Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Kindred Spirits, Cooking, and a Quilting Conundrum

I forgot the chart when away from the house, but was still able to stitch--thank you border! :D Usually, I pack EVERYTHING but the Needle. :)

Out of season, but these steam-fried yams were so good! The recipe calls for a black sesame garnish, but I used fresh-grated nutmeg and cinnamon instead. I glugged in a little extra oil, and they did come out too oily! As the recipe says, it REALLY only needs one tablespoon. They won't get too oily if you do over-use as the potatoes are surprisingly non-porous.

I took the good advice of Myra, Nancy and others and tried making a little sample bit of finished machine quilting.

I think I really need some supplies such as gloves for grip and a slide-facilitating plate to put down around the plate. It'd be even better if I had a sewing table which puts the plate on the level of the whole table. I could only have one if it folds up, however, due to space constraints. I hope they make one, but have doubts due to the likelihood of stability problems for a collapsible table. Do you, gentle readers, know of any?

One side is muslin, and one cotton. The quality of the quilting is dubious and inconsistent, but it will hold and may make a decent needle roll. I told Marc my stars look scared. :)

But, here's my real conundrum:

This was the walking foot, which I tried in the hope of preventing this sort of thing from happening at the end of a row! :P

Here's the ditch-quilting foot which helps you follow a line closely, and it's a little cinchy. It was my first attempt, but it was "off" enough to make me try the walking foot.

Here's the other side of the seam; the problem here is less severe but can also be seen.

Do I need more pins? Did I not iron the top flat enough and so it's too large for the base? I begin to see why a binding is put on at the end of a quilt. :) But, this little scrap-lab called for a turned finish to conserve fabric. I may just resort to hand-quilting, although I wanted to learn/use machine.

Hope everyone's enjoying a fine and relaxing long weekend (US readers)!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A New Start and More Quilt!

I've made a new start:

"Kindred Spirits"
Primitive Needle

I'm using the recommended fibers and linen, though I may change the cat's eyes as they call for Belle Soie, but are the only use of that color in the piece. Do I really need to buy a whole skein of BS for 4 stitches? It's a yellow-green not suited to a monochrome piece, either. I am having SO much fun stitching the border--it's all I want to do! I wonder if I'll still love it so when I have to "re-do" it by filling in the orange, lol.

Squee! I was so thrilled when I "turned" this tabletop quilt--I think it looks SO good and I have to hunt to find the imperfections. You can see in the foreground where I need to blind-stitch the opening closed. I have a document (or is it a link?) saved to show how, but I use this stitch so infrequently that I always have to refer back to the tutorial when it's called for.

I'm pretty nervous about doing the quilting, however. The open-toe darning foot I ordered arrived in the mail yesterday, but the instructions are quite sparse. I'm entirely unsure about how to attach it to the machine. Also, I should probably test it on a scrap first, but I don' wanna! :P I am so excited to have this done. I also feel anxious that I'll spoil the perfection I'm so admiring. lol!

This potato salad was so good. It was included in the method for assembling a packed lunchbox shown here. I substituted peas for corn, however.

Recently I tried a new Menu item on our visit to Mitsuwa. This is Mapo Tofu "soup" with fried rice. The flavor was okay, but I found it to be over-starchy with the thick corn-thickened soup. The best part was the shredded daikon topped with mayo and seaweed salad. Yum! (seriously) The cup contains savory broth.

Hope everyone's enjoying great weather and,

See you soon~

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quilt Tops & Crochet

My first quilt top, which was the first "Scrap Lab" offered by Fig Tree is finished! Now to buy a thin batt and umn, quilt it. Yikes. This is supposed to be "turned" (like a pillow) rather than have a binding.

At last I let myself try out making a few crochet edgings from a book I got a few Christmases ago. These have yet to be blocked. I love white crochet. :) So reminds me of eyelet lace.

From the Bay of Evil, a rare treat for me~

This is an animation cel of the cat Luna from the Sailor Moon anime. I just love it. I can't recall the last time I bought a piece of original art--FAR TOO LONG.

The cel is only the black cat; the other elements are on heavy stock and behind the cel.

I'm so glad I treated myself, something I NEVER do. :)

Another Spring treat I forgot to show you last time; this is an avocado milkshake from the Vietnamese restaurant up the street. It may sound crazy, but if you love vanilla milkshake you'll at least like this!

This shot *almost* captures the soft green color.

In other news the model for my first design is ALL FINISHED all that remains is to wrangle my working draft into something publishable. From my experience with MacStitch 2009, I would advise any interested party to never buy ANY iteration of that software. Not entirely objective considering I've only used one version, but there it stands.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quilts & Kylie

Lately I've been having fun with the Scrap Lab Fig Tree recently introduced...

Some days (like the one on which these photos were shot) are dim, but with these fabrics it's ALWAYS spring in my studio!

I'm making the table-top quilt Joanna showed because I like it and I've never pieced a quilt before. The directions are found in the Summer volume of BH&G's "Quilts & More" Magazine. (I'm planning to list my copy for sale when I finish jic anyone wants it/can't find it when I finish.)

The print in center here is my favorite (though maybe not my favorite colourway). I'm also loving the overblown poppy print when it's cropped up tight like this--I love poppies and recently planted some seeds Edgar gave me for California poppies on my terrace. They are in containers and only planted a week ago--wonder if they'll sprout? :D

Thanks to a kind friend, I was able to attend one of the performances of Kylie Minogue's Aprhodite tour. It was held in the city at the Hammerstein Ballroom. (We went to the second of three nights, Tuesday May 3rd.) I am such a fan, so I cannot resist at least some comment here. :)

Kylie rose from the floor in a gorgeous gilt shell as the incarnation of Botticelli's famous Venus.

Creating the necessary materials for this stage spectacle cost 25m. D&G is reported to have created all the costuming--not entirely sure about how much of the dancers' and backup singers' wardrobe they contributed.

Aprodite, which shares the name of the album it promotes, is Kylie's second tour in the US. I actually attended a performance of her first (For You, For Me) in Oct. 2009, but never mentioned it here because it proved a heart-wrenching experience. Our tickets were the closest to the stage available--general admission to the ballroom floor. While Kylie is much beloved overseas, here her small but devoted fanbase is quite homogeneously comprised of homosexuals. Which proved problematic for me, because....

MEN ARE TALL! You've never been engulfed in a thick crowd until you've been stranded in a sea of unrelieved men. Tall, tall men!

Oh! I saw Kylie for a grand total of 4 seconds as entered the stage from above that night...and the stage itself never. They were forever just beyond the reach of the eyes in my 5'4"-5" frame.

This time, I made sure the tickets were in the small balcony! So, I did see the show! I also learned that though the balcony LOOKS close, an opera glass or other binocs are a necessary item. I'm so glad friend Tak took so many pics b/c I get to "see" the show again... up close! Marc saw a sign posted advising attendees that they consented to filming by being present, so I do hope this will be a video release. :D I also hope Ms. Minogue will tour here again.

These winged earpieces put me in mind of Valkyries and the PS2 game Odin Sphere.

All of the music on Kylie's show is live--a band performs the music and backup singers sing accompaniment which was tracked on the album. No lip-sync with dance here!

I do have quite a regard for this most famous of Kylie's Fine Assets. ;)

The "Bathing Beauty" costume for the finale.

Overall, I feel her shows have not been as "fun" as they were before her Showgirl tour and cancer battle, but I still beyond enjoyed it.

Thanks for everything, readers--I so appreciate you and your comments, too. I feel that I must apologize for being somewhat absent online. I'm still "keeping on" and cooking up something good which I hope you'll enjoy. I had a few more "spring things" to put in this post, but will save for next time as it has run long already! Hope you saw something you enjoy!