May 31, 2016

Another Tuesday, end of month

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone for 2016.  Tomorrow we flip the calendar page to June.  Time is flying when you look back anyway.  Some days drag for me, but most don't.  Today will seem long because I woke around 4:30 and then just gave up on trying to go back to sleep a little after 5 a.m. when it was clear it wasn't happening.

It is another hot, dry day.  I believe we are probably behind on our rainfall totals for the year as it seems to rain so seldom around here.  Robert my neighbor who mows my lawn for me told me that I should start watering my yard as he is not getting paid.   It crunches when you step on it and is all brown particularly since the clover is drying up.  Nothing has come in to take its place except for tall weeds shooting up here and there.  The county finally mowed along the main hard road which looked like pasture land almost but it looks ten times worse since there are chewed up sacks and debris from the litterbugs along with dried out grass stubble.  Some of the trees are dropping leaves already but the kudzu is thriving.  Without the lawnmower running over there were shoots probably at least a yard long along the row.  I grabbed them up and pushed it back on itself the other morning when I was walking Oscar.  Of course, he wanted to go burrowing in there after whatever critters and creepy crawlies are in there.  I should have taken him around to the backyard but I seriously did not know it was THAT bad out there.  I keep forgetting to take the cutters down to the end of the lane with me as it is spiraling up the street sign again.  I think I could get at the responsible section where it begins to coil but long pants and insect repellent might be a good idea first!

What have I been doing since I last posted?  Mostly working on Aline's Disappearing 9 Patch top.  It IS done since I put the double border on it yesterday.  The goal was to get it bigger, which I did.  I had thought about getting a mix of colors from her leftover squares but I think the all blue works better especially since it was the yardage I was given to complete the task.  It measure 55 x 69 where the blocks set block to block would have been just 36 x 48.  I like the chaining effect across the quilt.  

Skyler was not being much help yesterday while I was trying to get this done though.  He would not get off the pressing surface.  I even broke for lunch, walked Oscar and he was still parked in the same spot.  Not bothered by the iron either.  When he did get down, then he wanted to climb on the quilt top on the machine table as I sewed or on my chair when I got up.  I knew better than to try to strike the vertical measurements if he was around and closed the door!!    

Oscar was being as good as gold though.  I am trying to wait to walk with him once the pavement has cooled down a bit.  I think it is too hot for his paws.  Glynda said I was welcome to walk him on their acreage just to keep off the road.  We would have still have  to do a little bit of the asphalt to get over to the open grassy areas.  I might.  He just stops, chokes himself on the leash, tries to turn into Miss Kathryn's or just plain turns around and heads me towards home.  Now, at about 5:30 in the morning no such problems or once the sun gets below the tree line he steps lively.  I picked him up yesterday  and started to carry him as he had balking about moving forward or backwards.  Robert saw this and asked if Oscar was having problems/couldn't walk--no, just tired of fighting it and carried him across the lane and to the grass though even he was pawing gently on the dry ground.  Must be what he wanted.

I am going to wait to sew on my Floating Squares till this evening when the group meets.  This morning I pressed  the binding for Aline's top and one of the Ribbon Candy tops.  I had ordered some green fabric for it and it had come in after I slogged through all that other last week!  As I looked at the storage containers with the binding all rolled up for the pending pinned or going to the long arm quilters, I realized that I had not made any for the Beach House Charming Boxes.  There was some yardage left, just enough as it turned out after backing two tops with it.  Only thing left of that bright orange is some scraps  from making a couple blocks and a 3 1/2 inch strip WOF.  I seamed and pressed it so I think I'm all set till I quilt them/have them quilted.  

I also stacked the block components for the Layer Cake Lattice top I had cut out a week ago.  It calls for the layer cake to be sliced into 4 1/2 x 10 rectangles and 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 rectangles.  I cut a bonus 2 1/2 inch square from the bottom of the shorter rectangle for another project (Granny Square centers, anyone?)  Since I layer cut all that, those were still in piles of 4 as I had left them.  Not anymore though!  This will be my sew at home project and use the old Singer I have set up while the Floating Squares was started on the New Home which I drag round in the car with me.  If I don't feel like sewing I can mark squares on the diagonal for another project.   Seas the Day that uses a Daysail Jolly Bar from Fat Quarter Ship---might go to one of the great- nephews at some point.  (We recently found out that one of the babies expected this summer is a boy while Lily is going to be a big sister before too long!)

Then there is always the tempting and inspirational things you see online---I like both of these and do have the stuff to make my version of them.  Love the summery colors!

The maker Ms. Berg called this purchased pattern "Sparkler Quilt" by Freshly Pieced  and I spotted it on Facebook on the Sew Interesting group.  She said she used a Benartex Transitions jelly roll by Sarah Vedeler.   I know it by the name "Grandmother's Windmill" and have one kitted up in 30's fabrics, maybe a few blocks done.  It is one of the 12 containers atop my bedroom entertainment center.  I think GE Designs has a similar version she calls "Strip Joints"  Might be one extra strip to hers above the motif though.  

This one was posted by Missouri Star on their Quilting Deals site on Facebook and the pattern is Surprise Pinwheels.  The maker credited there used Flow by Zen Chic for Moda.  I have a couple of charm packs of it but I think this calls for jelly rolls.  Well, I should say I HAD a couple.  I dug into them to make a couple of blocks for the group Charming Boxes.

I also saw a very beautiful version of GE Designs Square Dance in batiks.  I have one block done on that.
As you can see I have no shortage of ideas or stuff to sew and play with.  

What else?  
  • The rooster who lives across the main road and annoys the heck out of me escaped from his coop this morning.  Saw him strutting across the the driveway when I let Oscar out to potty.  I couldn't call his owners to let them know since I don't know their name let alone their phone number.  Hard telling where he ended up but I could hear the hen cackling when he was roaming free.  
  • Miss Kathryn's son has a boat now and caught a mess of fish this last week so I was invited to a fish fry on Saturday afternoon.  
  • Binge cooked and prepped on Sunday.  I tried something called "Do Nothing Cake" as I am waffling about what to take to the guild potluck this week.  I am not sure I like the texture of it and don't even taste the pineapple in it.  I shared some with Miss Kathryn to get her take on it.  At this point I think I am just getting a vegetable tray and calling it "good".  At least I can use the leftovers here at home.
  • One of my back lower crowns has fallen off on Saturday morning. At first I could plunk it back on there but it needs to be secured.  I'm afraid I am going to either swallow it or lose it so when it came off for the 3rd time yesterday, I left it off and am trying not to chew over there and damage the post it sets on.  No answer at the dentist office and no answering machine.  Odd!  I went into town a bit ago and sure enough they are taking the week off.  Wait a week and try again.   I had a couple of errands to run in town anyway.
  • My nephew's baseball team the LeRoy (IL) Panthers made it into the Elite Eight--though they call it super sectional now.  That is the furthest the baseball team has gone in school history.  The girls softball team fell in the regional but ditto for them.  The team that beat them is moving on to the final four I think I read this morning.
  • Signed up for a basket weaving class at the library.  Should be fun. I've done it before in an adult ed class in Illinois but that was some time ago.  Made a couple of egg baskets then but the one the Dixie Weavers Basketry Guild is going to share with us looks way different with a wire handle.  Wait and see!
Guess that's about it.  Till the next installment----thanks for stopping by.  I'm off to play with some fabric soon.

May 27, 2016

Checking in

My two critters conspired to get me up at 5 a.m.--and stay up.  Oscar has not been happy to go to bed in the first place but usually will settle down to sleep.  Last night he was almost frantic and whining in his bed so I had to let him out to potty about midnight.   That was not the problem apparently as all he did was go out and bark, disturbing the neighborhood.  Same thing at 5 a.m but by that time, the rooster was crowing across the road.  That have been part of it.   Frankly, I am at a loss to know how to handle this whining and not wanting to go to bed.   He cannot be roaming around the house at night unsupervised.

Of course, once Skyler sees me up he starts meowing to be fed and such.  It worked.  I tried going back to bed but that only lasted about 10 minutes as Oscar was whining.  I can hear him even in the bedroom with the door closed and fan running.  I prepped my veggie tray, made some iced tea, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned some stuff out of the fridge since it was trash pickup day.  Then I got dressed and walked Oscar, walked my laps all before has been a long day already!

I spent a big chunk of the morning pressing binding.  8 or 9 quilts worth.  One bit was pieced for 2 or 3 quilts so there was miles of that one to deal with.   Have you ever tried this trick?  I think it might be from Kaye Wood, maybe.  Slip a long pin into your pressing surface so it overlays the folded binding but does not go INTO the fabric.  Then place another one about the width of the soleplate away from the first.  Then a little tug on the strip with the iron down folds and presses the binding.  You still have to fiddle with it a bit to keep the fold straight but your fingers will stay away from the iron itself.  No burns or dealing with hot fabric or steam (if you use it.)  Later I switched to two longer doll needles when I melted the head of a couple of the flat daisy pins.  That worked better!

I roll the binding as I press over leftover cardboard bits, just like Joy taught me, and either slip it into the folds of the quilt or I have a container where they can be "filed".

Belles meet earlier in the week.  I took my Climbing Roses top (personal project) to pin and had the pinning table all set up and my top half pinned before anyone else got there.  Bev helped me finish up. We are getting low on batting right now and I wanted 80-20 for the ones I was going to quilt.   I ran through Walmart on the way over to our meeting place.  A 72 x 90 one could be halved for two quilts.  We pinned two of the Ribbon Candy tops which morphed into 4 of them.   Lois had two tops as well so we traded off.  I had more batting in the car so asked the girls if they were up for doing two more.  Actually Margarita needed some help with cutting and advising her about her project sashing.  By the time I turned around to help they were half done with it!

We broke for lunch and some of the girls left but Brenda, Jackie, Margarita and I went back to the church.  I cut out the Layer Cake Lattice Quilt I mentioned in the last post.  Brenda need to trim down and square up a t-shirt quilt she had picked up from the long arm quilter so she could bind it.  Jackie was keeping us company and had met us at the restaurant.  Margarita continued to work on her block pre-sashing I had been helping her with.  She was clear on what to do next so we called it quits around 2:30.

Later that evening I prepped two quilt backs.  I'm taking two tops to the long arm quilter when JOY group meets next week.  Charming Boxes is already to take to the guild president as well.  That was part of the reason I was wanting to get the bindings all readied.  That and now all the sudden I have 4 more pinned quilts atop the armoire.

I had batting bits leftover after pinning those 5 quilts earlier in the week.  One trim-a-way section was perfectly sized for another of my tops (Beach House Charming Boxes).  The rest I patchworked together with that knit seaming stuff but I had enough for another top I had stored in the closet.   I don't know if I have a picture of the completed Fiddlesticks top or not but the link will take you to a partial view.  I started it two years ago almost but 2014 was not a good year for sewing, like almost non-existent.  Those will be ready to haul to the next Belles meeting to pin.  NOT that I am ready to quilt any of them!!  There are other tops hanging in wait, including Lily's quilt but what was the point of pinning them??  I prefer to sew, not quilt and that wasn't happening either.

After I clean the gunk off the iron tomorrow, I HAVE to work on Aline's top.  That and Oscar really needs a bath!  Two things on the list.  No, wait make that 3 things.  Miss Kathryn called a few minutes ago and said Paul and a friend had caught a mess of fish so fish fry on Saturday.  I am supposed to make some Comeback Sauce like I did last time, per her request.  No problem, I've got all the ingredients on hand.  She said Paul added more hot sauce to his but that's okay---just don't add it to the bowl that others are dipping some out of, LOL.

I hope you all have a safe Memorial Day weekend.  It isn't about picnics and sales but time to remember those who served and went before us.  If I were in Illinois, I would go visit my husband's resting spot and decorate his family's graves as we often did together.  If I went up there without him, once we moved, I did the honors for him.  This video is moving, including the music of Ryan Kelly of Celtic Thunder fame, with some images that make you think what this is all about.

THX for stopping by.

May 23, 2016

This and that

Let's see what have I been doing since I last posted??  This and that probably describes it fairly well.  I had a routine doctor's appointment Thursday morning and then met a friend at our meeting place to help him pin a twin sized quilt.  I offered when he mentioned that it was getting too big for his normal basting methodology.   Happy to help him out as no one needs to be crawling around on the floor and killing their knees if I can help it!!

Friday was not a good day for the fuzzy headed.  I thought it was getting better and had talked to the doctor about it the day before.  He seemed to think it might be med effects and possibly my B/P med might be need to be changed if it continued--check my pulse and b/p and see if a pattern emerges.  Well, I was really rocking and rolling.  Gait disturbed more than anything.  I stayed on the couch like a lump.  Thankfully, by Sunday I was able to get back to my walking regime after laying off for the better part of two weeks.  Now stay away, will ya?  Not welcome here!

 I should probably be sewing and specifically sewing Aline's D9P blocks together but I am in a holding pattern before I get any further along than placing the blocks on the "design wall".  She wants it bigger and one way to achieve that is to sash them.  I have some stuff her daughter's sent me--a soft yellow like her small squares and then a light blue for an outer border.  I think maybe too light with the bold teals, greens and purples.  She is still recuperating from her recent injuries and family members are there to help.  Might be wearing her out!  I told her call when she had a few spare minutes for me to run out for a consultation, LOL.

Meanwhile, over the weekend I have been digging around in the closets.  At first it was just to switch some of the long sleeves and jeans around in favor of my summer wardrobe.  Read:  a few things more than bike shorts!

Then I was off on a treasure hunt and looking for quilt backings for some of the recent top finishes.  I thought I had all the Ribbon Candy tops paired up but I forgot one.  I did have some yardage set aside  but initially I thought that it was going for a different top.  I want something else for the binding though.  I had a list started for Connecting Threads anyway as I discovered I do not have quite enough yardage for the queen sized Pixie Stix quilt from the GE Designs book Strip Your Stash  (or alternately, one called Quartet on craftsy.)  I need to get another yard or two of the denim Quilter's Candy Mirage I had previously purchased.

I also puzzled over which gray was which---Moda Bella Solid has a Gray  9900-83, Zen Gray 9900-185 (I think!) and Fog  9900-282.   One might be a tad dark but the Fog might be perfect for a challenge quilt I need to work on in the next few month.  Since I had the invoices and could check past orders, I believe the storage methodology is straightened out.  The hangers are labeled if it won't fit in a project box for now.

How about a choice of Hay 9900-104 or parchment  9900-39 or Snow 9900-11?  What is really the difference between Bleached White PFD 9900-97 and white 9900-98 anyway?  Would it hurt if you mixed the two in the same project.  I am trying to keep them separated for now.  Making my head spin.  You too, no doubt.

I found something I can use to back the Charming Boxes but it will need to be seamed.  I've got a little time before our quilt meeting to get that together.  It is a striped fabric and NOT horizontally either.  It is waiting over the machine which still needs to be de-linted and bobbins wound, needle changed before I start on any sewing.  Working with pre-cuts makes for a good bit of dandruff bits in the machine, on the pressing surface, probably what is floating around on the ceiling fan blades too.

I drew a bit in EQ which helps me figure out how to re-size the block and layouts if I wish.  It is an alternate idea (or two, LOL) for the challenge quilt.  However, I am fairly certain that I will go with my original idea.  I reserve the right to change my mind.

In reviewing the online order history at one site I saw I had gotten a Blooms and Bliss layer cake and charm pack.  Huh??  I don't remember what I did with that let alone what I make with it!!  Of course, it was in a container, even labeled as it turns out, but in with another project.   I was noting the other project but not the small print.  LOL.

 That lead me to ponder the difference between the Moda Bake Shop Speedwell Quilt presented by Nicola Dodd and the similar looking Missouri Star Double Square Star.   I guess it depends on many seams you want meeting at the block intersections.  I like the cleaner looks of the Speedwell one better---and the pieced in border color.  I've printed the pattern off and put it with the fabrics and in its own container.   I love the pretty pastels and florals in Blooms and Bliss and it would work well for this pattern. I will work it into the "mental" list.  I should really start a document so I can scratch off or remind myself what I planned to do with my fabric treasures though I have been doing better about leaving notes in the containers if not the actual pattern print out or copy!

Meanwhile my friend Lucy has completed not one but two Floating Squares!  She said I could post the pictures.   Mine is waiting but I may work on it tomorrow, after I cut out something else I have in mind.

This is from her relocated Peppered Cottons and is probably quite similar then to the one shown on the Missouri Star tutorial.  I really love how these turned out and seeing them makes me want to get cracking on my version!

What am I cutting out?  Have you seen the Fat Quarter Shop free patterns page?  Or their videos?   Scroll down and there is one called "Layer Cake Lattice" that is a currently craze of plus quilts..  I would link it but it goes straight to pdf download.  You should check out the page when you have some time.   I have a well antiqued layer cake I got for Christmas from DJ (Silk Road from Benartex) that I will use.  I am using a Moda Bella Parchment and maybe bind it with Hay, LOL.  (he gave me money to spend down---worked for me and even more for him!  Pants that turned into an iron instead any indication of his shopping expertise??)

I puzzled how you did Indian Hatchet shapes if you don't want to do a flippy corner half square triangle.  Marti Michell had covered this in a Farmers Wife Sampler post---I know because I read back on her blog to find THIS POST on cutting tricks.   I have many of her template sets in my sewing collection and the idea of not wasting the fabric but removing the fabric and sewing on the correct sized half square triangle could possibly be explored.  Scroll down to what she shows in the Ava Block #19--that is an Indian Hatchet shape and what is needed in the Speedwell Quilt.  I couldn't get it to work necessarily with the charm square but may have found a work around but need to do the seam to know if it will work for sure.   OR I could try Trudie Hughes Rotary Mate with the speedy triangles shown in several of her books, Crib Quilts for one.  I have the ruler.

I spent a good part of the day Saturday washing and trying to dry the pet linens.  Skyler is not using either of his perches so I took them down to wash the sheepskin stuff.  He would rather park on the dog crate or the front door rug right now.  However, that danged washing machine is not good about heavy or bulky items.  I could not get the water to spin out properly and that meant prolonged drying times.  So what does Mister Mister do after all that?  Dumps his bed upside down along with his frog and sockie laying on the BOTTOM, not the cushy top.  What a goofball!  Oh and drug it over to the front door area.  Not quite to in front of the TV but close.

And this one?  He had been snuggling up with me on the couch till I needed something, like the camera off the coffee table.  Of course, I can't get a decent picture of him.    He won't look at me, or is licking or scratching for a kitty blur.

So I resort to this..........I had switched out the quilt on the master bed to the more summery Cheese and Crackers quilt.  Then threw the light weight 50's vintage bowtie on top of it. Skyler is acting like he found a long lost friend.  Oscar wants up there in the worst way but mainly because Skyler is on there!  Hop, hop, hop.  Lucy says I should get him steps, LOL.  I think not.

Well, Oscar is acting like it is time to walk again and I am about ready for supper. Greek Salad awaits!

Hope you have had a good day in whatever you chose to do.  I've been busy as usual but trust me, that is way better than mugwumping on the couch like Friday!  Till next time------

May 18, 2016

oops but fixed

I had the top of half of the Charming Boxes all done by 3 pm Tuesday.  Rows 5 and 6 were assembled and joined.  Row 7 was done and waiting for Row 8 to be assembled.

Then I saw this-----I cropped a previous picture to show you how close in colors these two blocks were but I didn't see it till they were all sewn together.

So this afternoon---wouldn't you know this was a block with short seam allowances that I had not only double stitched but zig-zagged.  The seam allowances did not stand up to the overcasting but it was one that I had made.  Fabric a bit stretchy and ravel-y so I didn't try to selvage it.  Good-bye!  After debating about borrowing from row 8 or switching something around in the top row, I made another block using a newly acquired background fabric from our trip to the quilt shop last week.  The one next to it did re-locate.  LOL after I said nothing was going anywhere else!!  Famous last words, right?

Repair work done, Row 8  was finished up.  That just left a few more joining seams to do and the top is done. Woohoo!

Next up, Aline's D9P but probably not today.  I need to wind a ton of bobbins and clean out the machine.  I am sure it is a linty mess after using so many pre-cuts!  Besides, it is time for supper, whatever that is going to be.

May 16, 2016

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee
That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me.

Oops, sorry--reminded me of the Mamas and Papas lyric.

So hope you had a good weekend.  It was fairly quiet around here though I did a bit of running around.  I had fasting lab to do ahead of my routine MD checkup this week and had just walked back in the door when Jane called to see if I wanted to run over to the Ashville House Quilt Shop with her and stop for a bite to eat.  Our friend Aline is laid up right now due to a recent accident so we stopped to see her on the way.  Well, on the way back too since she asked us to pick something up that the shop had set aside for her along with their block of the month patterns.  Aline has asked me to finish the assembly on her D9P for guild since she will be unable to sew for a bit.  Not my favorite pattern-- hers either now that she has done one, LOL--but I do want to help out my pal.  The blocks are done so just put them together and double border it .

I paired up some more block pairs for Charming Boxes on Friday but took a break from sewing for a couple of days.  Worked on my knitting-- I should be able to get this one finished and one more out of the ball.  I have ran errands, made some Taco Pasta Salad*** (recipe will be posted below though I didn't exactly follow it this time!) , balanced the checking account---some silly errors and omission of entries will mess you up every time, won't they?  Basic home stuff but no cleaning.  I'm still having a bit of trouble with the vertigo.  After looking for Oscar under the bed, I realized afresh that I should NOT do stuff like that right now!

Saturday the Postal Service had their annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive.  Since I was not sure I would catch the carrier, I took my donation stuff into the local post office instead.  Then on to the recycle bins on my way down to Golden Springs Baptist Church as they were having their bi-annual Car and Quilt Show.  Antique or classic cars for the guys out in the parking lot and quilts set up inside the gym area.  I've got some pictures on my camera that I'll probably post later.  Ran into some quilting buddies there, of course.  They were also having Lick Skillet Days in downtown Oxford and I think that guild was doing quilting demos but I passed on that.  Circled through Zaxby's on the way back and headed for home.

Yesterday afternoon I headed back to the sewing machine.   I had picked up a couple batik charm packs at the quilt shop the other day and said "this looks like the ones you used on your block, Jane."  She said she would let me use her leftovers and dropped them by the house so I used them in 3 more of the blocks and sort of a matching one to her block but down lower and reversed the block orientation.  When the dust settled, I found I only had 2 more blocks to make.  I was trying to decide on what colors to use in the last row and repositioned some more blocks so let it rest for a bit but later paired up what I needed.  Put those together this morning so this is the final layout.  I got them stacked in rows and pinned together so I am NOT going to be tempted to tweak this any further!!  I scattered the colors the best I could as there is quite a bit of blue in here as it turns out.  Purple in every row and a cream/yellow too, red/pink as well.  It will be fine.

I'll go back in the sewing room in a bit to get started.  Oscar is making going outside indications so I will heed the whining and stretch both of our legs.  THX for stopping by---------

Okay, this time making this instead of another dish was a last minute plan SOOO I had to used petite diced canned tomatoes instead of chopped fresh Roma ones.  I also did not have any shredded cheese so I chunked up a couple oz, of Velveeta instead and tossed that in with the warmed noodles.  I like that better as the cheese got all melt-y in the rotini swirls as it would when you make tuna mac salad.  I will do that again.  (There are two things from growing up that I still eat routinely--grilled cheese made with Velveeta and PBJ sandwiches)  I realized I had accidentally gotten chopped black olives instead of sliced.  I used some of the can but WON'T do that again, LOL.   It still makes a ton of it and I put half of it in the freezer.

Taco Pasta Salad

It makes a big recipe and even halved it made up about 12 cups of salad.  I added about a 1/2 can each of drained fire-roasted corn and black beans, rinsed as I like them--a lot.  I would also add some chopped green onion or recommend browning some diced onion with the ground beef.
This is for the larger amount.

16 oz. container of rotini, cooked and drained
1 lb. of ground beef,  browned and drained 
1 envelope taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
8 oz. shredded Cheese---I used Mexican blend****
4 oz. sliced black olives, drained
1 chopped tomato
chopped green pepper
chopped onion---I cooked mine with the meat
chopped avocado might be good on this too but I used some corn and beans instead 
16 oz. bottle of Catalina dressing---I used Kraft Light and dialed it back a bit

Prepare the rotini--toss in a tad of the dressing to keep the noodles from sticking. Prepare the meat adding the taco seasoning and water till the liquid is reduced as you do in making tacos.  Combine the two and refrigerate for a hour or so.

I just mixed all the veggies and then added them to the rotini and beef.  Toss with the dressing.  Add the cheese before serving.   ****See my note about the Velveeta substitution.  

May 11, 2016

Another Wednesday rolls around

Another week flew by and most of it went on by without me!  A little vertigo problem that I have occasionally has reared its lovely head.  I think I might have a little fluid on my ears that might have started it this time along with seasonal reactions to the flowering Chinese privet and Honeysuckle.  Smells great but plays Hobbs with the sinuses.  Thankfully, it has not progressed to bed spins or n&v but I am always afraid it might---dreadful when that happens. From past experience I have to stay down in bed and pray it just quits.  This time I have to watch bending over or getting up out of bed  too quickly as it is messing with my gait and balance.  I stayed home from Bama Belles yesterday as I didn't need to be driving the 15 miles or so over there especially medicated.

 I've been resting and trying to be still.  Oscar thinks he needs to lay down with me and he doesn't quite have the oomph to get up on the bed in the master bedroom.  Now,  having me flopped on the bed was a new wrinkle to begin with.  He kept hopping, hopping till I dragged him up.  Of course, he wants under the throw, not on it. With all the recent sewing I was getting tired of running back and forth from the kitchen where I was sewing, the design wall in the master and pressing in my sewing room having to open and close the gate.  He just wants to run to the sunny spot on the floor, chase the cat up and down the hall.  So far he is behaving himself with no errant peeing, that I can tell anyway.

My new friend Lucy had commented about the Floating Squares top I had mentioned I had wanted to do.  Seems she has the Peppered Cottons that Jenny mentions in her tutorial.  I asked Lucy if she wanted to sew her version "with me" across the miles.  She would but with it being Mother's Day weekend and all, it might be Monday or so before she was ready.  I didn't have much done so I could wait until she was ready.

That is about as far as I got though I sewed one strip on the side of the strip sets and had to quit.  Sewing crookedly--eye tracking component with this ear thing.

Lucy could not find her stash of peppered cottons so she used a charm pack called Daisy Stash and the Moda Bella Solid Evergreen 9900-234.  Her cat Jane is "helping" her.  Of course, I know all about kitty helpers at my house too.

This really is a fairly straight forward quilt---charm pack squares alternating between background squares and then floating blocks like the one Lucy completed in alternate rows.  Only 20 to actually piece!

We'll get back to it down the line as this was just something fun to do together.  Anyone else want to cut one of your own out??  We'll wait!

Lucy was going to a quilt show there in Utah this past weekend and Jenny Doan was the featured artist!  She missed her trunk show but there were featured quilts hanging.  Apparently Jenny made more than one of these as this is not the one on the tutorial AND she is listed as the quilter.   I know Missouri Star has long arm services but you would think someone else there would do that part so she could keep stitching!

So I became basically a lump.  I can't just sit or lay even if I do/did feel puny so I knit up a couple of dish cloths.  I have one more ball of Sugar & Cream (or equivalent) cotton yarn so I'll probably do two more.  I basically watched Celtic Thunder DVD's.....and knit on Sunday.

The JOY Quilt Guild met last Thursday and the plan is to display their challenge Disappearing Nine Patches or whatever disappeared at our next meeting's Show and Tell.  Those quilts will be going to the guild's comfort quilt coffers and the president has been quilting up most of them on his long arm.  It is time also for the Potluck Luncheon so the quilts will provide the best kind of decoration for the gymnasium area.  I won't have one but I do have this----- the ladies will need to see what I did with their blocks!

At our retreat I walked the participants through making a Charming Box block with the idea that they would go into a combined block comfort quilt.  I got 20 blocks from the group but I'll need 48 to get it in the target range.  Obviously I will need to make more.  I tossed in 3 blocks leftover from my Beach House version.  I found two of the bits from the tutorial pictures but had to re-sew part of it as that was when I said you could just leave the center untrimmed if you were doing all the blocks in the project.  For this project they were a half inch too long.

As I was putting the blocks up on on the "design wall" I found a couple had missed the verbal instruction to trim the middle down as well.  Easy enough to fix.  That is, by no means, a criticism! I personally came up with the idea for and wrote the Charming Boxes tutorial and STILL forgot to trim down the center on a block this morning, LOL!    You get it set next to another block and think "oh, oh!  Which one is not right?"  I know there are two blocks that are a bit small that will need some tweaking.  I think they just went a little deep on the seam allowance which happens with that many machines in action.  One is missing some seam allowance on the middle section, just eyeballing it there isn't enough to catch it in the seam.  I knew that one lady was concerned when she handed me her block but I can fix that so it can be included.

Quite a few of the group made purple blocks so I am trying to scatter it and add a few other colors to the mix.  (8th row is not present either.)  The fabrics are a variety from brights, a Civil War vibe, batiks, lovely florals and such.  It will be fine and really representative of the group ultimately.  I did make 5 blocks this morning digging in my Block Party charm packs, leftover bits of Prairie from two recent projects.  I've got a couple other things paired up to work in a bit more green and such.  Good spot to use some birthday fat quarters maybe?

That is what is happening---or more like, NOT happening around here.  Oh, I forgot about the two days of baking Friday and Saturday along with trying a crockpot chicken recipe for Enchiladas, tacos etc and poaching the remaining breasts the next day for the freezer.  I made Hummingbird Muffins and delivered some to the neighbors and the rest to the freezer.  I did Apricot Cheese Loaf as well.  Lucy suggested an Applesauce Oatmeal Bread from King Arthur Flour that they like so I tried that one too.   Pretty good and I think I'll put in some grated or chopped apple next time I make it.  I also made some Health Nut Spread for bagel topping with the leftover cream cheese from the Apricot Bread and made a pan of Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies also on the KAF site and the flour bag.  Those were good but the only leavening was the eggs and teeny amount of baking powder.  It says to "Beat" but I was not sure if they meant with a mixer or 50 strokes like you do with a mix.  I didn't and they came out only about a half inch thick and about what I spread out in the pan.  I may have overbaked them a bit but was using a different pan that my usual 9 x 13.  Maybe go with the 9 x 9 next time??  Taste wonderful though they went out to the freezer too.

I'm going to walk my poor neglected dog (or so he would have you think with those sad brown eyes!)--just in the lane as I am not ready for the trail just yet.  THX for stopping by to see what I might be up to.

May 4, 2016

Wednesday check-in

I know--I just posted a couple of days ago, LOL. I'll catch a few of you off guard maybe.

What a gorgeous day we are having. It has cooled down a bit but that to me, is a blessing. Apparently we are due to go even lower for a couple nights with an "Alberta Clipper" swooping down or what they term "Blackberry Winter"   High 40- low 50's for overnights actually sound good.  I didn't even get sweating till I was almost done with my laps this morning.  Lately it takes more like 3 or 4 laps instead of 8!

I took these yesterday.  Skyler stole Oscar's little bed mostly because I had laundered that towel earlier in the day and he loves clean laundry.  I would prefer the towel to my underclothing or the basket of binding.   He even followed the basket with the spaghetti heap of strips over to the spot atop the printer.  I put it an opening atop the shelving unit so he can't access it.  Today I kind of rolled/folded it so it wasn't in an attractive heap so we'll see if he leaves it alone.  I'm going to find a small container for it next trip out as a holding spot till it is pressed and filed in one of two binding containers.

Meanwhile, Oscar just flopped on the living room floor.  He still cannot decide if he wants in or out.  Lately too he is doing something I want to stop, now!  I tell him "time to go to bed" and he trots not to the bed but the back door.  Usual pattern.  I figure he should potty one more time anyway.  The problem comes when it is time to come back in.  He flops on the patio for belly rub.  I go outside and try to coax him in.  THEN he has taken to getting in his dog house and won't come in.  I take the lid off and tell him again.  Growling, snapping ensues.  I am afraid he is going to bite me.   He cannot stay outside all night and bark!  Am I doing something wrong or is he just being an unruly dog??  Looks pretty innocent here, doesn't he?

I went to evening sewing last night and got my Climbing Roses top finished up.  I also seamed the backing and binding I had cut earlier in the day.  I had Skyler's supposed assistance with that until I finally had to just escort him out till I finished up in there.  I cut out the Floating Squares top I mentioned the other day but only had time to seam one small piece of what looks like floating sashing.    I wanted to get home to watch the American Masters presentation on PBS featuring Janis Joplin so didn't stay as late as I could have.

Susan of Patchwork Reflections has said to me in comments  "I have been looking at granny square quilt patterns, didn't remember you doing one - will have to check it out in your archives".   It has been awhile!  I don't always remember to tag my posts and I don't always share update pictures as I am working on the same project.  I told her I had two batches of them but didn't re-call just how many on either UFO.

These are the bonus squares from challenge fabric Ellen had sent.  I added the background and that light lime-y green to the mix but the other three prints where what she sent to make a quilt or quilts for Wrap Them in Love.   I had made a Quatrefoil quilt but had a lot of leftovers so cut strips to make the Granny Squares using the Blue Elephant Tutorial the guild had used for its raffle quilt.  Now this was all circa October 2015 because I was working on it at the Fall Retreat in Attalla.    I made 5 of this bunch at that retreat once I had the Quatrefoil top done.  Then later I made a few more at one of the Friendship Quilters sewing days.  I'm trying to recall which machine I used on it though.    With the limited strip selection I am trying to make one in each color way, switching out the "outer ring" color.  I still need to do a couple more greens and another pink,  it would appear.   The tute shows 20 blocks but is a bit larger than what we shoot for but I don't know if a 3 x 4 set is big enough.  I still have a lot of strips cut but they could go in something else---even that Square Dance top.

Then we have this bunch circa spring 2012.  These are a little schizophrenic actually.  I started off in sort of the bright range with the greens/blue, gold /red and purple/teal combos.  Then somewhere along the line I got a jelly roll set from Connecting Threads and they got a little more towards the Civil War range, LOL.

And here is more strips in the same container that are not particularly bright looking.  I think I have two projects in this grouping!  I like them and like doing the blocks but maybe I just need to settle down into one or the other.  Not right now though.  I think the donation ones need to be done first.  Just one of many UFO's.

Stacy one of the new quilters in the evening group heard us using the term UFO as we were chatting last night and asked what we meant.  She is working on her 2nd quilt and the girl is bit!!  Her enthusiasm is contagious.  We told her a few of the quilt acronyms but basically she would find out the longer she is at this craft.  She had taken a top her grandmother had made to the long arm quilters after doing some repair work.  Marilyn helped her get the borders and binding put on it.  She had it at the meeting last night and it looks wonderful!  It is going to be a gift for her mom for Mother's Day and Stacy was trying to figure out how she would present it to her mom.  Sweet!

Okay, I think Oscar needs to go for a stroll in the lane so I'm off.  Hope you are having a good day where you are----thx for stopping by.

May 2, 2016

Checking in

This was a picture that Wendee, my tablemate took of me at the sew-in and recently posted to the guild album.  We were to wear an old fashioned apron that day which explains the attire.  Otherwise, I'm in my standard t-shirt and jeans or in hot weather, t-shirt and bike shorts until I get the summer clothes officially out in circulation, LOL.

 I have been doing a good bit of sewing recently with this one getting moved along.  This is the Climbing Roses top I showed you from last week though at that point I had 5 more rows to go.  I did that on Thursday when I was trying to keep my mind occupied and not get so mopey about the day's significance to me.    I then spent the rest of the day flipping strips, re-sewing and generally changing most of the quilt around in some manner.  Sometimes more than once on the same section.  Friday morning it got so bad with all this quilt fiddling that I finally got out of the house and went to Ashville House Quilt Shop for some retail therapy, LOL.

They were having a 25% off sale of everything except sewing machines and I needed some backing for this top.  I ended up getting something that is not quite the same shade of aqua but it WILL work since I am using some yardage that is that aqua and red diagonal stripe for the binding.  It also happens to be the same Good Karma yardage that was issued for the fall challenge quilt for the retreat with the Attalla bunch.  The shop has plenty more on hand if I mis-calculated my needs for the two quilts.  I know what I am going to do for THAT one but have not started it yet.

Saturday, I started sewing the sections into pairs.  Later that evening I sewed the pairs into sections of 4, or into thirds since there are 12 vertical rows.  That is where it still stands two days later--just two joining seams to go.  I didn't feel much like sewing yesterday and then we had some thunderstorms roll in.  Figures too since it was Race Weekend at Talladega, near here.  Always rains, storms, even tornado threats.

I am un-decided what I want to do next but have it narrowed down to three things.  That is, after I prep the back and binding.

1)  Make the other 5 blocks needed for Square Dance.  Leaning more to this one as it would be a quicker finish.

2)   Get back to the Granny Squares that have been waiting since two fall sew-in's.  I don't remember how many I have done or even how many more I need but it used some of the leftover Ellen challenge fabric.  I already did one top and this was a bonus one, or two.  I had planned to see how far I would get with the strips I had already cut.

3)  Something altogether new.  I have a charm pack of Bernatex "Brigitte" that I got for free from Missouri Star last fall.  I had pulled some Moda Marble background from my stash, ordered just a bit more to be sure to have enough.  I want to try that Missouri Star tutorial for Floating Squares with it.  When I put the fabric away in its own little compartment, I had typed up my own sort of cutting guidelines so it would just be a matter of going in to cut the background fabrics up, more or less. Might do that if I don't want to drag the machine to evening sewing this week.

 ALWAYS thinking of the next project or in this case, the next three, LOL.

To commemorate DJ's birthday, I did two things in his honor.  I made pizza, albeit this one was topped with turkey pepperoni.  He would have preferred ground beef or ham and cheese with white sauce like they had at Cici's.   When I think of all the crust recipes I tried till I found the one we both liked.  I think I told you the story about how he was telling me about his days working the part-time job at George's Pizza in Bloomington while he proceeded to burn the tar out of frozen one we planned to have for supper.  The 2nd, he had ice cream almost every blessed night---it was the lowest fat content he could find or the cheapest store brand low fat he could get.  I asked him once why he didn't get the "good stuff" and cut back on the frequency of eating it.  I did not want to get in the habit like him and rarely ate it but I did buy some Klondike Bars (Heath Crunch, thank you very much!)  and consumed TWO in his honor.  That's the closest I could come to a bowl of fat free whatever stuff.  Mostly, I treasured my memories and him.  I was truly a blessed woman and wife.

Okay, what else?  Saturday I was invited over to Paul's for a fish fry.  He had been out fishing a couple days late last week and told his mom to call and tell me late Friday evening.  His former boss even gave him some fish he had caught.  I guess Sonny wanted the fun of fishing but didn't care to clean or eat them!  Miss Kathryn said she was bringing some coleslaw but I didn't need to fix anything else.  I did anyway recalling that they had apparently had to hunt to find some tartar sauce last week.  I whipped up some Comeback Sauce which is supposed to be "so good that it would make you slap your mama", whatever that means!  Anyway, I used what is supposed to be a copy of Zax Sauce but a tad less heavy on the hot sauce content or it was when I made it but I still ended up adding about what the recipe called for, and made a triple batch.

These critters!  Oscar can't decide if he wants in or out.  Mostly the opposite of whatever he IS doing.  It has been threatening rain or actually raining for three days now so outside is a little chancy.   I am almost positive that the back gate was his escape site based on something he managed to do today inside.  I had the hallway gate closed and the bungee cord tightened across the top.  You may recall that I caught him recently with his head between the gate door and the frame?  I was working in the kitchen when  I heard him clattering the gate.  With it intact, the little booger had gotten on the other side and I found him sitting in the master bedroom near the foot of the bed.  I stretched the bungee cord a bit tighter.

I had found one of Skyler's old sparkly puff balls (AKA PomPoms) in the couch cushions recently.  He used to love those things!  Oscar tried to eat them so neither one of them was getting any to play with.  Skyler promptly lost it, I thought under the coffee table.  I could feel that there were others in the frame.  You see, DJ had hammered some lumber strips on the table to keep Skyler from loosing all his puff balls in the crack in the frame.  He knew I would try lifting and scooting it to get at them or use a yard stick under the couches to dig them out.   I don't think the strips worked as look what was under or jammed into the frame work!!

I never did find the blue sparkly one but man, did I others of them.  The frayed one was extracted with an old hemostat from the sewing room.  Skyler has again become enamored with his scratching post too hence the catnip mess on the floor!  And a pink sparkly puff ball.  I think it is lost again but he sure had some fun tossing it around.

Glynda and Robert sent a bag of cat toys that had been the sister-in-law's the other day.  You got it, Sky wants nothing to do with it and Oscar plays with the stuffed mouse though so far he has not managed to tear it up.  As soon as I see stuffing, it is gone and he can play with his squeaky frog again.

I probably better walk Oscar one more time before the rains come in.  THX for stopping by to see the latest installment of "Life on the Lane".  Few dull moments here, that's for sure!