Apr 16, 2014

Day 5 What is Your Superpower Stitching Hop

It's here!  It is my featured day along with some other talented blog hop participants. But first, a big thank you to DMC who is sponsoring this round, a good tie in since they make such lovely floss, perle cotton and all those good things we stitchers love.  Did you see their cross stitch pattern for Super Emma on Tuesday?  What fun!  Of course, Mdm Samm of sew we quilt is the one who comes up with these great ideas.  This round  Pauline of The Quilting Queen is our head cheerleader.

Once you get done looking at my attempts at photography, then I hope you will pop on over to see what the others have done today.


So what is my Superpower?  Like the others before me, none of us seems to want to brag about ourselves or maybe imply perfection at any given task.  There are things that I enjoy doing like cooking and baking, though I have found that is more fun when you can share the results.   I always try to do my best on any stitchery,  sewing project or knitting project that I undertake. However, I find there is always something that needs tweaking, improving, more practice.  Well, you get the idea.  Not going to brag or claim to be an expert.  You think that is a woman thing or just how we were raised??

I didn't struggle long finding something I wanted to stitch up.  Good old Google and an image search led me to this design from Verna Mosquera of the Vintage Spool of the We Love French Knots blog.  I decided to do mine in representational colors rather than the lovely pink Ms. Mosquera used.  Here is a closeup shot of the roses and a bit of the spool done up in variegated floss.  I also used a mix of floss strands to work the parts that were to be metallic.  (Sorry about the shadow marks)

So I stitched the motif all up adding my super power which is stitching, of any kind really.  I love to do "redwork" embroidery but I also love to sew and quilt, even if production has dropped off dramatically in recent months.   I won't get into the why though faithful readers know already.   I chose not to narrow my options and just said "stitcher"

I intended to turn this into a wall hanging but at the last minute decided to make a tote bag instead.    I did not have enough of the red fabric because it was originally to be the  outside border!  I did a search through quiltshops.com for sewing related fabric which led me to the Henry Glass "And Sew On" fabric line and placed an order through Sauder's Fabric.  However, I had bought plenty of the scissors fabric since it was supposed to be the backing with a little leftover for the stash.  It became the interior and accent color instead.  I had a black scroll like print for binding but elected to go with a separation of colors with jumbo rick rack instead.  I have a small stash of black and white fabrics for a sometime down the line project so this will not go to waste.   If anyone wants some of this black jumbo rick rack, let me know as I have a ton of it!  Why did I think I needed three rolls????

I looked at several patterns, took suggestions from my pal Norma via Skype and then ended up with this two tone fabric tote from Make It & Love It  .  I believe she suggested using some fusible interfacing or some such thing to give it a bit more body.  I did not have any nor did I feel like chasing around the county to get any either so I elected to quilt the top layer only.  I did not use their methods for the straps either and by that time I had to piece them to even squeeze them out.  Also it made more sense to me to leave the opening for turning the lining at the very bottom of the bag interior than up along the top edge where errant stitching would show.  The side would have worked too, like you would do with a vest.  Some days those old sewing lessons from Mom come in mighty handy!  BTW, the camera angle is making this look un-square.  It is evenly cut!  You can see the stitchery a bit better in this shot though the pictures is a bit dark.

 long beauty shot on the neighbor's fence

Closer in

Now, did you see what I did wrong??  When I boxed in the bottom of the bag the prescribed two inches, the word "Stitcher" disappeared about right where you see that crease.  What did I say about bragging on yourself? Those words will reach up and bite you right in the backside every blessed time, LOL.   It looks good from the back side!

No complaints about the pattern as written.  The things I tweaked were personal choices.   Had I used this pattern before I would have known to shorten the top cuff and got more of a red print frame around the stitchery. My first thought was to use it as a pocket on the bag but that was before colors were switched up.  I am a bit mathematically challenged at times so I may have still had a misstep along the way.  Let's call this a "prototype"  because I can see trying this again for a knitting bag.  Think I can find a motif to embroidery with yarn, knitting needles and all that???

No matter, I still like the bag and will use it to cart my bag of stitchery around.  Right now I have three different projects in there----a Bird Brain Easter piece that is marked but not started, a basket block from Bee Tree Designs in greens and a Bird Brain Designs "Snow Happens" in blue.  This is large enough to hold my entry in last years stitchery blog hop that I posted about HERE.   I like things to be used in a practical manner, after all!  I'll post the two main pictures of the stitchery organizer from March 2013

opened up but the camera angle is making it look "un-square"   errr un- rectangular

 Folded up in my embroidery kit with all the stitching goodies inside

So why are you hanging around here, LOL?  Hop on to see what the others have in store for you!  Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you enjoy the remainder of the hop.

Apr 15, 2014

another day

 Look who is in the house---and in jail.  Doesn't Oscar look like he knows he is in trouble?   We had a repeat of doggie missing and back up at his old house, under the fence, although not bothering the other dogs.  Glynda says he is acting like a different dog since he has been down at my house.  Not on the attack as he had done before when they threw their hands up in frustration.

Because of the rain, and now rain and cold blustery winds, Robert did not get the hole in the corner of the fence tended to.  Oscar apparently had no trouble moving that brick I tried to wedge into the opening.  He also had problem squeezing past the milk crate either though I didn't know that right away.  I took the leash up, walked him home, went in the shed to get the cat carrier for just temporary. Poor little thing was shivering in the cold.   Those few moments of inattention gave him time to get out of the yard again, run up the street and meander around in their back yard trying to get back UNDER their fence.  I walked him home again but this time he went in the cat carrier till I could go get him the dog crate.  It is going to be down in the 20's tonight possibly.  It appears that he won't stay in the yard or the dog house at night if he has an escape route.  He seems fine in the day time but must just get lonely at night.  I would only use the crate at night or if there is bad weather and he needs to come in.

I hate having to contain him but I honestly do not know another way.  He can see me, less whimpering, and I can get him out for feeding, walks and romps in the backyard but you better believe he is not going to have access to that hole unattended.  I parked myself on the milk crate and took him off the leash to romp around twice since I got him back home.  He does not seem to "get" that he is supposed to do his business while we were walking though and I was hoping he would .

 I've got to keep him separated from Skyler obviously.  I moved his food bowl into the master bedroom and the litter box into the master bathroom for now.  There was a bit of growling, Skyler humping up and staring and not venturing too far into the kitchen.  Guess we'll see what happens tonight and tomorrow.  Weather is supposed to be warming up to the 60's tomorrow whereas today, 40's (but feels like 30's) and now that it is getting later in the day, the sun is coming out.  Weather dude says that will give the cold front a chance to drop the temps like a rock.

Other than pet related activities. I have not done a whole lot today.  I had barely started the blog hop yesterday--looking at the first two blogs---so I got caught up with the girls today.  It occurs to me that I have to prepare my blog post for late, late Wednesday "go live"  and all I have are the crappy pictures I took last week.  After two days and about 2.5 inches of rain it is pretty soggy out in the yard.  You would not believe what I have tracked in on my shoes, or maybe you would.  I seriously need to dust up (ugh, yellow pollen) the house, sweep, vacuum and mop!!  But will I procrastinate?  oh, I think you know the answer to that one, LOL.

BUT I would rather sew, of course.  2nd column is now done.  Third one is pinned but not stitched.  Maybe tonight?

Apr 14, 2014

this and that

And another Monday rolls around.  It has been raining off and on, but nothing torrential, only about an inch in our rain gauge.  Yesterday they had issued flash flood warning for a period of time from this morning clear into tomorrow for a big chunk of Alabama.  For the sake of those still dealing with the aftermath of that last flooding, I hope it does not come to pass.   Then I guess we are plummeting down to the 30's overnight.   Considering it was 61 when I got up this morning, that is quite a drop.

My day started off around 6.  I woke up, Skyler appeared from wherever had been and looking for his treat bite and crunchies.  Next I loaded up Oscar's bowl and took it out to him.  No Oscar to be found.  I traded in the jammies, robe and slippers for some clothes and walking shoes  I suspected that he had gone back to the neighbors but I did not hear the other dogs barking or spot him outside the fencing.  I kept watching and looking for him.

About that time Robbie (the neighbor's adult son who lives in a double wide on the property with his lovely bride) calls out to me---
Robbie: Mrs. J, are you looking for Oscar?
Me:  Yes, I am.  How did you know?  (I was carrying Oscar's leash)
Robbie:  He's in the back yard with the others.  I went to put Rocky up and there he was. (Rocky stays indoors overnight but when he and Emily head to work he goes in the backyard with the other two dachshunds and a poodle mix)

So let me get this straight.  The dog escaped from one back yard only to crawl under the fence at a different back yard!  When I took him walking after that episode, this time from a different direction, I spotted where he had gotten his little happy butt out.  I tried to ram a brick into the hole and placed a milk crate in front of it till Robert can add some more deterrent, more bricks, a dirt pile or a combination therein.  Robert said with it raining, Oscar would stay in the dog house.  We have gotten two walks in in spite of the dripping.

The Calico that I started calling "Mamacita" had her babies on Saturday sometime.  When Miss Kathryn put out some cat food for her early on, she was still expecting.  When next spotted much later in the day, she had had the babies somewhere but no one knows just where.  Glynda said she had come from the direction of the nearby subdivision.   She is back to making her rounds in the neighborhood.  In fact, I had barely gotten Oscar put back in the backyard before the rain came and there she suddenly appeared.   Skyler of course, is always trying to see what is going on and I have to keep him from trying to go out and Mamacita from getting in, LOL.   Both of them intermittently meowing at me to get my attention.   ......... And that is how the day began, so different than it once was.

I got started, finally, on the Fiesta fabric quilt kit Sunday afternoon.  This is column 1 completed while column 2 is partially sewn and pinned for joining the sections, into sort of like 4 blocks.  I'll get back to it this afternoon.  Pretty simple quilt, really but fun to play with these bright and cheerful fabrics on a gloomy, damp day.

You like my "design wall"? A blank section of wall about 76 inches across, floor to ceiling, with no furniture in front of it. Nothing on the wall---yet.  I will probably hang some flannel on a rod with some command strip hooks or get a vinyl flannel backed table cloth up there or some such thing. For now, the painter tape will work  especially since I have been far from prolific in the creative department.

Other than the early morning excitement it has been a quiet day. Hope it stays that way.

Apr 10, 2014

what a day!

I started out the day determined to finish up with the state tax forms after working through all the medical/dental bill stuff to itemize those deductions until almost 9 last night. Even Skyler was getting tired of that routine and just wanting a cuddle. When I finally flopped on the bed on my belly with the cell phone in hand, he was trying terribly hard to get me to roll to my side. He wanted me to lay down next to me and I just was NOT getting the message at first! The circling and head butting finally convinced me.

I just now finished with the filing, ready to mail it out in the morning. I kept on goofing up the forms when I was trying to copy the data over. Then I started doubting my math.  On  re-examination I decided that "yes, my taxable income was minus 300 some dollars". I could have done fillable forms but there was just too much stuff to add on and write in.  You know how stinky java script can be sometimes! At least this year I did not start printing several copies and then find that page 2 was upside down. Then when you try to reprint said java script  would make me start all over on the fillable part. GRRRRRR.

About 9 this morning I got a phone call from one of the quilting pals.  I expected the call as I had offered to print off some foundation sections for a block she is working on with small flying geese and a square in a square center.    That's it below, called "Illinois" block.  (The JOY Quilt Guild is working out of the Eleanor Burns' Pioneer Sampler book with a series of classes and a chance for the more seasoned quilters to mentor the beginning or less confident ones.)  We had discussed this at Belles on Tuesday. Donna said it would Thursday morning before she could get over and we did not set up a time then.

 At the meeting we had talked about her attempts to use the Eleanor Burns flying geese ruler---she had not offset the centers enough and was going to try it again since the ruler will be needed on other blocks in the book.  Turns out she was using the smaller ruler that makes 1 x 3 or 3 x 6 geese sections.  I was like, wait a minute!  Take a look at the block that is supposed to finish at 12 inches.  The math is off.

Basically it is a souped up 9 patch or a 3 x 3 grid.  That means that each section of a 12 inch block should measure 4 inches when sewn into the block.  She needed the ruler that has 2 x 4 inch geese in combination with the 4 x 8 one.  I found a duplicate ruler in my quilt supplies so was happy for that to find a new home with Donna!

While I was waiting for her to come, I was outside looking for the expectant neighborhood calico cat to come on over for breakfast.  No sign of her at that point but I had a suspicion she was hanging around up at Glynda and Robert's since that is where I normally see her come from.   Lately when she sees me come out the door, she comes running.  Occasionally I have to call "kitty, kitty" but then Skyler comes running too, LOL.  I heard Glynda hollering at one of the dogs, a lot of barking and one of them in distress.  She turned the hose on them, got Robert to come help.  I'll get back to that in just a minute but Oscar was really in the dog house!

In the meantime I started up the road because I needed Robert to help me with a problem I had with the front door when he had time.  He was just getting into his truck so I flagged him down as he got to my driveway and explained the situation.  I had gone in through the front door yesterday using the key on both the deadbolt lock and the regular lock.  Something happened that evening that deadbolt would not line up and the bottom lock seemed to be jammed.  I could not get the door open from inside the house--at all.  What's more, I didn't know if it was locked or not.  Since the storm door was snap locked inside, I could not try keying it from the outside without causing possible damage to the storm door.  He got it popped up from inside with a screw driver. If it does it again, I will know what to try first before I panic.   A little WD-40 all around and I am back in business.  I had visions of having to replace the locks, the door and whatever.  Easy fix, great!

 He said he was off to get some work boots.  I asked what size, same as DJ it turned out, so it was worth looking to see if he had any out in the shed.  I had given away any shoes he had to the Baptist Service Center last month so I knew there was none in the house.  No work boots outside but he could use the overboots and galoshes in his concrete work.  There was also a metal cutter of some sort that I passed on.  We discussed a few other yard work issues and he went on his merry way with my thanks.

Donna came over and while we were talking quilt in my sewing/computer room she asked me who had put in my laminate flooring.  Robert, I said and you can ask him if he would be interested.  Here is his number.  By that time he had returned from his errand and was out unloading his stuff from the vehicle.  I called him over so they could discuss what she needed etc.

Robert asked if I wanted a dog for backyard protection.  Turns out Oscar had attacked the younger of the three dachshunds for the 2nd time in as many days.  They were going to have to find him a new home or take him to the pound.  If he did not do well in his own backyard with 4 other little dogs, then he would not do well at the pound.  Glynda said it was like a case of two against 1 and he was the odd dog out.  So I inherited a dog but he has to stay outside for now.  Robert brought over his dog house and filled in a spot near the gate that he could have gotten out perhaps.  (We have a fenced in back yard.)   I put a rug and blanket in the bottom of the dog house and drug out the water bowl we had gotten when some strays adopted us temporarily.  What does he eat and how much?  I went off to get the food, a collar and leash.  We'll see how it goes.  I mean, I like dogs and all but I am more a cat person.

But how can you resist this sweet little face?   He has yet to bark at me but I did hear him this afternoon.  He has a sweet deposition.  Already got some doggy kisses.  He and Skyler met through the front door when I was walking him around the yard on the leash.  No snarly or hissing ensued.

While I was out in the back yard,  Skyler was overseeing the proceedings.  I could hear him in the house meowing and crying like he does when he knows I am outside.

And, the oldest of the three azaleas is in bloom.  I spotted the lilac first from the kitchen window yesterday.  Little did I know but the azalea was also flowering.  It got a bit cool like in the upper 30s last night so I hope the plants are okay.  I cannot see the azalea from the house as the big old gardenia bush blocks it from view.  That bush looks dead but it is a bit early for it.  If it is gone, then Robert will get it yanked up like he did with one of the ones in the side yard.  Parts of the lilac might have to be trimmed out a bit too.

DJ had babied this lilac for years, supplementing the soil as they are not native to Alabama.  All I could think of yesterday when I first saw it is how excited he would be to see it come to life.  The azalea too.  He might have hated it when I called him Farmer Alfalfa but he did enjoy tending his plants, watering them daily.  Much better green thumb than I have.  I might have said something about the hanging plant in the kitchen will be lucky to survive my lack of attention and he has had that thing since the early 80's.  LOL, he would be amazed to see me pulling weeds out of his rock garden area in front as I never did any of that to help him.  He was the outside guy.

Well, I need to go see if Miss Calico is ready for supper.  Maybe walk Oscar again, make sure he didn't dump over his water or something.  Skyler is stretched out on the bed as he got too hot in his window seat.

Tomorrow I AM going to sew on that quilt kit.  I deserve to do something fun, just for me, after all that tax mess.  Sheesh.   I'll probably post again tomorrow as Belles did meet on Tuesday and Lois had some quilts to turn in.  Always fun to share those!