Saturday, January 4, 2020

Wonky Courthouse Steps

  Off and on during the last two weeks I worked on joining the multitude of wonky courthouse step  blocks.  From my stack of 80 completed blocks came a top. 
  These wonky blocks  are from Bonnie Hunter's tutorial and I sure enjoyed building them.  The strip widths vary and not all seams are straight like the strings, but they all came together.  . 

   And anything goes here.  Close up you can see the odd mix of fabrics. But the above full view just shows a dancing top full of color.   

I really thought I would eat thru the scraps and strings.....but still more strings lie in wait. 
  I did a stay stitch around the entire top to keep seams from popping and things from stretching.  I now need to find backing, or sew odd bits together or if all else fails....order backing for this.
   This was a perfect project for me ......dealing with the extreme pain in my hands and joints.  Such that the doctor is referring me to a rheumatologist  to see if they can determine another course of treatment.  I agreed but am very doubtful they can help.   Even so this will be my first project for the year. 

  This morning's emails brought a wonderful note from Andrea who blogs in Australia   I don't follow her but she found my blog and the Chandelier Bead blocks I did posts about .   She was asking to use the block pattern for Friday Night sews for her guild.  She said many of the members make blocks and turn them into charity quilts.    I was thrilled to agree and so glad she even thought to ask.  I am hoping some of these blocks get turned into quilts for the bushfire victims there.  It is just horrific what they are dealing with. 
  Happy stitching.     

Friday, December 20, 2019

A couple of finishes

   Remember the panel quilt I started last month?

   Finished with flange binding in red with black.  I thought it really set off the "stained glass" style border.
  Once I washed it, the quilt softened up and got all nice and cuddly.  It is not large, only 48'' by 58'' but enough for a personal throw.

  The quilted texture shows better here.  I only did a large meander in the center along with some free hand outlining of the main motifs like the barn, deer and some trees.  I added a few swirls in the sky for clouds.  The center section is also outline straight stitched along the first grey border stripe.

   In the stain glass sections I used a loop and curl motif, very much like the effect in glass blocks today.
  And that red dot got washed twice  in Dawn before I put it on the back for quilting.  I can't tell you how long it has been hidden in the stash closet.   I washed the entire thing when finished with color grabbers.....yea!  No bleed.

Holiday Dreams is complete.

  And what else is lurking around here......a little walk down to the workshop to see if there is anything there. 

  Oh my.....a pair of lovely gifts I see.  Small candle holders for tea light size candles.
Sir Old Man has played around with these, being quite hesitant to attempt them.  The first ones he saw were made of simple pine and only held the plain tea tight, not like these in glass.  He claimed to not be creative.  Like I use to tell my students, don't copy: find your own voice.  It will be fabulous.

   He dug through his scraps of wood, glued some up and cut things out.  Sounds like a quilter's process, doesn't it?
   I ended up ordering the router bit that was large enough to cut the hole to fit the glass tea lights.  And I ordered new scissors for!

  Sir Old Man added the final detail all on his own.  I think he found his voice now.  Sanding and rounding over the edges was good, but he went one step further.  He added another pass of a different router bit  to create a foot at the base with this relief edge.

Two finishes make you feel so much better!

  As for the iphone saga......It did require a 4 hour trip to the phone store.  But it was solved with a full re-load of the software! Thumbs up for Apple. 
   No new phone purchase required.  I now have to sort out all the apps I use and get logged back on to them.  I am deleting those unused.  And sorting thru the nightmare maze of passwords.  As for the big provider called ATT....2 surveys filled out with only 1 star review given.  I wrote my saga on both surveys and included details about the less than helpful guy at the store.   All of this frustration over a software glitch.  Technology the bane of our lives. 
I am heading back to the sewing room after this.  I need a breath of fabric and thread.
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I met an angel today

  The season has rushed in upon me.  Some things got done, others left undone.  I thought I would be really making a lot of progress but instead I have only been limping along.

  I have been working on putting those crazy wonky courthouse steps blocks together.  They are in rows of 8 right now, with more to come.  I have to admit they really suit my mood and state of mind right now.  Nothing has to match....whether seam or make these work.

   This morning was a big disaster.  My plans were to bake 2 types of breads and then sew this afternoon.  Simple and pleasing.  Instead I got an alert from ATT that my usage was way, way over the limit.  HUH?

After 3 hours on the phone/chat with someone who lives who knows where, I final got transferred to someone who tried to help.  Another hour, and I was told to visit the store as the phone needed a physical fix.  A trip to the store front and the guy told me I needed a new phone.  He couldn't repair it.  Too many $$ and he walked off.  Believe me they won't like my survey answers.

  So we then headed to the Apple store at the mall.  Picture a completely full parking lot zoo, and suddenly a handicap parking space empties in front of you!  OK, something good here.  Unfortunately, the mall was a mass of bodies and I paniced in the middle of the food court.  By the time I got to the escalator to go down, I was having a total melt down/ panic attack.  Sir Old Man was not in much better shape at that point.
    A gentle soul, surely an angel sent to help us, was suddenly there.  She lead me to the side of the walk, got a chair,  and sent Sir Old Man for a coke.  She talked gently to me until things were under control.  Dallas was her name, and I doubt she will ever know what a magical moment of safety she gave me.  Thank you sweet lady.

  As for me, I am now home and phoneless for now.  Sir Old Man will venture to the Apple store tomorrow for help.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

With Gratitude

  The last 2 weeks have been a mix of projects and dealing with medications and insurance.    Sir Old Man  hit a point that he needed medication adjustment....emails, office visit, new Rx, discontinued medication, etc.  Then to come up for review for insurance just before the holidays!  Finally we think we have it straightened out but he will return to the doctor for a check in 2 weeks.  This getting older is not for the weak-hearted, or the soft-minded!  You need a thick skin like a tough old bird to reach this stage of life. 
  With the Thanksgiving season nearing, I tried to find the time/make the effort to get thru with my banner.   I got the quilting done and finished the binding this week. 

  Such a timely sentiment that needs to be viewed and thought about each day.  I have elected to hang it on the pantry door, as I must pass by it 20 times a day at least. 
  I quilted it with a mix of meandering and some swirls for texture.  I had intended to use straight line quilting, but after 2 rows, I stopped and ripped it out.  It was just not what I wanted. 

    I am grateful that Sir Old Man had a can of New Skin spray----think super glue in a spray can.  I made a nice slice in my thumb when chopping apples.  It was  more a flap of skin type cut and hard to stop the bleeding.  Glued together, and dinner finished and no trip to the ER. 

Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors   I am grateful for my new scissors.....the large handled Kay Buckley ones with the serrated edges.  Believe me they are wonderful.  Relief for my poor hands and wrists.   I actually just order the next smaller size for a Christmas present for me----to save Sir Old Man the shopping trip.  :)   I am sure he will be grateful, too.

  We are not planning any feast, so I am grateful I can cook a few things and not stress over a big meal. 
  I am grateful to be almost finished with the quilting on the seasonal panel quilt.  I am liking how it looks. 
   To my blog friends far and wide, I am grateful to share with you.  I wish you a joyful, thankful day and week fill with fun, food, and family.   Until then, happy stitching. 


Friday, November 8, 2019

From panels to tops

   Working away and making a huge mess in the sewing room.  I will have to take a few days next week to get things back in order.

  First up......from Panel to top is the seasonal throw.  The color is not good on the outer is all in gray tones.  It reminds me of looking out thru a window with stained glass around it.  I have the red dot backing cut, washed and pressed.  Ready for pinning to quilt.  The binding is cut and ready to stitch together. 
   It may have taken a couple of design tries to get this one figured out....but I feel it was worth it. 

  In between putting this one together I worked on more of the wonky courthouse step blocks.....I have strips everywhere. That's the part that I need to clean up before going further.

  Second panel to top.....this is a small wall hanging.   When the inspiration hit for this one 2 days ago,  nothing would do until I started.  I mean I could not concentrate on anything else.
 With all the crazy madness going on in the world I find it too easy to fall into the  habit of being bitter and angry.  I am here, I am alive.  I am able to do things, and I can think for myself.   I need to focus on all the good things I am....all the things to be grateful for.   I want to begin each day with a grateful heart.

The center was part of a pre-printed panel I got in North Carolina.  Surrounding this sentiment with my floral squares was natural.  Combining two things I love.....words and flowers. 
  Right now it is pinned to the design wall.  I will decide how to finish it off once I get the seasonal top quilted. 

       This morning was the day......for shopping for new chairs.  The air cylinder took it final gasp on my sewing room chair, and Sir Old Man had been practically sitting on the floor in his office chair.   I tried researching them on line and realized, I needed to sit in the chair.  I needed a higher one for the sewing room.  If I sit higher and have the correct 90 degree angle for my arms, I do not get a back ache. 
   so after sitting in almost every chair in the office store, we found one.  Just one, and of course it was the pricey $$$ one too.  With a name like Tempurpedic of course it is.  Lol.  I sit high now :)

  It was so nice to be out and see the trees with some color.  Freeze warnings tonight so the leaves will disappear quickly now.  I had to pull out my wrist supports again.  I am grateful to have them  when the inflammation gets bad.  Of course, I have been over doing it.  I will take the weekend off.  Stay warm and happy stitching.   

Friday, November 1, 2019

New month with a project

  I turned the calendar over to a new month and I am shocked to see how little I have to show for the last month!  I worked on a few small things but nothing to completion.  So, to remedy that I have been quietly working on a seasonal quilt.
  When we went to NC for apples and upholstery fabric for the window bench for Sir Old man,  I saw so many beautiful panels there.  I will admit to being a panel or pre-printed snob over the years. came back to bite me as I came home with several different panels.

   These pre-printed place mats were just waiting for me.  And they were on the clearance discount table.  As far as I am concerned you can't beat blue and yellow,  and the design is done.  I just have to finish and quilt.  There is a strip of smaller designs too that could be turned into mug rugs to match. 

   Then I saw a small  section of six of these panes.....also on the clearance table.  I thought they would be good for a table runner maybe.   Or just maybe a small throw.  I have been looking for inspiration on Pinterest as to how to set the blocks together.    A plan is a good thing to have in advance.  Read on and you will understand.

  This is the seasonal project I have been working on.  The center print is a winter scene that is very retro in design, almost a 1950s style print. 
  First thought.... I could surround it with log cabin blocks.  I won't even show you how bad an idea that was.
  Second thought.....border it with a braid strips of mixed blues, grays, gold, and red.  I even got so far as to sew two sides on when I realized I was hating it!
  So after unsewing and sweating it out a bit, I decided that simple is best.  I went with the stained glass look.  Or I should say the random stained glass look.  The inner border is mixed colors and sizes, and the outer is all in grays with a stray smaller block mixed in to make things fit. 
   I learned that my math skills are very rusty.  Every time I tried to figure out the sizes for the sections, I came up with something different.   So I just cut, and fitted and fudged where needed.  A whole lot less stress that way.  If you are looking for perfection, it left for better places. :)   I have 2  last sides to add and then I can look for a backing.    I might just manage to get this done before the cold settles in here. 
   Happy stitching.   

Thursday, October 24, 2019

From the workshop---Window Bench

    Even though I seem to have been asleep here lately, Sir Old Man finished a project recently.  The window bench  to match the bed.  You can see it is already being used :)
  We made the trek to the apple orchard last week with a short stop at Foam and Fabric  to find  fabric to  cover the seat cushion.    I found some fabric too....but I will save that for another time.

 On to the details......

  The wood is cherry to match the bed.  No stain was used, instead he fumes the wood.  The natural wood reacts with the ammonia and darkens to a rich patina in a few days.  Then a sealing finish is hand rubbed in and sanded down.  In this case, 3 times. 
   The stretcher bars have a slight curve at the base, and the end slats are wide. 

   I love the small detail he added to the end of the end post.  It's a much softer effect than just squared off.  Sir Old Man adjusted the original pattern to fit the space under the window.  And before anyone asks the original pattern is from Wood magazine October 2010.  No idea is the pattern is available anywhere else.   

  This photo is probably the truest color for both the wood and the cushion.  The cushion is 2'' high density foam wrapped in a double layer of batting.  It is stapled to a 1/2'' piece of plywood which is screwed to the frame. 

  So.....ta-da!  A beautiful addition once again from the woodworking shop of Sir Old Man. 

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