Archive | December 2011

Obligatory ‘lasts’ of the year

Every once in awhile, I find it strange that we (as humans) put so much stock in arbitrary dates.  Anyone remember the whole Y2k nightmare but me?  Kinda makes me wonder what people are gonna be doing around this time next year.  I’m sure many will have an over abundance of bottled water and freeze dried food as they prepare for yet another ‘end of the world’ scenario.  Me? I hope I’m doing pretty much what I’ll be doing today – spending a quiet evening with good friends.

The 'last' sunrise of 2011.

I’ve outgrown all those desires that make us seek out the youthful camaraderie of overcrowded bars.  If I’m not playing in the band, I’m not as interested in bars at all.  I gave up bars when I quit smoking years ago, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to stand ripping one out of someone’s mouth and puffing away.  Of course, I guess now I could go now and again since they’ve outlawed smoking in bars (at least where I live).

I also have no desire to attend my city’s New Year’s Eve bash, even though we generally have a nice one.  It’s too cold for one thing, even in the desert that I call home.  And frankly?  I like my home, my husband and my dogs more than I do all the drunk citizens of the world.

For the last few years or so, we went to our friend’s house to spend New Year’s.  But they have kidlets.  Adorable as they are, we have to be quiet because the kids are asleep.  If I’m quiet while waiting for midnight to arrive, I’ll probably (and have) fall asleep.

The 'last' breakfast of the year.

So, tonight, we’ve convinced our good friends to pawn their lovely children on his parents.  They’re coming over here for appetizers, champagne and Harry Potter.  That’s right.  We’re all full grown adults in our late thirties and we’re gonna watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows tonight.  Got something to say about that?  No?  You sure?  Okay.

Today before they arrive I have some tasks to complete, among them vacuuming (already done), a load or two of laundry, and a cheesecake to bake.  It’s my first cheesecake and I’m sure I’ll get the dreaded crack down the middle.  I’ve done a bit of research, but don’t have any aluminum foil on hand (!!), so a water bath is out of the question.  But it’s okay, on my first go around I think it’s acceptable to not be perfect.

What are we doing tomorrow?  Aside from my annual ritual of taking down the Yule tree, I’ve got nothing planned.  And you know what?  I kind of like that.

 

 

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Sewing Project #2

iPad Case

Today I tackled my second major sewing project.  Due to necessity, I went with an iPad case.  The Internet is filtered (extremely filtered) where I work, so I take my iPad with me to work every day.  Why not use your phone, you say?  Blech.  I can’t surf for extended periods on a dinky little phone screen.

I had been using an Otterbox case, which provides an EXTREME amount of protection for the iPad.  That’s all well and good but it also makes it very heavy.  It feels like a giant rock in my bag and also makes it nearly unbearable to hold for anything more than a minute.

On the flip side, I’m not dumb enough to just throw the thing in my bad with no padding or protection whatsoever.  As soon as I made the cell phone case (see Sewing Project #1), I knew that I could do something similar for the iPad.  Of course, it’s not going to protect it from a major fall like the Otterbox would, but it’s cute and will protect it from scratches and minor damage.

I feel better and better about sewing the more projects I complete.  It’s not perfect, there are some areas where the quilting could be straighter.  I also put the velcro (intended to keep the pouch closed) too far down so it doesn’t work.  I’ll just have to make sure I keep an eye on it.

Next up?  Well…I’m working on finishing a Kindle Fire cover for my sister and then I’m going to start a quilt for my couch.  I hope to have a post up tomorrow or the next day about the Vegetable Tian I made on Christmas.  And sometime I need to get back to my work in progress (book).  That’s not even bringing up the fact that I need to make sure my new shoulder rest fits my viola.

What I really need is more time and less super shiny projects attracting my attention.  🙂

Sewing Project #1

As an early birthday present this year, my mother gave me a new sewing machine.  Specifically she gave me this sewing machine:

I had been looking at different machines that were more in my budget, my mom suggested this was not an area to skimp.  Instead, this was one of those “you get what you pay for” moments.  To prevent me from cheaping out – or suffering with the ancient Kenmore I already had custody of – she bought me this as a birthday present.

Today, I completed my first sewing project, a cell phone pouch.  I found the plan/pattern for it here: ctpubblog.com.  I settled on this project after spending way, way too much time surfing the Internet looking for a cell phone pouch that I could hang from my Timbuk2 messenger bag.  What I found was that there were certainly many cute options, but they were very expensive.  The options that were affordable usually had fabric I didn’t like or a style that was off.  I realized it was going to be much more affordable to make my own.  Another benefit was that I could pick out my own fabrics and make it custom fit my phone.

Anyone who has ever sewn anything knows that it’s very easy to get lost in the world of fabric.  There is a LOT of choices out there.  In the interest of fitting into a budget that had been destroyed by the need to get my year old dog neutered, I opted to raid my mom’s fabric stash.  As an added bonus, my stepfather was overjoyed at the prospect of at least some of the mountains of fabric stacked around his home being removed.  Bonus!

The fabric chosen for the project.

 

My first go round with the project was a crushing failure.  Like an idiot, I skimmed the instructions, but didn’t really read it thoroughly.  Instead, I looked at it and thought “Huh, okay, that looks okay, but I’m gonna try this instead.”

Predictably, I ended up with something that will function only as a glasses case.  There is NO WAY any cell phone is fitting inside that thing.  There was probably a point in my attempt to ‘sew using logic’ instead of ‘a pattern’, that I could have come back from utter failure.  I blew past that point like a gleeful child who has just spotted Mickey Mouse.

Once I was done and looked at my mess, I realized I was going to have to study the instructions this time and try again.

After quilting, before sewing.

The second time around, all went as planned.  Of course, I followed the directions to the letter.  The good news is that I learned some valuable lessons, even though the project was a success.

Lessons learned:

  1. It would be easier to attach the velcro BEFORE closing up the pouch.  It was very difficult to work the needle and quilting foot through such a small place.
  2. I would have liked to have quilted at a 45 degree angle instead of the 30 degree angle I used.  I’m not sure why it bugged me, but it did.
  3. It would also have been easier to put the button (which is just for show) on the front before closing up the pouch.  I ended up having to hand sew that on.  Of course, I’m not even sure you can put on a button using a sewing machine.

Completed pouch!

All I need to completely finish the project is to buy a carabiner clip so I can attach it to my bag.  There’s a tiny part of me that doesn’t trust the Velcro to keep my cell phone secure, but I’m just gonna go with it for now.

Next project?  I have some adorable elephant fabric that I want to use to make an iPad case.  That should be fairly easy, actually.  I also have a couple of skirts I want to shorten significantly.  I may have to do some reading before beginning that, though.

 

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, World!

What are we about here at Shiny Silver Buttons?  Anything that brings us joy.  Here you will see our attempts at:

  • Photography
  • Cooking
  • Sewing
  • Writing
  • Music

As you can see, we have no content yet.  That will change soon.  See you post Yule!