Monday, December 10, 2018

More of those blocks

  Don't say that "S" word around this part of the country......I heard the stores sold out of milk, bread,  and eggs in a few hours.  It's a southern thing to panic when you hear the weatherman say that. 
  Luckily we were on the lower edge of it all and got plenty of rain, mist, and then the sleet came.  All night I could her it pinging on the windows.  I am sure there was some heavy snowflakes mixed it, but we ended up with a thick crust of probably 2 1/2''.  Today it has hovered above freezing and a lot of melting has occurred, but the word is the roads are a slushy mess.  We will wait it out tomorrow as there will be a lot of re-freezing tonight.

  I worked on some blocks that had been cut out already.  I talked about these last week.  Strung together on-point and they resemble beads on a chain, or baubles on a chandelier.  Hence, I am referring to them as Chandelier  Bead block like I found on Pinterest. 

  So I am just playing around with these for now using a white or cream background. 
I wonder what light colored squares would look like on a darker background....just a thought.

  And because I know I will get questions......
   My block is from EQ7, the Uneven 9 Patch Block.  I simply removed 2 opposing corner squares, increasing the bottom and top background strip to the correct length. 
  The size I am using will give a 6 1/2'' unfinished block. 

Recipe  for block:
 Cut from color fabric
    Center square is 3 1/2'' by 3 1/2''
    Two corner squares are 2'' by 2''

Background:  Cut from white/cream
   two strips 2'' by 3 1/2''
   two strips 2'' by 5''

  You can easily make these larger, begin with the center square and do the math:)
I think they would be good in Christmas fabrics even. 
Happy stitching.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Cactus and woodworking

    Time to decorate I know.  Just a few items came out this year and we are using the simple small pre-lit trees.  Sir Old Man hung the door decorations. 

  I spotted this lovely red blooming cactus at the store this week.   I have several cactus---purplish pink, and peachy tone one.  But loved the red for a change, even if the red fades as the blooms age, it looks like holiday to me.


  Sir Old Man has been working on serving trays for gifts and this is the first one finished.  He has been experimenting and arranging wood strips for several weeks.  I think this one is walnut, maple and cherry.


    Different combinations give a different look.  He tries to make me pick a favorite and I can't.   They are each special and unique to the wood combination.
  The photos don't show how satiny smooth they are.  He hand rubs the finish in.  No stain is used after he fumes the wood to give it a mellow patina. 


   I was feeling much better after the weather cleared and spent a bit of time in the sewing room..  I added a few more blocks to the Scrappy Trips on the wall.  I love how you can not predict the result, you just never know what the outcome will be like.  And yet, it always seems to work.  Those crazy fabric combinations  can highlight and hide the ugliest of fabrics. 

  I spent some time cutting parts for more of the Chandelier chain blocks.   And woke this morning with pain...severe tendinitis pain in my wrist and thumb.  Guess that is a no-no......and combine it with the bad weather ---could be rain, or sleet, or snow----heading our way, I may be out of business for a few days.   I already feel it in my shoulder and feet. 
  I have cookies to make for the holidays.    And fruit cake bars were/are  in the plans for the weekend.  Maybe I can sew up the parts I already cut, and then teach Sir Old Man how to safely use the rotary cutter if I need extra. 
Happy stitching.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wrapping up the month and a new block

   Things have settled down and I actually have been sewing a little bit.  Over the last week I have had several emails checking on me---thank you---and a couple of emails sharing projects.

   Lesley had emailed me  back in the spring this year about the heart design I had used in the strip pieced watercolor tutorial. 
  She followed the tutorial and  used 6'' blocks.  This is her design in progress. She wanted it a bit larger, so she added more blocks.

   And the photo of the finished quilt on the bed!  I think she did a wonderful job and turned this design into her own.

  Then I heard from Nirosha, who is from Sri Lanke, and is interested in making a water color quilt too.  She said she was not sure she could do it with her basic skills.  She included photos of a quilt she made from dresses she never wore.
   I don't think she needs to worry about her skills, as that piecing looks very good to me :)   And a second photo shows the lovely floral print on the back.  I hope she saves the scraps for a watercolor project.  Her eye for design is impressive and I like that she is self motivated to try.


And in my sewing room.......

  I have begun joining the parts of the leader and ender Jewel Box Star together.  And today I hope to sew them together  in rows.  It is not large, probably 36'' by 48''.  Small for me, but with borders it will be a good throw. 

   And then I uncovered these blocks....along with about 12 more sets of strips ready to sew.  This is from about 3 years ago, I know.
  The blocks are about 9'' unfinished, so I may work on getting this very scrappy  Scrappy Trips done. ...or at least turned into a top.

     I was looking for some very easy sewing/cutting  to do, when I ran across this design on Pinterest.     It is being referred to as Chandelier quilt block.   It looks like a string of beads to me.
  I went to EQ7 and found a block called Uneven 9 Patch that worked perfect for me.  I just eliminated the color in two opposing corners.
     I kept the size simple to use up what I already have cuts of....2'' strips/squares, and 31/2'' squares.  Works fine for me, even if it is not the exact size or whatever in the modern pattern.  This version will be scrappy.

   A little sewing, a little baking, those are my plans for the month to end the year.
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Saying Thanks

   There is a saying  that says "it's going to get worse before it gets better."  As much as I would love to deny that and proclaim it false, there in lies some truth.  

   My health issues are autoimmune, meaning my body is constantly attacking itself.  In the case of Pernicious Anemia it all seems to multiply because of the multiple organ and body systems involved.   With neuropathy, there is a slow, very slow healing that is possible......and the last nerves damaged or harmed are the first ones to be repaired.  I won't bore you with the millions of miles of nerves in our bodies, but say instead that  it is a long and winding road to travel.  

  So you guessed quietness here the last few weeks is due to a backward slide.   Balance issues, weakening grip, hip pain.......enough!    I won't go on, but want to just say thanks, and  be thankful, and be grateful, share some hope for a brighter day.  

   Two years ago, I had no feeling in my legs and feet.  Today, I feel and I feel pain more often than not.  Yet, I will count it as a blessing as it is a movement to return to normal.  

  Thanks to Darlene at Quiltshopgal for her suggestion for the Lidocaine patch and roll on for pain in my hands and hip.    I really appreciate the help.  

   I am thankful for the cooler nights, a little frost and sunny days.   A favorite spot this fall with a favorite quilt to cover me as I sip hot tea and read a book.

  This week I am planning the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.....feast of food, family and friends.  Luckily Sir Old Man has developed into a passable helper and does the heavy lifting and stirring for me.  I could not tackle it without him.  

  With a few weeks off, I hope to return to my projects soon.  Until then, I am sending Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all.
Happy stitching.  

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Apple Bread recipe

Be forewarned, it takes a while to put together and an hour or so to bake (depending on the size pan you use).    The original recipe I found is from 1982 Southern Living cookbook.....Fresh Apple Loaf----we just call it Apple Bread!

4 cups peeled, grated apples
1/2 cup raisins---optional
1 cup sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
  •  Peel apples.......I like Red Rome apples.  Once peeled, I give them a dunk in a  lemon  and water bath----about 4 C water with 2-3 tablespoons of lemon  juice until ready to grate.  It keeps them from turning brown.  Drain before grating.
  • Grate the apples.   I use a large food processor to speed up the process and save  my fingers. 
  • Place grated apples, raisins, and sugar in large bowl.  Stir and allow to sit about an hour for the juices to run.
3 C of all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sift all dry ingredients together.
2 eggs
1 cup butter.....2 sticks, melted
2 teaspoon vanilla
  •   Once the juices have run from the grated apples, add the dry ingredients.  Mix well.  
  • Add vanilla, butter and eggs.  Mix well.
Grease 2 loaf pans----9'' by 5''.   Spoon the batter into the pan and bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  
If I make smaller size loaves, I  check to see if done at 45 minutes for the mini loaf pans, and at 1 hour for the mid-size loaf pan.   I use a long wooden skewer to check to see if this recipe is dense and moist. 
   These loaves freeze well.  I wrap them in fold and then bag in ziplock type bag.  Perfect served warmed and for breakfast or snack.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Apple farm trip and an email note

   Cooler temperatures finally settled on us this week.  Not really feeling like color at all in the trees, but we have had much lower humidity and nice breezy days.  I pulled out a few seasonal runners and wall quilts for a change from my summer assortment.
    I have been struggling with the neuropathy and so only minor sewing has happened.   I am not sure if the neuropathy in my legs or hands  has any improvement ....things are different.  Especially in the feet and legs, which has greatly affected my balance and standing.

  Anyway, we took a ride up to Apple Valley to the apple orchard.   It is  a beautiful area and the day was perfect for a trip.  We bought up a bushel of Red Rome apples for Fresh Apple Bread, and then selected a few other varieties to share with the neighbors too.    Baking day for the apples begins on this weekend.

  On the way back down the mountain, we stopped in at Foam and Fabric to find some upholstery weight fabric to recover our bar stools.  I only picked up a scrap bag for $4 and a new seam ripper.   I need one with a sharper point to un-pick short seams of sub cuts for a scrappy trips project.

  Scrappy Trips project......I have two bins of assorted strips of 2'' width.  I got tired of string type blocks, so I turned to a "kitchen sink" pattern.  That means anything goes.  No photos as I am in the sorting and grouping stage.  I really need to clear these strips out.  I will continue with the leader and ender---Jewel Box Star---as I work on these.

  In the email in box this morning......A nice note that gave me a lift.
Kathy originally found one of my quilts on Pinterest, and followed to my blog.  She was planning a watercolor wall hanging for her son for his wedding.  Apparently she had already cut squares to 2 1/2'' and began to have challenges as she was developing her design.  She asked for help with sizes, and blending.
   I gave her all the info I could in an email, and referred her to several spots on the blog for more details.  She promised to send photo of her finish.  That was several months ago.

   Today this arrived.
Made by Kathy
Made by Kathy for her son, who is an architect, and his new wife.  She could not find a pattern for this concept, so she designed her own!

 She also use batik fabrics adding a detail in cross stitch. 
Her finished size is 24'' by 36''. 
Viewed from a distance, the glow from the base of the buildings is striking.   I can almost see the specks of light in the buildings as day begins.   She captured the skyline against the sunrise behind the buildings.  I absolutely love it. 
  Great job, Kathy, and thank you for sharing your finished project. 

  A total stranger finds my blog, asks a few questions, and the back and forth dialog begins.  And I have a new person to help and touch.  Little do these folks know just how much they help me, give me purpose, provide me with a reason to stand longer and fight on.   Thank you.
Happy stitching. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

This week and another hurricane

   Not a lot of sewing done as I have been waiting to get my eye exam done.  My old glasses were just not helping and quilting is made difficult when you can't focus :)   So the exam went doctor because my very reliable doctor has retired....sure am missing him.  And new glasses are ordered for reading.  At the optometry section, Scott suggested low mag generic readers for watching TV or driving......tada!  They work great and saved me money.  Just waiting on the close work reading glasses to come in. 
 In compensation, I pulled out a small set of string blocks.  These are a mixed batch of 8'' I made up a few more to add to the stack.  Once I get them squared up, I hope I can figure out a layout and get a top sewn.   My string bin is getting low....and that's a good thing. 

We made a stop into Big Lots a couple of days ago.  And look what I found.......clothesline rope for $4!  That is half what it costs at the hardware store.   This brand is just slightly stiffer and maybe slightly thicker, but will work great for more bowls and trivets. 

     And then the appearance of the super hurricane Micheal happened.  This boy grew up quickly and made a beeline for us.  We woke up at 2 am this morning to pounding rain and very strong gusts of wind.  And the good news is......Micheal is a fast mover and will fly on out of here by early afternoon.....leaving us with 5 inches of rain.  We still have power  and life will return to normal rather quickly here.  But those poor folks on the Carolina coastline are in for more rain which they do not need. 
    Thanks to all for checking on us......happy stitching. 
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