie":  ( a fabric covered notepad)

The idea for the fabric-covered notebook came from this magazine:

And this is the mug rug for the same partner: [shown in my last post]

I always like to include my "signature" personal touch: an origami crane with a bead, for hanging

Here's Partner 2's package:
with this "goodie"

and this mug rug (my very first):  [also shown in my last post]

and I attempted to color-coordinate the origami crane:
   I will send the packages off to my partners on Monday.  I hope they like them!  In the next few weeks, I can look forward to receiving my 2 mug rugs and goodies from whoever my partners are (and I am totally clueless about their identities).
Have a great Sunday, all!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ebb & Flow

   I've been a little quiet lately.  Not feeling too great.  But such is life-- it ebbs and flows, especially when you have a chronic depressive condition, as I do.  
   Postpartum isn't the technically correct term for it at this point (especially since my son will be turning 4 in just over month).  It's called Dysthymia, which is not a term most people are familiar with.  If you are interested in understanding a little bit better what dysthymia is, here is a link that describes it very well-- and includes a couple great quotes from Goethe and A.A. Milne (Pooh/Eeyore).  Right now I have a case of "double depression" in which I'm going through a period of major depression (which happens with us dysthymic people from time to time).  So I'm laying low until I can pull myself out of this.
   But enough about my state of mood.  Since my blog is titled "Postpartum Quilter", I did/do feel a certain sense of obligation to share and educate about that aspect, rather than retreating in a hole, (which is my true preference, at the moment).
   But let me not forget that the second part of my blog title is "Quilter" and I have been doing a some quilting these last few weeks as part of my very first swap.  Cindy across the sea at Fluffy Sheep Quilting has organized a wonderful Mug Rug & Goodie Swap.  Check out the Flicker photostream to see the amazing things that people are creating.  There are sixty-two of us, from novice to advanced.
   Here is my mug rug for Partner 1:
Front view

Back side
   Partner 1 if you are reading this (and you think you know who you might be), I am about to reveal a clue about you-- so don't read further if you don't want the "surprise" to be spoiled.
   Partner 1 has three children, hence the fussy cut of the big bird with 3 little birds on the branch.  All of the fabrics I used are from Valorie Well's Wrenly line (which I LOVE).
   You might notice that I cleverly avoided adding binding.  For now, I'm calling it finished, as the mailing deadline is fast approaching.  If I can manage it in the next few days, I'll try to add binding, because, to my eye, it looks like it could use it.
   For Partner 2, who likes bright colors, and especially blues, greens and purples, I came up with this:

close-up detail of some of the stitching

       I have made one of my two goodies so far, so I will post those in a few days time (or more).
   Thank you, virtual blogging friends, for helping to sustain me, in your own way(s), through this difficult period.  You give me inspiration!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Score! and A Petite Giveaway

   After dropping the kids off from school, I stopped at an Estate Sale just a few blocks from our house.  Wouldn't you know it, but the homeowner was a quilter!
   For a mere $14, here's what I got:
These are 2 sets of 3 drawers each, stacked on top of each other
12 1/2" square ruler, a hoop, and Ink-Jet Fabric sheets
9 1/2" square ruler
Easy Dresden (8") ruler &  5 7/8" x 11 7/8" ruler
1) mini-light for my sewing machine 2) some embroidery floss 3) 6 1/2" ruler
A plastic Block box and a book
Inside the Block box, I found these:

   And you, Dear Reader, are in luck, because I already own some of these items and don't need two.  So if you are in need of the following, please leave a comment:
   1) 9 1/2" square ruler  [9/9/11-- this ruler has found a new home]
   2) Flying Geese ruler  [9/9/11-- this ruler has a new owner now, too]
   3) 12 1/2" square ruler
(see photos below)

   I managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of quilting this week.  Here is the top of a mug rug for a swap I'm in:
 Do you think it needs a border?  It's already 7 1/2" x 10 1/2", which is a little large for a mug rug.
And here is the backing fabric I propose:

   Well, the time has flown and I've accomplished not a thing.  It is already time for me to go pick up my little guy from school.  
   Have a great weekend!   I'm hoping for some time at my sewing machine.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

   Yum!  How nice it is to be back in my own home, with power restored, sipping on my own brand of coffee brewed in my own coffee machine!!  Our first day back, I was almost chugging the coffee down, it tasted so good (compared to the awful complimentary hotel lobby coffee that I managed to consume all week.  So much for my intentions of hitting the Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts that were nearby.  I saved a little money anyway).
   What are you sipping on this morning/afternoon/evening?
   I mentioned in last week's post that we lost our power when Hurricane Irene hit (a week ago Saturday, during the night).  We ended up staying at a motel until this Saturday.
   I have to give the electric companies credit: their crews were out there working non-stop to restore the power.  They called in help from the southern and western states-- even Canada.  It was very impressive.  And with all that effort, it still took 6 days to get the power back!
   So we made the most of it and turned the week into an "impromptu" vacation.
Here's Hubster arriving at our temporary home for the week:
Holiday Inn
Parking lot view of our hotel.
The dog and I spent lots of time walking out here!
   I want to apologize to those of you who have left comments on my blog, and to my partners in the Mug Rug &Goodies Swap 2011 (see the little button in the sidebar) for being incommunicado!!  Living out of one hotel room with two double beds and two kids kids 24/7, I could only manage to squeeze in a very limited amount of time on the computer (before passing out from exhaustion at the end of the day!)
   Now that we are back home, I am starting to "catch up" on all my responses and reading blogs.  I've seen such wonderful goodies being posted on the Flickr group for the swap and I am chomping-at-the-bit to get started on my mug rugs and goodies for my partners!
   Quilting has been on my mind, though...  We ate dinner outside the other evening in the pagoda that's in the courtyard at our motel.
   When I looked down, I saw this:
Looks like a Spider Web block, doesn't it?
I'll definitely have to add one to my "To Do" List
{For those of you who are not quilters, here's a link to what a spider web block/quilt looks like.}
   There were train tracks behind the hotel, so we put coins on the rail to see what happens...  {This is a classic children's rite of passage, don't you think?}
Setting the coins...

marking the spot with rocks and sticks so we can find the coins later
coin impressions left behind after the train(s) came through
one of our flattened pennies (some of them got really flat)
   Here's what we learned (if you care to know):  Pennies always get flat, dimes only sometimes flatten (I guess it depends on the size of the train?) and we never found our quarters, so I can't report on them.  So tuck that away in your list of essential information!
    How are your kids enjoying the new school year?  
I hope they are transitioning smoothly and liking their teachers and classmates.
   Since schools were closed, we visited the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk where they have marine animals as well as a traveling robotic dinosaur exhibit.
Stegosaurus mom and baby (and the back of my son's head)
Run for your life!!
   So as not to terrify the little ones, they very cleverly included a T Rex with the internal metal robotics showing that the kids could operate.

moving the head and tail of T-Rex
Harbor Seals
So cute!!
Taking a nap after feeding

We also arrived in time to see them feeding the sharks!

I love all the fish tanks
   Outside, they had an"archaeological" sand box (filled with tiny rubber pellets instead of sand) in which the kids could "uncover" the bones with paintbrushes.

Touch tank with sting rays
And of course, we had to hit the gift shop on the way out (because the kids need more stuffed animals, right?)  Here is my daughter with her Harbor Seal.  [Sorry, no photo of my son with his rainbow dolphin).]

    So there you have some photo highlights of our "impromptu vacation" week.  It's now time to make the kids lunches-- today is their first day of school (after a one-week delay due to Irene).  Nothing like saving it til the last minute, but Virtual Coffee is more important!!
   Thanks for visiting!  I'm linking up over at Amy's blog, Lucky Number 13.  Check out her weekly Virtual Coffee.  It's a very interesting and diverse group of bloggers.
   Have a good week!