Friday, June 23, 2017

Heading for the edge

  Nothing like approaching the end of the month and realizing you have ignored, and evaded the one goal on the list from last month!!!  The task  was  to quilt the 9 patch quilt that has been sitting patiently for me.  I figured a bit each day and I could finish it up by the end of the week.

  I was zipping about on full cruise control mode, and I could hear a difference in the sound.  And then a tug.  I looked up and noticed the spool of thread was almost empty.  Close enough to the end, to make me head for the edge of the quilt.    I would rather change spools while on the edge that run out of thread in the middle.
  And I figured it was a good time for a break.   I needed to clean the bobbin area, and  to add some oil.  That change in sound is the signal of either lint build up  in the bobbin, or that the thread has slipped out of the tension disk.

  One other thing I worked on this week......I cut strips from the fabric I was gifted over the weekend.   Browns, tans, black and gray with a touch of blue will make a manly color scheme.  It's a bit narrower than I wanted, as I only had about 30 strips.   My florals would not have worked with it.  Florals......ah, maybe I should do one with all those strips I have stashed.

  So I will be quilting for a few more days......probably all weekend.    Actually that sounds like a good plan.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From the Workshop---pullout shelves

  I have a large kitchen with lots of cabinets, and unfortunately only one bank of drawers.  Drawers are important to me now, as the bending over, stooping, or almost standing on my head is dangerous for me.  It could lead to losing my balance and a fall.   So I have been doing the wifely trick of whining :)


Yesterday Sir Old Man began installing the first set of 4 pull out shelf drawers in the island!  They are full extension drawers with 4'' sides.  And they retract so gently and smoothly.

   The corner construction of the drawers are important.  It is a double lock joint. A long story to explain.
   The intention was to used half blind dove tail construction.  It is a pretty detail, and it is a strong joint.  Sir Old Man assured me about 3 weeks ago that he could whip them together in  a couple of days at the guild workshop with the new jig and equipment there.  

   Off he went.  The first day he returned home after 8 hours with the comment the router was acting up.   Being the nice person that I am, I let it slide when he said tomorrow he would be finished.    The second day he reported that he spent about 4 hours on the phone to the company about the jig and router, etc.  I said..... what, nothing is done.  UMMMM.....and you need more wood???    I am leaving a lot out because this is  a nice post but it was clear that the equipment was useless and costing me money for wood.  Sir Old Man is a nice guy, likes to help, was a service engineer for 35 years and thinks he can fix anything......and he almost can.
   What followed was a long discussion about taking care of our projects and not trying to repair the guild's equipment.  He is not paid to do that, and the maple for the drawers costs money.   Plus, I told him I had a computer and credit card and had found a site from which to order the drawers.  Cost was about $1200 .   Sir Old Man made the wise decision that pretty dove tails were not that important and he could make the wonder, strong double blind joints in his own shop.

    So these wonderful pull out shelves can hold a lot of dishes and bake ware.  The specs say up to 80 pounds.  And now those items that get stuck in the back of the cabinet are fully accessible.  And the good news for Sir Old Man.....only about 10 more to do!

   A great job from the workshop!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Small projects and an addition

  This week  I worked on putting together 2 small projects that were unearthed recently.
   I found a huge pile of 3 1/2'' squares and it made sense to make wonky stars to go along with them.   Star points are long, or fat, match or not.....that is the fun part of this technique.  I thought I had 12 stars but only 9 were found.  That is fine....just add more squares to get a nice lap size.   If I add a border it will make a good donation size single quilt.

   String blocks in two sizes were used to up-size the raw edge flower blocks.  The inner blocks were 6 1/2'' to match the flower block size.    Then I added an insert border strip of 1 1/2'' in purple :)  The outer border is 4'' string blocks that were left over from some long ago project.  I did not have enough to go all the way around----and even if I did the sizing would have been off.     So rather than have to cut something off and make it awkward,  I centered the strings and added enough neutral fabric to finish each side.    I love the soft effect the string blocks add to it.

  We made a day trip to see our daughter who was in Charlotte for the weekend.  We met at an antique mall in Belmont, NC.    I had not intended to look for anything special but this small china cabinet jumped up, hooted and hollered, and hitched a ride in our van!  Of course it is re-purposed and not used for china, but for place mats, table runners, and my stack of mug rugs!  A candle and a few cookbooks found a spot too.
   Oh, yeah....the visit with Deana was great!  Actually, she wanted the cabinet, but she must wait her turn for ownership.  We enjoyed the browsing and time together.  Lunch at a BBQ place across the street was a good thing too.

She gifted me with more fabrics....from her estate sale ventures.   Fat quarter packs--one of batiks,  a charm pack, along with some yardage pieces for backings.  Always fun to see what she discovers.

  The high heat and humidity seem to have moved in for the  feels like August and makes me so draggy.    Therefore, I have not been too productive.  Plus, my brother and nephew arrived for a week.  It is always good to enjoy Remy's antics and energy!   Today, we are off to do some errands before the heat causes me to melt.
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Easy sewing and guild night

  More discoveries in the stuff/stash/bins from the sewing room lead me to some easy sewing over the weekend.   I found 10 sample blocks from workshops that I taught several years ago on raw edge applique.  Not enough for much of anything by I  pulled out the string bin and found some neutral blocks to add.   Right now it is 22'' by 28''.....borders to come.

   Stacks of 3 1/2'' squares from past projects got turned into wonky stars.  I had seen Elizabeth's tutorial on these, and my scraps fit the bill.  I found some light fabrics and set to work.  I ended up with 12 star blocks and some extra dark squares that I will throw in somewhere.

  Last night was guild night......special guest speaker was Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads blog.      
  Our VP, Susan, introduced Diane with a long version---maybe even exaggerated on me---about how she came to invite Diane to speak.  The upside was I got the treat of 2 small project bags from Diane that feature graphics from her quilts!  It pays to blog and promote others!

  I also picked up her book....a new one is in the works.  She shared all the quilts from the book, and her secrets to a successful scrap quilt.  It is always a treat and glorious to see the actual quilts.  Real life is always the best :)  We got to see the backs of each one....all the extra touches and cute labels.

  She has a colorful viewpoint and offers different hints throughout her talk.  Hints also through out the book, and coloring pages in the back for each design.  A great touch.

   I asked about her fabric buying.....she is not into the precuts, other than fat quarters---lots of those--buys yards of a favorite fabric, saves the selvages (the cutest basket quilt in the book uses them),  and mixes fabric lines.  In other words, a quilter of my kind!  I completely enjoyed her show  and have the inspiration to sew on.  Thanks, Diane, for a great evening.

    Health note:  I am feeling better, and have given up on the nerve pain pills after 3 weeks.    I hate the weight gain and sluggish feeling they give me.  So  I made the decision to increase the B-12 shots to twice weekly for the next few weeks......I am hoping to get past this plateau and that the nerve pain will lessen.  I am sleeping better and trying not to over do.  When you hit the wall, and there is no more energy, stop for goodness sake, stop!  But I know me....that is a battle I may never win.   Accept my limits but keep getting back up.
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Painful season

  Returning after my leave of absence......While I have been reading some blogs, not much else has been done.   It has been a painful 2 weeks, as nerves seems to be healing/reawakening in my feet and back.  On the one hand I celebrate that I can feel anything including pain, and on the other hand it makes me irritable and cranky.   Changes in weather seems to stir things up even more, and this is the seasonal time for weather patterns to shift and storms to appear.

   Yesterday was a bit better, and I kept looking at the wall hanging project I took on for the quilt guild's boutique.   Happy face pumpkin---a Daisy Kingdom printed panel-- needed binding.   I had appliqued it to a large hunk of dark green polished cotton that I found lurking in the stash closet.   I decided not to add the dimensional parts after I did the applique.   I used a thin batting  to stabilize the whole piece.  For the quilting I added the puffy polyester batting....ugh to work with.  But it gives a lot of relief to the quilting stitches......and it was fun to do some playing on the machine.

  With lack of sensation in my fingers it is difficult to hold a needle and would be needed to add a hanging sleeve.  I opted to add huge, big diagonal corners to hold a dowel or stick.

He should be cute on a covered porch  or front door for the fall season.

  Other than a few sting blocks, I managed to make a few mug rugs. These will also go into the guild boutique at the show.  Using printed panels again, I kept them quite simple with minimal stitching.

  I finished one book, started another, made a few loaves of bread, pulled a few weeds, enjoyed the back porch, and annoyed Sir Old Man to no end.  This painful season is making him crazy, but gives him incentive to work on the pullout shelves for the kitchen.

  Truthfully, I am improving, only much slower than I like.  Energy level is up a notch, stamina has come up a tiny bit, and the biggest gain is in my cognitive functioning.  Read that as brain/mind/understanding, etc.  That alone is happiness, as it has been a long road to get here.   The brain fog moves in occasionally, but I am able to overcome it by focusing on one thing.  I still "lose" words in mid-sentence, but I cope better with that too.

   I have to do the necessary things before the pain creeps in.  That does not always leave much time for things I want to work on.  Instead I grab those few minutes when I can for all the projects I want to do.  I only take the nerve pain pill at night because I can not function during the day with them.  Tylenol can keep the pain at bay some days.  Pernicious Anemia has not won yet:)

  So for June, I will once again keep a simple list.  The only thing I am putting on it is to quilt the nine patch top that is pinned and ready to go.  Anything else I  begin, plan, or work on is gravy.....something extra.
Happy stitching.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Rail Fence

   Floral rail fence blocks were my stitching project last week.  This pattern is about the only zig-zag pattern I can do now......chevrons make me dizzy usually.  I completed the half dozen blocks needed and then put it all together.
Not a lot of thought to this and it was perfect to keep me busy.  It's 48'' by 60'' right now.....undecided about a border.

  And a small watercolor got sewn.  It needs a border and maybe some applique.  As it is the size is 15'' by 21''.....about the size I have students work on in class.

  I had a couple more emails about patterns for watercolors.  I don't have/sell/provide patterns.  But if you look around at photos, magazines, books.....there are plenty of inspirations.  It is not really possible to capture an exact picture but they do provide a great starting point.

For instructions....visit the pages listed under the blog banner.  I have links to posts for information, and fabric selection.

Visit Whims for watercolor kits and packets of fabric strips.    Since variety of fabrics is needed for one of these projects, I think their strip sets are the way to build up a collection to start.  They are the only place I know for watercolor kits.

  Or the organizing side.....I can now see the floor in the guest room.  Not the bed, just the floor.  I am not sure all the fabric will fit back into the stash closet, so I am taking my time to figure it out.  Who needs guests anyway?
Enjoy this holiday weekend.   Happy stitching.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bread from the oven

  Well, this has been a long, rough week since the work crew was here to fix our foundation problems.   I was quite stressed Friday as they were working on the sewing room which proved to be the worse.   The back corner of the house sits on solid rock it seems.  I had visions of sliding down the hill, but all is good now.  So I can quit with the nightmares.      A doctor's visit went well....all is fine after the ultra sounds..... a load off my mind.  
  So Saturday began the return things to their place......clothes closet cleaned out and sorted,  moving machines back into the sewing room, and dividing up the books.  Needless to say I over did and had an energy crash.  It is like running into a brick wall and not being able to take another step.  Sunday was the B-12 shot and a slow return to moving again.  That said I am still in the slow long process of restoring things to normal.  It will take me another week probably to get there.

    And........I had a mess with the blog this weekend.  A windows update did me in again I think.  Or maybe a combo of Windows/Google/Blogger did it.  I got signed out or knocked out  of blogger, could not get back in, was assigned a new email address and on and on and on.  I finally figured out how to get signed back in and then got the "fake" email address removed to find that my reading list on the dashboard was gone!  So I know I have missed quite a few blogs as I tried to add ones back in.  Then dear Gene  let me know I had become a "no reply blogger".    So this morning I tracked that down and got it fixed.    All this to say, I may miss some of your posts, but I am working to return to normal

   And on the bright side, I have a sour dough starter going!  A successful batch it seems.  I decided last week to try once again, since I wasn't able to do much else.  This morning was day 7 and it was very active.  Note:  I started with one bowl.   By day 2 I could tell it was doing well, so instead of discarding the excess, I started a second bowl.   I followed the King Arthur Flour formula to get here.

And here is the first batch---fresh from the oven---- smells so good.  I think it will be a sandwich night for us.
I will put one starter in the refrig and feed it weekly.  The other one will go on the counter for now for a few loaves to share with the neighbors.

  I found my iron this afternoon and plan on getting in the sewing room in the morning for a little while.  I want to at least press the watercolor and rail fence top that I got sewn.  I'll just keep getting back up and won't let these things keep me down.  Life is too short, sew on!  Happy stitching.
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