Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rainy & Gloomy

This early morning moment was the best weather we've had in several weeks. I took this pic of a snow-capped Mauna Kea from our upstairs deck a few days before Christmas, at about 7AM before the clouds moved in. I think it's rained every day since then: over 22" of the stuff just since Christmas day here in Hilo. There's a lot more snow up there by now, but we haven't caught even a hint of a glimpse of it.

After so many years on the dry side of Maui, where average annual rainfall was something like 9", I still getting a kick out of wet weather. And of course all this rain is what makes our local waterfalls and gardens so lush and lovely. The downside, though, is the clouds have been so constant and thick that it's gloomy and dark both inside and out. I've actually managed to finish a few UFOs this week, but haven't been able to get a decent photo of any of them, even with a flash.

Hubby and I are off to Waikoloa tomorrow (dry side of the big island, where the beaches and sun are) for a long New Year's weekend. Lots more sewing to be done when we get back, although my time for it will be limited: even more non-sewing projects lined up and awaiting attention.

Whenever the weather lightens up, as it's sure to do eventually, I'll post some updates on the completed garments.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Broke the Embargo

I broke the fabric embargo this morning. Multiple excuses for giving in to temptation:

1) This great deal ends 12/29 at midnight EST. Why until Jan. 1 and miss out?

2) It will probably be 2009 before I pick up my parcel from our PO box, and it will be '09 before I pay the AmEx bill. Kindof fudging the "no more fabric purchases until 2009" thing, but close, so close!

3) Wanted to get the discount on this fabric to feature in Mum's next b'day gift (she turns 75 in Sept. '09 and will want me to make her something). Once it arrives I'll shop locally for coordinating prints and solids.

4) Bought a yard of this pink/white print to go with two I already have for a six-panel skirt pattern I plan to make with mixed prints. I can almost claim that fits the "fabric needed to finish a UFO" exception. Except that I haven't started it yet, so it's a UFO only in my mind.

5) Can't really justify this Xmas print, but it was on sale and I am thinking ahead to next year. Would like to make either a tree skirt or Xmas placemats/napkins; have a few FQs in the stash but needed a main fabric. If I wait 'til next year's holiday season it will be too late to buy fabric, because I'm just too slow at getting sewing projects done.

Also added to the order enough of this truly stunning Kaffe Fasset cotton to make a blouse.

Received a 5" sq. of it in the KF charm pack I bought pre-embargo, have been drooling ever since at the thought of making something to wear from it. No excuse, other than to get the discount. I'm already working on a "wearable muslin" of a blouse pattern which, if it turns out well, the new fabric will be perfect for.

On the plus side, I first went nuts and loaded up the shopping cart with at least twice as much stuff, then got strict and deleted a lot of it. Sneaky way to indulge and feel restrained at the same time.

Don't wanna sound humbuggy, but it's serioulsy time to BAN SANTA from this house! She's been WAY too self-indulgent this year. As usual.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My New Sewing Machine!

I am now the ecstatic owner of a BabyLock Decorator's Choice: list quoted as $1299, I paid $699 plus got free servicing on my old machine which desperately needs attention (probably a $100 value right there). And a fab service plan for the new one at a very good price, too. Thanks, Discount Fabric Warehouse (Hilo store).

If I'd had a bit more in the budget, I would have come home with the Quilter's Choice model, but the only added feature I really felt I valued was the automatic thread tension (I can get a 1/4" foot separately), and that didn't seem worth the $300 it would have cost to upgrade. I'm accomplished at many things, surely mastering thread tension can become one of them.

Learning curve for this machine is a bit steep for me, as this is my first computerized machine, but am going through the manual step-by-step and so far so good. Biggest challenge is resisting the tempation to just "wing it" and see if I can figure it out, but I'm taking it slowly and "by the book" for once. So far have wound a bobbin (lovely, smooth, evenly done), threaded the machine, and played around with the stitching options on scrap fabric. Am tickled pink with the automatic needle threader, drop-in bobbin, and handy-dandy thread-cutting button. So easy! Mastering the control panel is going to take a while, but I'm ready to tackle basic sewing.

First up, buttonholes on two UFOs. Second up, get that new battery into my camera so I can take some pictures of stuff I promised I'd post last month.

I was going to post a list of the UFOs I want to get done by the end of the year, but am beginning to suspect (given that it's already 12/10 and I've done so little sewing lately) that I should aim low and avoid Jan. 1 confessions of failure on the UFO front. So, no public list, but I'll post things as they're done.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Still Here

Yeah, uh, I did kindof fall off the face of the earth for a while there. Reason for that here. Got as far as getting a new camera battery, but haven't even installed it yet. Might get around to some photos, and possibly even some sewing this weekend.

Post-project-deadline meltdown ate a lot of this past week, but in between monster catch-up tasks on mundane stuff like balancing checkbooks and paying bills and doing laundry I've started researching sewing machines. The deal (with self) was that if I finish a draft of the novel before 12/31/08, I get to buy myself a new sewing machine.

I'm leaning heavily toward a Babylock Decorator's Choice, at least partly because it's a brand I can get locally, also because it has the features I'm looking for and appears to deliver great value for price. Not that I know yet what kind of a price I'll be able to get here, but current deal with self is as soon as Christmas cards and packages are all in the mail I can go machine shopping.