Oct 2, 2015


It has been a busy week and not entirely a quilting/sewing drought.

  •  I got the blocks done for the retreat and turned them in to the retreat organizer yesterday at the JOY meeting. I'll share pictures of those AFTER the retreat.   
  • I drew up my Quatrefoil quilt idea in EQ and then with the print out to visualing aid me mapped out my cutting directions in a document.
  • When I woke in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep for over an hour early Tuesday morning, I got up and cut the quilt out, sashing, cornerstones, binding the whole deal.   Then I went back to bed at 6 and slept till 8 or so.  Read: till Skyler insisted I get up to feed him.

  • Connecting Threads still had some of the Symphony of Blue fabric left and at a reduced rate though not quite the same shade as what I used to back this little valence I made for the master bedroom.  I had been hanging a couple of towels off the tension rod to block the across the road neighbor's constantly on garage flood lights.  One light is hidden behind a too fall foundation evergreen but the other shines right through the cord holes of the mini blind right in your face.  I thought I could do a little better than that for the nights I sleep in there or it is used as the guest room.  The fabric arrived on Wednesday and I got to work that afternoon.  It is not my best sewing though it does lay a little better than this picture makes it look.  I put quilter's dream poly batting in there which is like a thermolam weight and tried to "birth it"  That has NEVER been a good technique for me but hey!  The light is blocked and it is color coordinated!  Easily taken down and put back up in the evening

  • Tuesday afternoon I went over to the little sewing group at the church near me and marked all 96 of the little squares for doing flippy corners on the pointy section of the Quatrefoil quilt.  Have I been able to sit down and sew on them?  No, but I had other fish to fry or I would have.
I totally forgot that it was the end of the month and I still have to do the newsletter for just a couple more months.  You see, everyone was at their retreat at Shocco Springs when I should have sent out the reminder.  I thought I better wait till after their 3 days away.  But no one sent a reminder to ME that hey, it is due around the first of the month!   I had been piddling around with that off and on for 3 days and just sent it along.

Then there is doing this update on one computer and that backup on another.  I am still trying to figure out how to connect up this notebook with the desktop in homegroup but obviously have left a step out or it is the difference in the two platforms between 10 and Vista.  I'll keep emailing and attaching myself what needs to be printed, I guess, till I figure it out.   Both HP products so you would think it would be possible.

It has been damp and occasionally raining or that annoying spitting stuff.  I walked in it yesterday and didn't get too wet but ugh, the humidity.  This morning it was outright raining and I stayed home.  Little measurable rainfall in the gauge though.  I guess there is a cold front coming in across the Plains as we are expecting some lows in the 50's for a few nights but there is some impact of Hurricane Joaquin too.  Whatever, it has kept it overcast and moist all week, in the 70's.  The temps dropped down to about 72 in the house last night and the air is off as it was not running set as high as I set it.  Nice!  It is a little early to see much change in the trees and shrubs though it is subtly coming in.  The dogwood leaves are dully in color,  The ones that shed early on the lane are doing so.  The kudzu is definitely done or slowed down. 

And there are the usual household chores, critter responsibilities, walking, errands etc that keep me hopping.  I'm always washing something or somebody!   I am more of  a mind to cook or bake, you know the heartier winter type fare like beef stew or chili?  

Some month end paperwork needs a bit of attention so I'll move along now.  That and Oscar keeps coming back in the kitchen, planting himself at my feet like he wants my attention and whimpering because I am not taking the bait.   Not raining now so maybe we just need to walk.

THX for stopping by--------

Sep 27, 2015

an idea, maybe

I think this might work.

These fabrics from the last post and what I am calling my "Ellen Challenge" using WTIL donated fabric from Fabric Traditions.  Others have received other fabric bundles from what their group posts have said.  I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

So I'm thinking that the Quatrefoil block from Missouri Star Quilt Company will work just fine though I have yardage instead of pre-cuts.  I think that is preferable as there will be less waste with what I have available.

Ellen sent about 2 yards of the floral and approximately a yard of the two contrasting prints.  I'll need one or two more colors for contrast and a bunch of background.  This is do-able.   I'll do it up in EQ in a minute to get it Wrap 'Em target sized or larger.  Kids DO come in all sizes.  This will verify how many 4 patch strips to cut and just how many background strips to cut for the 4 patches.  Jennie said 9 but not sure if that covered 8 flippy corners per block.

Okay, I think I have come to a decision and am NOT waffling and changing my mind looking for the next "squirrel" to distract my attention, LOL.  Trust me, it happens----a lot.  I may not be sewing much lately but I do think about it, a lot, too much.

Oscar logged about 4 hours of outside time yesterday afternoon and I got most of the two deadline blocks completed.  You'll have to take my word for this as I cannot share any pictures of them until after the retreat next month.  The 6 inch fall (not Halloween) block is done.  The 12 inch Quilt of Valor block is almost done, just have to join the sections (4 short seams).  I chose to foundation piece both of them for accuracy but the QOV choice was mostly because of the odd sizes I would have had to cut the components.  9 divisions does not divided evenly into the requested 12 inch finished.  If I were to ever make one of these again, I would go with 1 1/2 inch strips and let it finish at 13.5.  Far easier than so many 16th's of any inch, right?

 I'll carve out a little sewing time after Oscar goes to bed or heads outside for awhile.  It looks like it might rain any minute so I doubt he is heading out anytime soon.  Besides, he is conked out on the floor near my feet here on the couch.  Meanwhile, Skyler is napping up the pass through up high.  In the evening, his go to spot is the end of the coffee table since I put down the fall leaf table runner on it.  There or the couch arm by "my" spot.

None of us got a whole lot of sleep last night though I logged about 4 hours early on. Oscar woke me up around 3 whimpering in his bed.  Thinking he needed to potty or didn't feel well, I let him go out.  He cleaned up what was left in his food bowl, drank a bunch of water, may or may not have done his business.  I was out with Oscar on the patio in my pjs  Actually it was kinda nice out there.  Cooler than in the house, breeze blowing.  We tried again.  He didn't go back to sleep, Skyle rwas roaming around  because I was roaming around. I did not get back to sleep though trust me, I tried. By then it  was about 4:15.  Whimpering and whining, again or still?  Repeat all the above but minus the food and water.  This trip, he was barking out there and I will not have him disturbing the neighborhood.   I still couldn't back to sleep and had switched to the master bedroom trying to drown out the LOUD cricket chirping sounds from outside, in the crawl space and the front bushes.  The air return sort of accentuates the noise and it is right outside my bedroom.  In spite of a closed door and window, the noise is in stereo.  Meanwhile, Skyler managed to worm himself into the master bedroom and commences to scratch, lick, groom himself.   Not conducive to sleep.  I bailed again for my own bed though this time Oscar was back to sleep and Skyler got the master bed all to himself.  It is 5:30 by then.  THX to some Motrin and exhaustion, I finally awakened at 10:15 having achieved the elusive "cool, dark and quiet" in spite of those darned crickets.  How cold does it have to get to kill off this year's crop of crickets anyway???

Worse still is this has not been an isolated incident.  I've strung a couple of "can't get to sleep in the first place" night together lately.  Friday night it was whining dog, those darned crickets and topped off by the low battery beeping of the carbon monoxide/gas detector thing. I had no idea that there was a battery even in there as DJ put the thing up on the advice of someone who came to service the furnace and ducts.   I only knock the thing off on the floor periodically when vacuuming in the hallway.  Always says "O" but that is a good thing, LOL.  Anyway, I'm thinking that the noise from notification beeps is what woke Oscar in the first place as it hurt his ears.  Hurt mine and humans are no where near the hearing capabilities of dogs and cats.  I unplugged it and took the battery out till I could hunt for a new one come light of day.  I hope we all have an easier night of it tonight.  SIGH

I see some reading ahead as a book is available now from a camellia dot (net) hold the Joanne Fluke Christmas bundle of Sugar Cookie Murder, Candy Cane Murder, Plum Pudding Murder and Ginger Cookie Murder.   I finished Catherine Lloyd's Death Comes to the Village yesterday which the librarian had recommended.  There is one other book on epub that I get for only a week more and a half finished library book to read as well.   Good thing I read fast, LOL?

Hope you are enjoying your weekend----thx for stopping by.

Sep 25, 2015

this and that

It has been raining fairly steadily today, not hard or stormy but enough to keep Oscar and I inside a good bit. It is also staying cool enough to shut off the a/c and open some windows though I had to check periodically that it was not raining IN. I finally was able to walk him about an hour ago though I had taken him out on the leash to try to get him to do his business a couple of times.  All he wants to do is sniff for whatever dog, cat or varmit might have been in the front bushes and head back in the muddy ground back by the bedrooms--like a blood hound!  A laid back day here.

I had hoped to be sewing on the required retreat blocks that I must get done by the end of the month! With Oscar IN the house I should have gotten started yesterday, in retrospect.  What stopped me?  Well, I had some things to tend to in the kitchen for one and that took longer than anticipated, mostly due to critter interference

 True to form, the minute I am busy in the kitchen and my back is turned, my naughty dog kept heading over to the gate and trying to get it open with his nose.  I told you it does not latch properly due to installation error so I bungee cord it closed.  He managed to get his entire head stuck in the gate but was not barking or crying yet when I caught him.  I got a heavy duty cord out and stuck the first one down lower and I don't think he'll be able to do that again

The 2nd deterrent, these fabrics (above) arrived in the mail.  Ellen our Wrap Them in Love leader had gotten some donation fabrics and scraps from  Fabric Traditions for our use in making quilts for kids.  Ellen offered them to our yahoo group if we wanted to participate and accept this challenge.  I figure I need something to light my fire plus I do have to have something to work on at the upcoming quilt retreat and/or quilt meetings or sew with the small group on Tuesday afternoon.  When I first saw it, my mind went to a possibility of an e-pattern I know I had bought.  I may have printed it up but maybe not so I was looking for the file.  That got to be far more involved than it should.  I've got the notebook backed up with the files from the desktop, or so I thought, but a few must have slipped through the cracks.  The desktop is so danged slow or has so much stuff running in the background all the time that you do well to turn it on and come back in a hour if you expect to use it---or print.  UGH!   I've got to look into a wireless printer some day.  Eventually with a different search of the pattern name, I was able to track down an old email and the designer did allow the file to be downloaded up to three times from the email link.   I may not use it now but it was my first gut reaction of an idea when I first looked the fabrics.  I even spotted a few fabrics that go with it as we are allowed to add whatever we want to it to make up something.  Ellen said she will quilt the top and they sort of set a deadline of November 1st so pictures of what we made can be sent on the the fabric company as a "thank you" for their generosity.  I have a couple other thoughts, LOL,,,,,and will get started AFTER those blocks are done.

I DID finally come to a decision of what to make for the 12 inch QOV themed block and the 6 inch fall themed block.  The patterns are printed up.  Some of the fabric is pulled but not rough cut.  I'll foundation piece them for size accuracy and I like the technique.  I even found one that Lois might like to do and printed it up for her from EQ.   I had taken the notebook with me to Belles earlier in the week and was still trying to come to a decision and was sharing some options I found in my files.  If not for her QOV, then maybe down the line as we were supposed to try to keep our blocks a secret.    See, you will have to take my word for it when I tell you I finished them.  I can't share pictures of them till AFTER the retreat!

There were only three of us at Belles.  We didn't stay too long since we knew the others would not be coming but it was nice to visit with Lois and Bev anyway.  Yes, I remembered which day I was supposed to show up, LOL.  I will never live down missing it earlier in the month.    Bev made this little chatelaine for me as a late birthday gift.  Cute, huh?  It has all the cute Bev touches too with the ribbon roses.  I don't know if the little pocket for a thimble showed up in this shot or not.

Lois, meanwhile, had recently returned from a trip to the Midwest and while gone, she and her husband visited Hamilton, MO and Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I think she was on sensory overload with all the lovely things in stock.  All that stuff and she didn't find anything for herself but she picked up some charm packs of things she knew her quilting buddies would love.  I had my choice of two 30's packs and picked the "Walk in the Park" from Maywood Studios, that you see above,  Marilyn got the other one as we both love 30's prints and she is making the Emily's Wedding Quilt from Fons and Porter with 30's repros.  You can download the "Aunt Gracie's Garden" pdf file there as I don't want to direct link it from here.

I love iced coffee and recently found an article in the Parade "Community Table" newsletter on how to make an easy cold brew coffee using a French Press.  They were inexpensive so I ordered one through walmart.com.  You can make up to 4 cups of hot coffee in this one as well as brew tea.   I'm going to ditch the coffeemaker and the iced tea maker and lessen up the counter space grab.  Shown is the cocoa attachment in place and before I tried using it.  I've done the cold brew and made a yummy sugar free pumpkin spice latte so far but will wait to try that frother thing for the cocoa till it is cooler outside.  The link will take you to Christy Jordan's recipe and video for making this delicious fall themed taste treat.  No electricity or batteries required either.  No filters required either.

The "new to me" recipe I tried this week was Two Peas and Their Pods "Cilantro Lime Rice" which was quite good.  I know some people cannot do cilantro because it tastes like soap to them but regular parsley would also work.  They suggest making it in a saucepan but I used my rice steamer and should have cut a tad on the liquid as I had to drain off the extra broth-water mix.  I then did a layered rice bowl deal as I had some fire roasted corn and black beans I had leftover from another use.  I shared one with my neighbor Miss Katherine as I had to get an onion from here when I found my only one on hand was bad.  Cook so little lately.  However, the cooler weather makes me want to be out in the kitchen more.  I see some loaves of zucchini  bread on my horizon, LOL.

Not much else going on.  The usual really:  walking, laundry and other household tasks.   Dortha had suggested the "tea shop mysteries" by Laura Childs and it looks like the Anniston Public Library has the whole series.  I checked out the first three and have read two and am half way through the third.  THX Dortha!  The librarian had a few other suggestions and I've got them all written up in a document so I can track them--whether the library has copies or go through camellia.net or Kindle. To break up my Monday, I had a doctor's appointment the other day but that was just followup from the colonscopy I had clear back in early July.  Yeah, I'm fine.   Come back in 5 years.   Oh, goodie!  The days go quickly and the next thing I know, it is time to go to bed though I am having problems getting to sleep lately.   I don't know which is worse--waking up the middle and staying awake for a few hours or not getting to sleep in the first place.  Frustrating.

THX for stopping by to see me----------hope you have a good weekend ahead.

Sep 17, 2015

Creeping up on Fall

 Does it seem possible that this could be the 17th of September already?  Month is half over and the next thing you know it will be officially Fall.  The computer tells me that the Autumnal Equinox is in one week. September 23rd.  We have been flirting with the idea of Fall a bit with a few recent nights down in the 50's.  Believe it or not, but I put a cotton blanket on the bed and even pulled the quilt up by morning!  Part of that was because the over head fan was on but still!  I was enjoying the huddling up under the quilt and not having to hit the deck quite so early to go walk my laps.

Now however, my new indoor/outdoor thermometer says it is 86 out.  My weather app on the phone says it is 82.  Who knows?  The old one was stuck in centigrade mode on the receiver outside but my BC pal Norma said to just double it and add 30 degrees and roughly that is Fahrenheit.  I'll take her word on that one!  All I can tell you is that I had to use a chart like everyone else in the old nurse days when we were forced to use a Centigrade electronic thermometer with those disposable sheaths.  37.0 was 98.6 and 39.0 C meant someone had a fever of 102!!

Well, even with brand new batteries in it the receiver in the living room was stalled on straight lines.  I could go outside and do the conversion thing but why?  I even took it apart thinking maybe it too had a battery but no.  All that happened is the buttons on the back fell out.  I priced them on the next trip to the store and I'm back in business.  At least the new unit is larger, heavier and less likely to hit the deck like the last one we had for umpteen years.

So the critters are obviously sun bathing a bit.  Skyler got first dibs as well, it IS his house and Oscar was the "Johnny Come Lately" as he had been up on the couch napping next to me.

 Skyler is sort of back to tracking the sun in the house though he is still not using his perch in the back of the house.  I was able to shut off the a/c a few days ago and he spent hours up on the bedroom perch in front of the opened window.   Mornings would still find him him on the "top rack" on Oscar's padded top crate.

I caught him stetching in this one.  Cats are hard to get to hold still and take a picture!  Oscar is too for that matter, as he is always wanting to nose in and see what you are doing.

Oscar is being a good boy since the new gate went up.  However, twice now when I have been in the kitchen the little booger has apparently been trying to get the gate open with that nose.  I can hear it clanging a bit but the bungee cord will only allow it to budge an inch or so, not enough for him to squeeze through.  He really watches as I go in and out or if I open the cat door for Skyler watching to be sure that he doesn't come running while I'm doing it.  Skyler jumps over it with ease but sometimes I am standing there and he's giving me the password "MEOW".

It has been a little busier week for me since I last posted.  I did the town Heritage Day as I planned.  Jane, Aline and I went to our friend's home for the visitation the same day.  Sunday afternoon we went to see the matinee performance of "Anything Goes" as we planned.  What fun there!  Pure escape-- quite entertaining.

Tuesday afternoon I attempted to sew.  I may have told you this but some of my quilting friends and some of their friends have been going to a church near here to sew on Tuesday afternoons.  Aline and Jane had invited me and I just pulled something off the shelf to sew some strip sets for a "Twin Sisters" donation quilt.  I first found the technique in one of the Eleanor Burns books---Still Stripping After 25 Years I think??  Kind of neat in that you get a two block deal about the strip set, positive coloration and a negative one.  Lois has made a lot of these with 2 1/2 inch scrappy strips and the blocks finish smallish at 5 inches maybe?   I had kitted up some brightly colored  3 1/2 inch strips and the two blocks I had done in the kit finished at 8 inches.  Bigger blocks, bigger quilt or less blocks to hit the target range though they WILL be sashed.  The technique leaves you with bias edges on the outside of the blocks if you use the book or follow the sort of tutorial on THIS POST from Vrooman Quilts.

However, sewing did not go so well.  First, even though I had brought my Jem accessories I had gone off without my quarter inch foot.  I don't live far from where we were sewing so I ran home to get it off the New Home that is set up on the sewing table.  BUT the Jem was not sewing well and had big time tension issues.  I sewed a total of two half WOF strips in effect and had to re-sew them.  I kept stitching moving up and down the tension dial and never did get a nice balanced stitch.  Get the bobbin thread right and the top looked awful and the top would get passable and then the bobbin threads were looping.  Aline said her Jem was at about 5 but no good on mine.  I came home after about an hour and half of frustration.  I have other machines, of course and the New Home is similar to the Jem.  Normally it rides in my car with the strip plugs, thread stand so I could sew anywhere I go away from home.  I even have a bag packed up that I can just grab with the thread catcher, sewing tools and machine needles.  Grab a tote and I'm ready.  One assumes the machine will cooperate though.  Color me sad.

Soon I have got to make a 12 inch red/white/blue Quilt of Valor block and a 6 inch fall (not Halloween) block for that retreat.  The organizer wants them by the first JOY meeting on October 1st.  To that end I did spend some time looking at possible fall things in my quilt software.  That looking led to renaming an entire file folder of downloaded projects to a uniform naming system (all over the map!)  so I could find things a bit easier, plus name them something besides "2015_09" and what the project might be.  If you spot, "2015_09 Fall Frolic" then it is possible to see your theme a tad easier than just opening the file, the old way.  I printed off something I think might work and it might be a bit different than what the others might use.

The QOV though??  The plan is that eventually they will be able to be combined in one or more quilts and then donated.  I bet most people will do some sort of star. I still need to track down something I had seen on craftsy or etsy that I had thought might be a possibility--and is most definitely NOT a star.  Not that I have anything against stars, I do like them but I like other blocks better.  We are already being limited by the color choices and theme does lend itself to stars, patriotic things.  I'm going to see what BlockBase has that might work.  Maybe this weekend I can squeeze in some sewing time.

The rest of the time it is has been housework, laundry, errands, walking (up to 2.48 and 2.8 miles now) and still reading.  I just got done reading an e-loan Joanne Fluke book and got recipes from the library book Fluke book I had checked out  entered in my quilting software.  The e-books I can do a screen snap shot.  Amazingly, I found Blackberry Pie Murder online at any-read dot net.  (there may be something you are looking for there so pop on over.)  This helped in getting the recipes over to the software or at least a bit less typing when it came to the directions part though I had to do a lot of editing with the spacing on the website.  I found it was easier to just enter and type the ingredients part using the library book for reference rather than copy/paste the whole deal.  Mastercook is good in that you only have to type a few letters and you can usually pull it from the menu and then it is just the amount and a letter or two for the measurement  like "te--teaspoon"  " ta--tablespoon" and c for cup.   That kept me busy for a couple of afternoons!  I finally got my on hold request for Carrot Cake Murder so reading that one now.  I think once I do the 4 listed Christmas themed ones (i'm next in line there) I will have read the entire Hannah Swensen series of Fluke books with Wedding Cake Murder due out in early 2016.  Which books next or back to the M.Z. Kelly Hollywood Alphabet mysteries??

I think one more walk is in order for Mr. Oscar since it is now about 6:30 pm and then I'll consider what I can scare up for dinner.  THX for stopping by----