Monday, October 31, 2011

Monkey's boat blanket.

So probably almost a year ago I saw a couple ladies make a quilt or boat blanket for their hubbies. Since then I've been saying "One of these days I'm going to make you a quilt." Every underway, "I should make you a quilt..." and nothing ever comes of it. Well, this time is the perfect time, if was ever to actually do it. So I started what was come to be known as "Project overly-ambitious".

What started out as a loving, fun craft project turned into an all consuming project for three weeks! I almost didn't get it finished in time. Thank you Mom for all your help! I couldn't have finished it without you! Also, while I was making this I had all my other stealthy-wife things to get together for him. (That's another post)

I had big plans for this blanket. One of which was to make a fleece-lined foot pocket. However, once I got the pocket made, I realized that i would have to quilt it to keep the lining from stretching out and sagging. And after 30 minutes of frustrated self bargaining, i eventually had to give up on the idea realizing that I just didn't have the time to do it right. So, the foot pocket was sadly, left off.
The features that did make it on though, include: a pocket from one of his old utilities shirts being used as a quilt square, ties/ribbons at the foot of the blanket so it can be bundled up all nice and neat for traveling and tidy stowing, a hand sewn heart on the back of the blanket so that "my heart is always next to his", also several patches and name tape and fish. 

In the end some things didn't go according to plan, but I took my time and wanted it to be good quality over anything else. I know it's going to get tossed around a bit on the boat and I wanted it to hold up. But, just in case, I'm sending him with an emergency repair kit so he could patch it up until he got home. I'm realistic, i know that it could very well get damaged during the underway. Though, of course I hope it doesn't.

As much as I enjoyed making this, it fought me the whole way, between the craft store cutting my fabric crooked, to my machine not being able to handle quilting the final blanket, to it just taking 4 times longer to do anything than I thought! I put in somewhere around 50 hours on this project. But it was worth it. I am very proud of it. And, it's super cozy!

Everything except the NWU fabric. I had to order it because he said I could have a pair of this pants (though he didn't know why) and then changed his mind. Did you know you could get the real deal online by the yard? I actually cut out most of this fabric while I was talking on the web cam with him. He just couldn't see what my hands were doing!

That's 140 squares of fabric. I had an evening to kill at a hotel room, so I ironed all my squares.

And then laid them out to find a "random" pattern that I liked.Do you know how hard it is to be completely random, on purpose?
I used one of the pockets from his utility shirts as a quilt square. So he has a functioning pocket on his blanket! Handy for his ipod or phone alarm, etc.

First Squares go together.

First two strips go together. yes, I use A LOT of pins! I just wanted it to be straight. I'm also a super slow sewer because I don't trust that the machine will go straight.

We had to come up with a color coded pin and numbering system because I had no choice but to work on it later in the evening, and we started messing up the order of the squares and strips because we (my mom and I) were so tired!

All the squares were sewn together. From here I added a border, then cut the back, basted the batting in place and sewed the front and back together. It was finally becoming a blanket! One of the patches was a hat patch. Tried my hand at sewing on the patches. Just to make sure they stayed on, even though they had an iron on backing. It did fine on all of them except the round one. (Which, I don't think i have any pictures of)

Finally all together. I think it's gorgeous. The batting I chose was really nice and it made it drape really nicely. It feels wonderful to cuddle with. Of course I tested it for a night. ;)
My sewing machine decided in the 11th hour that it was tired and refused to quilt more than 6 inches without breaking the thread and/or jamming. So, I had to give up and do the hand tieing method. They were trimmed much shorter than this and didn't look too bad when it was all done. They were actually barely noticeable. Here you can see the basting pins still in place, and the gold ribbons for tying the blanket.
I hand sewed a fleece heart to the backside of the blanket near the top left. So that no matter how far away he goes, my heart is always next to his.

And lastly, inside the pocket i tucked a little ducky and another heart, so he always has his Ducky Love with him. (Cause he calls me Ducky, or sometimes Ducky Love.)
The quilt all bundled up. So pretty.
Monkey seemed to be impressed. He said I did a really good job. We slept under it that night. I hope it keeps him nice and warm while I'm not there to hold him. And I hope it makes him feel loved when I'm not there to tell him.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I don't even know what to title this.

Man, where to start. It's been a hectic few weeks and a crazy last few days.

I've been running around in every free second that I had getting everything I needed for all my super-stealthy-wife-surprises that I've been working on. I cannot reveal them yet because I haven't given them to him. But, I have taken pictures and there (probably) will be sharing.

Two are done. The other is almost done, but has been giving me grief from the very beginning. It has taken me four times longer than I anticipated. I'm about 40+ hours into it. And if I could finish it the way I wanted to it would be another few hours on top of that. Unfortunately, my entry-level equipment can't handle this project. So, I have to finish it using a less than desirable (for my OCD) method. Already I've had to fore go a really cool feature because I didn't anticipate the characteristics of my sub-straight. (Am I being vague enough here?) So, because time is an issue and I'm going for quality over quantity, I had to leave it off. I might be able to add it on later, but it's not quite the same.

AND on top of all that personal rah rah, I've had a crazy crazy crazy last couple of days at work. One of our project managers up and left with no notice and it seems a bunch of account info and files went with him right before some big client deadlines. So, we're all in the midst of sorting that out. Also, it happened to be the last week that we had our freelance production artist in-house, and our creative director was out of the office at an event, so all of the crazy landed in my lap. 

Things have finally calmed down today. I have tonight to finish my stealthy-wife present. Deep breaths. 

More updates about other things are scheduled for later. I'll be back on here more coming up.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Early Christmas Present

Last night we were at a guitar store picking up some cables for Monkey's mixer and I spotted this pretty purple guitar. I have always thought that guitars are just beautiful and have purchased more than one just because I liked it even though I barely play. I used to take lessons in grade school but I never practiced so that didn't last very long. I've been meaning to get back into it but have never made time for it.

But, I was REALLY in love with this guitar. Monkey asked me if I wanted him to get it for me, but I told him I couldn't ask him to buy something like that for me. I couldn't justify getting another guitar unless I was taking lessons again. I think he could tell how much I was in love with it, so after a few minutes, he told me to go pick out a stand and some picks. He bought me the guitar and lessons for the whole time he's gone. :) I love this man.

My first order of business is to learn some Colbie Caillat. One of his favorite singers. I'm starting with "Bubbly". I'll have a few months to get pretty good and show him what I've learned when he gets home. Wish me luck!

Navy Birthday Ball

On Thursday I FINALLY got to go to a Navy Ball with Monkey. He's been in for three years and we missed all of them for one reason or another.

It wasn't as fancy as I'd imagined it would be. But, considering it was on base and on a Thursday, I suppose perhaps this wasn't one of the big ones? Sub ball is in the spring and I'm pretty sure we'll be able to go to that one. I'm told it's a bit more of a party, since it's all Submariners. And, I'm already all set so there will be no stress. (Well, LESS stress anyway) Since, I already have my dress for that one.

Anyway, we had tons of fun and even got to dance a little. We got in some cha-chas, a swing, a bolero, and a teeny bit of foxtrot. We would have stayed all night, but eventually the DJ turned the ball into a nightclub and there wasn't any "danceable" music. We got a few compliments, which is always fun. Sometimes people get annoyed that we're taking up a little more floor space than everyone else, so we try and keep it small. But, people seemed to like it this time. :) Plus, Monkey looked SO adorable dancing in his dress blues. Unfortunately, the only pictures i have of that are of him dancing with someone else's wife. He was teaching her to hustle. Next time though, i will make someone take pictures of us dancing.

Well, let's proceed with the pictures, shall we...