Friday, May 25, 2018

Studio Lighting Upgrade

The overhead lighting in my studio was less than optimal. It was a smart bulb, but not a very bright one.
This is about the best it would get. Come evening, it was a struggle.
My Darling Husband bought me a smart fixture. The Haiku Home Premier light has a remote, is compatible with Alexa, has adjustable intensity and color, as well as a motion sensor.
Overall it is a great improvement over the last fixture and lamp.
                                 
Here they are side-by-side. Come evening, I'm sure I will appreciate it even more. Installation was super quick and easy. It took longer to find the right breaker than it did to install the fixture.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Delicate Elephant

Sometimes I get a crazy idea. This time, it was to use some denim I have had for a couple years, a fun embroidery design from Urban Threads, and my own cross-body bag pattern, to make a fun bag.
I picked the colors based on the coordinating print I wanted to use for the lining and strap. The design is the Elephant from the Delicate Ones set from Urban Threads. This four-color design makes a big impact. The denim is a very pale blue; a color better captured in the next photo.
I should time myself making one of these bags. So I can give others an idea how long it takes. This was once I had the lining, outer pocket, and the strap ready to go together. 
This bag is a great size to carry more than your phone but not big enough to carry the kitchen sink. I think this one will make a great gift.

9" and 12" zippers were purchased as matched set from ZipIt Zippers. Seriously, I don't buy zippers from anyone else unless I cannot wait for the quick shipping provided by ZipIt. Great prices and so many color options.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Batik Curve

The April Get It Done UFO Challenge was my take on improv curved piecing. I managed to finish the top in April, but didn't get a chance to buy backing to finish the quilt until May. I had a random vacation day last week and used it as an opportunity to head over to Spring Water Designs to pick up backing fabric. They have an excellent selection of wide backing fabrics.
I loaded up and got stitching.
The improv piecing didn't lend itself to very specific quilting, so I went with swirls and waves. The texture is going to be spectacular.
Here is a look at some of those swirls from the back. This is my favorite kind of quilting. Just quilting to fill the space with texture.
A close-up of the front.
I grabbed my leftover batik binding bits, added a couple more strips, and had some fun scrappy binding. I accordion fold the binding so it doesn't get twisted up like it does with winding it up like on a spool.
Bound and done, that's a finish!

If you don't know how batiks are made, I recommend you check out this YouTube video about the batik process. Making this fabric is very labor intensive. The last step is one I always point out to other quilters. To remove the wax the fabric is placed in near boiling water. It is very unlikely there is any unfixed dye still hanging around in a batik after the final manufacturing wash and rinse. This is one of the reasons I don't pre-wash batik fabrics. To be honest, I no longer pre-wash any fabrics. I like to liver dangerously.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Pool Removal

When we bought this house we knew the pool would have to be removed. This is the year we finally got the job done. The cover was getting pretty rough and we couldn't put it off any longer.
We uncovered the pool to see how bad it really was.
There was quite a bit of damaged tile. More than a few frogs, too. I caught three frogs during the draining process. I was going to remove them to an area behind the neighborhood with a slow moving creek. Two of those three frogs decided to make their own way in the world.
This happy fellow stayed in the bucket long enough I could deposit him in the real wilds of my neighborhood.
The contractor made quick work of draining the water from the pool and the hot tub.
Once it was drained, the real work could continue.
They broke up the bottom of the pool to make sure it wouldn't hold water any more.
They broke up a bunch of the concrete and filled the hole. 
This process took several days. 
Finally, they had the concrete apron removed and the pool demolished about 2 feet below the level of the yard. Now all that remains is the job of putting down grass seed. The yard is so much better without that giant hole in the middle.

I know there are people out there that won't understand why we decided to remove the pool. The truth is we don't want to pay for the upkeep of a pool (it is expensive and time-consuming). Realtors will tell you there is no resale benefit to a pool. It's just another mechanical system you have to maintain. That giant slab of concrete reflecting heat into the back of the house isn't very good for my air conditioning bill, either. A big yard is a better deal any day.
If that doesn't convince you, here is a dog. This dog would rather have a big yard to run and play in than a pool any day of the week. A pool is just a hole in the ground the ball gets stuck in and that is no fun at all.