Lunch tote bags — more to come!

lunch bag #1 - blue & black floral

I made a new lunch bag to use for work.  I’m currently rotating three little tote bags that I got at Target maybe two months ago for a quarter each, and I’d like to have more so that I can have some in rotation even while others are in the laundry pile.  I have yet to wash them and I’m grossed out by myself, they’re sticky from maple syrup and have a certain aroma by evening.

Yesterday I brought a cloth napkin in my lunch bag and I realized that I could make an entire collection of lunch totes in addition to reusable napkins.  They don’t need to be especially sturdy or secured with velcro or insulated or anything, simply small tote bags to corral my food, which is usually in plastic Gladware containers, until lunchtime.  Until I bought the current tote bags I was using a plastic grocery bag, which caused problems when I would forget which fridge I used and had to go searching among all the other plastic grocery bags to find my food.  (“Why am I pawing through your lunch, you ask?  Um, because I thought maybe it was mine…?”)  A distinctive cloth bag helps me locate my lunch even when I’m not able to put it in “my” spot: middle fridge, bottom right at the back.

The simple tote bag tonight took me an hour, I’m sheepish to admit, although the next one should take half that now that I’ve figured out a design.  I was going to find a tutorial like this one and then realized, “How hard can it be?  And if I start looking for tutorials I’ll never get it done, I’ll spend three hours reading blogs and viewing step-by-steps instead and then call it a night.  I’ll figure something out, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll do it different or use a tutorial next time.”  And there will be a next time — I want half of dozen of these!

Unfortunately, the camera ran out of batteries after I took a picture and before I uploaded it to the laptop, so I’ll have to add a photo after I locate the charger.

Update: Charger located!

note the hideous red & green lining

September 28, 2009. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Recipes, Words. 3 comments.

Joann trip: $60.54

I went to Joann Fabric tonight to buy fabric for Maggie’s Place baby quilts #2 & #3.  I only ended up getting material for one of them due to time constraints.  On her little questionnaire, this mother said she likes everything, including baby prints, and is just delighted for whatever I’m going to make.  “Perfect!” I thought, “This is a great opportunity to branch out and try new colors and really do a babyish baby quilt!  She has no real preferences so let’s go wild here!”  I walked out of the store with greens and blues, just like the majority of my stash, and the only baby fabric is a simple turtle print.  I’m not sure how it happened.

I also went in thinking I wouldn’t spend very much money and I would only buy half a yard of a few fabrics, max, or maybe even just get some fat quarters that are on sale for $1 each, and then at the cutting counter I ended up doing one yard each of multiple baby quilt fabrics, two yards for the Halloween apron swap, three yards for the snuggle flannel quilt backing, and two yards of gray fabric for the next baby quilt.  (Mother #3 requested gray, blue, white, and plaid.)  I always overbuy so that I don’t run out, and because I like adding to my stash.  My previous two quilts were all stash, so I do end up using the extra fabric.  One day I’ll get out of that store for under fifty bucks, one day…

Tetris Quilt 2.0 went for $120.  There was a flurry of bids in the last few minutes, and then one of my old coworkers put in the final bid with 14 seconds left, leaving no time for anybody else to counter.  I’m pleased with the result, even if it didn’t make it to $200.  The picnic basket auction ends tomorrow at noon.

September 24, 2009. Words. 1 comment.

22 Pull-ups!

I did 22 kipping pull-ups in a row tonight at CrossFit.  Two nights ago I dreamed that I did 24 and I have a distinct memory of the motion I was using, they seemed so easy at the time.  When I got to the gym I decided to try out the dream technique to see if it made a difference in the waking world.  As I was heading over to the bar, one of the owners said he wanted to see a new female record for the gym.

“What’s the current record?” I asked.

“21,” the trainer replied.  “Let’s see it, I want a new record set right here, now, tonight!”

I slowed down after 16 or so, and had to stop for a moment at 20.  #21 barely counted, with my chin just at the bar, and then I finished off with a comparatively solid #22.  I think I haven’t maxed out my potential yet, it just might take awhile to get a new PR.  That’s a downfall of greatness, I guess…

Previous personal record: 19 on August 28, 2009.

September 21, 2009. Tags: , . Words. 3 comments.

First baby quilt for Maggie’s Place

Maggie's Place #1: Green & yellow

I finished my first baby quilt for Maggie’s Place.  The recipient said she likes yellow, light blue, light green, brown, and white/cream, and requested something that’s “not too babyish”.  This is what I came up with from my stash, which conveniently enough is filled with green and blue.  My plan was to make a nice little rectangle, and then when I had the 3×3 design I liked how it looked and didn’t want to come up with 3 more unique combinations to add another row of blocks.  This is my first really pieced back; I like the stripe of dinosaurs down the middle, which seems appropriate for a baby quilt.  I quilted stitch-in-the-ditch around the pinwheels in each block (those are pinwheels, people, not swastikas), and then quilted a small 1″ x 1″ square in the center of each as well.  The quilt is about 45″ x 45″.

Maggie's Place #1 green & yellow back

September 20, 2009. Tags: , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 2 comments.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies!

First, an auction update:

Tetris Quilt 2.0: $68
Gourmet Picnic Basket with Quilt: $175

I think the people who are interested in Tetris Quilt 2.0 are being rational and waiting until the last moments of the auction to bid again — why bid up the price now when they can snipe it at the last minute?  Two of the bidders work in my building and both told me that’s their plan.  Logical, and not as much fun for me.

Tomorrow there is a bake sale fundraiser in my office.  I made a cherry cheesecake in a graham cracker pie crust last night, earlier today I made a cake filled with Nutella and sprinkled with chocolate shavings, and right now in the oven there are my renowned oatmeal-coconut cookies.  I made a double batch, and I’m filling ziptop plastic bags with a dozen in each.  Extras will go on a free sample plate, which will guarantee that the cookies will sell out no matter what price the bake sale organizer sets.  They’re just that good.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

1.  Heat oven to 375.  Grease cookie sheet, or lay down parchment paper.  I did this tonight and I love it.

2.  Cream shortening and sugars.  Beat in vanilla and eggs until well-blended.

3.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

4.  Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet.  Bake about 8-9 minutes.  They’ll still be soft, so let cool for a minute or two before removing to cool on parchment or waxed paper.  Note: I recommend against removing from cookie sheet directly to mouth until they’ve cooled at least four minutes.

September 17, 2009. Tags: , . Recipes, Words. 4 comments.

Happy 16th Birthday Kalayna

Asleep on the couch 11-28-08

My dog turned 16 today.  She celebrated by napping on her blanket on the couch where I put her, a day like any other.  She hasn’t jumped onto a couch in maybe 18 months; she can still jump down and hasn’t broken a hip yet, although the landing often looks a little rough and painful on the slippery wood floor.  Last week when I wasn’t home, the man of the house said that the dog woke up and announced her desire to get off the couch — “Bark!” she called out, one single bark — and then jumped anyway before he made it to the living room.

She often sleeps by me on the sofa when I’m using my laptop.  (The picture of us both on the couch is from last November.)  If she gets antsy and seems like she’s done napping, I’ll place her safely on the floor.  One time last year she seemed like she would sleep for only a few more minutes then get up, and I said, “I might as well put her down now” as I lifted her to the floor.

“You might as well put her down now?” he repeated.  It became a joke: “Well, we might as well put her down now, I’m about to watch a movie and now’s as good a time as any…” we’d say.  “Has the dog eaten dinner?  Yes?  Might as well put her down now, I have a thing later tonight anyway…”

I’ll be making the actual, non-joke appointment in a few weeks, probably the first week of October.  He might have to make the appointment, actually, since I’d probably sob through the call with the poor receptionist.

September 11, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures, Words. 5 comments.

Shopping spree at Target

Good thing I haven’t signed up for Wardrobe Refashion, I’d have to use my Get Out of Jail Free Card because of my Target purchases.  This weekend I bought a red skirt and a teal cardigan that I will probably wear at least once a week (although not together), and tonight I went back and bought several items including this pink tropical print top.

Target pink floral top

The red skirt is especially fun —  it’s like my old pair of favorite red pants and the green skirt I wear all the time got together, laughed for hours over dinner, opened a bottle of sparkling wine, slow-danced in the living room,…. and awhile later along came this red skirt.  The picture is terrible, it’s actually a crisp scarlet and not the smoky fuchsia below.  It wasn’t on sale when I bought it two days ago, if I had waited I could have saved $5!  I wore it to work yesterday with a black cardigan and my beloved plaid wedges.

Target red skirt

September 9, 2009. Tags: , , . Links, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 1 comment.

Picnic blanket quilt

Picnic basket quilt - August 09

My department at work put together a gourmet picnic basket for the annual community support campaign online auction.  The teams from our business center whose contributions get the highest bids in three different retail value categories will win 2 hours of vacation time.  (I’m entered in two categories because of Tetris Quilt 2.0 and this gift basket.)  I made the picnic blanket quilt, took the pictures, and wrote the description in faux-catalog language, in an apparently distinctive-enough manner so that when another employee read it she called me laughing and said, “Did you write the description?  Your voice is so obvious!”  I added the dinosaur napkins and Snack Pack puddings, too, which most people seemed to think was a lighthearted touch, although I’m pretty sure the team leader on the project thought it detracted from the Expensive Gourmet angle he was hoping for.  There have been 10 bids so far, up to $100.

Picnic basket - August 09

September 6, 2009. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 3 comments.

Hockey pajama pants

Hockey pajama pants

Here are the pants I made as a birthday gift a month ago.  He’s been wearing them frequently, even when we hit the record for 113 degrees last week, so I think he likes them.  They’re made of a very soft flannel.  I started with Simplicity 9871 although I didn’t follow the pattern very closely, which seemed to work out fine for something this basic.   I accidentally cut one of the pieces reversed, and sewed gigantic seam allowances when I realized the pants were huge around the hips and would come up to his ribcage.  (See how high they’re wearing them in the picture??)  Also, I don’t know how to use my machine’s buttonholer yet so I inserted the tie on the inside, and then used a piece of ribbon because I didn’t want to deal with making a matching fabric drawstring.  He’s confident and doesn’t feel threatened by the cream satin ribbon holding up his 9-year-old-boy pjs.

Pajama pants in the napping chairHockey print

September 3, 2009. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

Tetris Quilt 2.0

I finished Tetris Quilt 2.o for the online silent auction at work.  I’m hoping for at least a $200 bid, because it’s for charity and how awesome is this quilt, really?  I mean, come on, it’s brilliant, with better workmanship than last time too.  Despite appearances to the contrary, it’s nice regular rectangle with squared-up corners, too.  The quilting on the back leaves something to be desired, but at least I’m actually quilting now instead of tying them.  Soon I’ll try free motion stippling, which is so beautiful on many quilts.  First I’ll need to figure out how to drop the feed dogs on my machine and see if I have a “darning foot”, whatever that is…

After two days the bids are up to $50, using a single photo of Tetris Quilt 1.0.  These multiple pictures of 2.0 should help — the online entry allows 4 photos.  The auction ends September 24th.  How much would you bid in a charity auction for this quilt?

Update: Bidding ended at $120.  It would have gone higher except the winner timed her bid just perfectly at the cutoff.

Tetris 2.0

Tetris 2.0 back Tetris 2.0 detail Tetris 2.0 more detail

September 2, 2009. Tags: , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. 6 comments.