Thursday, May 29, 2008

New kicks: Don't hate

I wasn't going to let something like jury duty get me down.

On this glorious day, during our lunch break, I strolled into Soho and stopped into Opening Ceremony - a boutique that is generally too cool for school. I started to get bored flipping through racks of clothing made for people who have nothing better to do than, well... shop in Soho during the weekday.

But wait! What was this? In the sea of black micropolyblendedviscosecyanide pleated high-waisted short shorts, I spied some floral print as I rounded the first display. Liberty of London? As I got closer I realized they were Nike's!

Of course, I had to buy them.

I haven't worn high-top sneakers since the 8th grade when those velcro Reebok's were the sh**. I'm sure I'll look dumb as heck walking around in these, but I don't care! I love them! So what do the kids do these days? Tie or untie? I should go all the way and dig out my E.G. socks and peg the legs of my jeans.

I can't wait to brighten up that dreary jury duty waiting room tomorrow with these guys.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New toys

It's been more than a year since I got the Canon Rebel Xti. It was a vast improvement over the point & shoot that I had. Well, I finally invested in some proper lenses. I wanted a lens I could walk around with and take candid pictures of people and things on the city streets. After doing what felt like 100 hours of research, I decided on the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L. It is a great lens, and now I just have to learn how to use it. And, don't let anyone tell you different - it is HEAVY. I mean HEAVY, no joke. And for a walking around lens, it'll be quite the workout. But, I'm prepared! I can't wait to get some nice springtime shots!

The other lens I bought is the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro. I'm excited to take some close-ups and also have an alternative if I don't feel like lugging the heavy one around. I was told this is a decent lens as an all-around basic use kind of lens, but since there's no zoom, there would be some limitations. Here's some pics from this new lens:

I like how this picture turned out, but I really have to work on my hand shake. So, I should definitely look into mono/tripods. The lens was about 2.5 inches away from the earring.

Then I played around with using this as a basic lens. I think it looks great! And, I was able to catch Brigitte showing off her pink belly in the awful lighting of my apartment. Fun!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh yes, another baby quilt

Sometimes I feel like my friends are single-handedly keeping this planet populated. Migglesworth's old old friend had a baby boy, born May 5th, and he'll be receiving this one. I had been working on the other baby quilt, so I had to whip this one up snappy-quick.

I had been tempted for a long while to try the reversible quilt technique. And tempted only because I wouldn't have to wrestle a monster through my sewing machine to quilt it. I loved the idea that I could work on each individual square, and then put it together. It is the answer to anyone's problems if they're dealing with very little workspace.

After flipping through Sharon Pederson's book and looking at my fabric stash, I decided I liked the idea of a quilt not having a back, but I wasn't really a fan of making "two quilts in one". I think quilts, if used properly, are in fact actually being used. So, more likely than not you would see this underside, and that would be an eyesore.

I had so much fun making this quilt. I cut out all the batting squares. Cut out all of my half-triangles. Sewed half-triangles onto batting squares, and then... CHAIN-QUILTED. So, not only could I quilt manageable sized squares, but I could run them through assembly line style. Oh, I was quickly becoming a convert.

And then I had to put them all together with these strips. The strips being the connectors of all these quilted blocks. That was easy enough.

It's definitely not one of the neatest looking quilts I've made. I didn't line up some of the strips, and when machine attaching the final part of the strips, you have to be careful as to what it will look like on the other side. Mine not look so good. Well, I guess mine does have a front and back then. Oh well.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Year of the Rat Quilt

I'm not a huge fan of "rat". The chinese zodiac is riddled with serious translations of animals: boar vs. pig, ox vs. cow, hare vs. rabbit. Why the long face, chinese zodiac? Why so serious?

Who am to change tradition, so I'll stick with Year of the Rat. Here's the Year of the Rat quilt for my friend who's due with her second any moment now. (It is the year of the rat, right?)

This is my first quilt where I actually felt like I was being creative as opposed to some geometrical human calculator and a human guide for my sewing machine. I drew out the mice, um rats, and created the little appliques. I used fusible web, and then satin stitched around the edges. This was my first go at applique, so I wanted to go the easy route. The satin stitching took some getting used to, and boy does it take a lot of thread, but I liked the result.

I embroidered the tails and eyes, and thought better of including whiskers, and feet as I felt I wanted more of the idea of rat, than rats all over the quilt.

And then, the quilting. I started machine quilting on the rat blocks. (Oh God, I can't say it anymore. I'm switching over to mouse/mice.) Uh-hum, so I started machine quilting on the mouse blocks. I tried echo quilting on the first one, and then squiggly lines on the second block. They looked awful. The echo quilting made it look like a "kaboom! supermouse coming through!" The squiggly lines just seemed messy. So, I picked out the quilting - which I don't recommend - and hand quilted the four mouse blocks.

Finally, machine quilted the rest of the blocks in the same style as those fun coasters.

I love this quilt. I really wanted something muted and simple, but not boring.