Monday, July 23, 2007

A Great Little Trip

Last week we flew down to Austin, Texas to visit our son who is in grad school there. We hadn't seen him since Christmas time, and he seems well and happy. He managed to give us a very quick tour of Austin and the university since we were only there for two and a half days.

One thing I can tell you is that Austin takes two things very seriously: live music and food. We had a great time exploring some of our son's favorite restaurants and sampling just a bit of the nightlife.

One of the places he took us to is the Elephant Room, a jazz club. It looks a lot like one of those clubs you see in the movies--down a flight of stairs, dark, mysterious. The only thing missing was the smoky atmosphere--apparently Austin has banned smoking in bars and restaurants. We heard a good jazz group the night we were there: the Elias Haslanger Quintet.

Both my husband and son love jazz, so they had a great time. Me? I'm a notch above neutral about jazz, but I had fun just drinking in the atmosphere. And a beer or two. And I was a little bemused to be clubbing with my son. He was, by the way, very polite and patient with us and didn't roll his eyes when we decided to call it a night about 12:30.

On our last day we had a few hours to kill before our flight out and it just so happened that I had the directions to a quilting shop not too far away (care of my delightful, thoughtful son). The Quilt Store is a great place to browse. They offered help but let me just wander around and browse.

They had a good selection of Kaffe Fassett fabric. Around here just a few stores are starting to carry it. I bought some fat quarters--actually more than you see here....

to make this....

I had ordered the pattern just before we left for Austin and it arrived a day after we got back. And me with a bag full of Kaffe Fassett fat quarters. What to do?

This bag calls for 7 fat quarters. It's called the Cross Town Carry-Regan's Bag by Marlous Designs. What I love about it are the pockets--there are three on the outside and three more inside. Plenty of places to stow stuff. The directions left just a little too much to imagination as far as I'm concerned. But, I haven't sewn many of these bag patterns before, so maybe it's just me.

It also gave me a chance to practice quilting using the stitch regulator on the machine. I'm going to need more practice, but making small projects like this will help.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I didn't really mean to take a three week hiatus from blogging. Things around here just got a little overwhelming for a couple of weeks. The good news is that the bookcase looks good. The contractor primed it before he built it, but it still needed quite a bit of sanding before we could give it a final coat of paint. Here it is with most of the books put back on it.

For some reason the picture makes it look like it bows out somehow, but trust me, the shelves are straight and true. Actually, this is with ALL of the living room books, which means that we were able to get rid of two other shelf units. Hooray! The old shelf units were very big (as in massive) so getting rid of them gives us a lot more space. And you see those two empty bottom shelves? I have empty book shelves!

The store where I bought the new sewing machine offered two morning classes on all the bells and whistles this machine has. So far, with the little I have been able to use it, I am loving it. It's going to take me a while to get used to all the fancy features, something I am really going to enjoy. The store also offers a set of informal classes called Club Bernina with extra projects to make which take advantage of the features on the machine. I'm going to sign up for these in the fall.

In between, I am still plugging along on the Serendipity blocks and have completed seven of them so far.

I'm starting to put them together now with some Jinny Beyer black and dark purple fabric I found. I wanted to use black at first, but the black and purple has a little bit of texture to it that looks much better, I think. This is still a hand sewing project so it's coming along, but slowly. I love the way all the pieces fit together. It's very satisfying.