May 29, 2014

another day dawns

So far today we have had one bout of rain and it looks like more on the way.  Oscar has already had one trip back into the house for a bit though when I opened the back door to call him in he was all snug in his dog house and out of the elements.  I was/am more worried about the lightning than him getting wet if I know he is out of the rain.  His preferred napping spot lately seems to be under the indented area of the kitchen where I can see he has been digging and carving himself out a little doggie sized hole.  Once we get to the "dog days of summer" and little rainfall he will quit that Glynda said.  That old red dirt gets packed hard and digging more difficult for man and beast.

I've heard some more rumbling and he is back in his crate with the door open, napping.  Skyler on the other hand, heard the thunder and has vacated the premises for a spot under the bed, I'm guessing.

Above, look how cute he looks all snuggled up in his crate.  This was about 3 in the morning yesterday.  I couldn't sleep----obviously!!---for about 3 hours though I finally went back to sleep sometime around 5-530 for a couple of hours.  Earlier in the evening he had drug his towel out into the kitchen like he didn't want it.  I tossed it back in and apparently he decided he needed it after all,  it makes a nice cover.

Other than a quick run into town to pick up my new glasses and walking Oscar a few times, I've been a home body today.  At my recent eye exam, my vision is still 20/20 in the right and 20/25 in the left but that's distance.  Closeup could be better. Dr. Kazi proved to me that I would see a bit better with corrective lenses for that.   My guess is that this is because it addresses my astigmatism and readers do not.   Besides, I am getting tired of taking my readers off and on.  Of course, that means I have to get used to wearing bifocals. Plus I don't think the readers were particularly attractive when everything I find seems to be that square shape.  Not a flattering look for everyone, I don't think.

My main objective today is trying to come to some decision about what to do with the border of the Storm at Seas wall hanging.  It has to have something as the body of the piece is fairly densely quilted.  Doing the majority of the piece was my yesterday task.   What do I want here that has an oceanic feel to it?  Or that I know I can do on the machine that is not too acute a twist or turn.  Braid and Corner?  Egg and Dart?  Something with diamonds or a wave like deal?  I dug out all my stencil collection excepting the ones for blocks or whole cloth pieces.

 Then it was a matter of sizing too.  I cut the borders to finish at 4 inches but you have to be careful that the design is not going to be cut off when you add the binding.  Some were rejected as I knew that they would be done more easily by hand rather than machine.  I don't have the luxury of that right now.  I also looked in  my Readers Digest "100 great quilting designs for hand or machine quilting" (Luise Roberts).  It is fun to look but nothing tripped my trigger.

I don't know how well you can see it but this one Scallops Border 2.5  SCO-196-2.5 from the Stencil Company was my choice as it has the feel of a simple cable but a soft wave-like form.

I dug out the Golden Threads Quilting Paper and cut off a section of it and then cut it into quarters so I could mark IT instead of the quilt and make sure it was going to fit the available border lengths.   The motif  from "tip to tip" was about 5 1/4 inches so I made little tick marks and then lined up the stencil accordingly.  The quilt is square and about 37 inches in size and will work with a little minor fudging at the corners mostly.  I used my Frixion pen and there are probably spots where I perforated the paper but that will iron out if anything marked through to the actual quilt.  I am pleased with how the border choice worked out but of course, I still need to sew through and pull off that tissue paper.

The fabric bit you see is what I used for the backing.  Rosa had it in the donation box and seemed pleased when I told her how perfect it worked out for my project.  I forgot to make the sleeve the other day when I sewed the binding.  DUH!  It is a wall hanging and will have to have one.  The variegated thread come today in a Connecting Threads order (I forgot fabric for binding for the guild challenge----where is my head lately???)  Anyway,  at one point my left handed quilting friend and others had written to CT asking them to bring back their variegated threads...... and they did!!    The Ocean Jewels shade should be perfect for my needs once I get a bobbin or two wound.  I'm waiting to see if the thunder is going to amount to anything before powering up the machine.

The other thing I have been on the hunt for was a couple of recipes I want to use for my picnic next week.  One I thought sure was in the guild newsletter and I looked through them all.  I still haven't settled on just where I am picnicking or if I am inviting to join me. The quilt isn't done so I can't really tell someone what day I am planning on going other than it has to be the 4 or 5th at the latest with my featured day a week from tomorrow.  YIKES!  Too many variables at this point.  Can't take Oscar to the duck pond, that's for sure but they have some nice picnic tables in the area. I am also not sure I want to listen to more than two miles of whimpering dog in the carrier.  No hard feelings, fella??

Better get back to quilting.  I AM on deadline!

May 27, 2014

catching up

 As you might imagine this weekend was a bit up and down for me emotionally.   When we were still in Illinois, if I was not working, I went along with DJ to decorate the graves of his parents and paternal grandparents.  His dad's only sibling passed away the year after we moved down here and he is buried in the same cemetery as his parents.  Anyway,  DJ usually only went back to Illinois every other year in recent years.  I found a way back even if he didn't go and if it was around Memorial Day, I did the honors for him.

Of course this year, it is DJ that is gone.  I asked my parents if they would see that there were some flowers for him. I'm too far away and DJ is buried in our plot in central Illinois.   Dad found this mandavilla plant and then found out AFTER it was planted that they should have gotten permission to do so.  I told him it was probably better to plead ignorance at this point and ask for forgiveness (or something to that effect.)  At some point (next trip back)  I will have to figure out what to do for a marker.

It is just hard, some days more than others.  How I miss the love of my life.  I'm still finding my way obviously and will for some time to come.

Let's move on, shall we?

It being a holiday yesterday, my friend Cher was off and we could sew and chat on messenger even though I was not the best of company.  I DID get my picnic quilt flimsy finished which was my main objective.  Woohoo there, right?

I had been mulling over how I was going to quilt since in the past I had always used that big office desk on my left side to spread out and distribute the weight of the quilt when it was under the needle.  That desk is across the hall now.  The computer desk is narrower but also two inches higher  up.  The main problem before was that there was very little room to get in and out of the room with the pressing/cutting table in permanent position on the opposite wall.  If I put the table in front for the forward table would that back me up too far against it??   Answer: NO.    Can I still get at the computer keyboard?  Answer:  I think so but it depends on how far I have to shift the sewing table to the right.

 If the sewing machine stays on top it doesn't much matter BUT when I quilt, it goes down in the recessed area with the appropriate table insert to accommodate whatever machine I want to use, normally the Viking.

So how much room do I have on the opposite side?  I had already done a reconnaisse mission to see if they had a similar table to the one I have used for years and what the measurements were.
I needed 20 inches in width and my workable area, right next to the TV stand that is currently TV-less, was about 25-26 inches.

So I moved my little table to the side leaving the machine table in place to be sure it would work.   Looks like there is enough room for my light source if it doesn't get in the way the quilt.  I used to always pull the desk swing lamp over towards the machine and then use a smaller lamp on the sewing table to the right of the needle.   I think this will be okay.  I am going to do the wall hanging first anyway, the picnic quilt right after.  I'll definitely need the other table for the larger piece.

Bama Belles met today.  I went over about an hour earlier than I normally arrive as I had two personal quilts to pin and because both were bigger than our usual output, I would be hogging the table too much.  It would worked but it turned out I had started down a little too low on the first pinning and had to pull them all out and start over.  Thankfully I had not closed first.  Beverly and Lois each had tops to pin too.

This sweet little 3-D bowtie was turned in by Beverly.  Cute, huh?  One of my favorite blocks to make for donation quilts really.  Bev was really intrigued by the dimensional fold so I can see we need to show her how to do this at the next meeting!!  Belles has been doing bowties for years but you kind of forget who joined when and some things were covered some time back---new to her.

I learned how using Debby Kratovil's 3-D bow tie instructions. By now there is probably You Tube instructions and the whole bit but this is one I have always used as my go-to guide.   and the graphics for doing this is here at

Once you learn how and get past the only tricky part of lining the sections up once you open up the knot, it is really just sewing a 4 patch.   I know better than to try to do this on my Brother that bulks at too much thickness though, LOL.  Tempermental machine when it comes to bulk.

I think I mentioned that one of our members will be relocating out of state in a few months.  Rosa came today with books and fabrics to share.  One bag had a bunch of fat quarters, some of it Christmas, some of it 30's prints (well you know who got that stash!  me).   I know that some of it went to good homes today.  Julie has plans for making another couple foundation pieced Christmas trees and some of those were good choices for her, especially the greens.  Another group also has done a Christmas block exchange for several years, don't know if they still do but who can't use some fabrics for the holidays??  I also came home with a bag of batik scraps as I also have some of Lois' leftover batiks from one of her previous donation quilts so the two should combine.  I took a good look at the pile of fat quarters and said that maybe we could make some rail fence blocks for some group made quilts with it since a good bit of coordinated.   Normally we would have had a sew-in date in late April but that sort of fell by the wayside this year for various reasons.   I put the bag in the closet for the time being.  THX again Rosa for your generosity!

 What I had in mind really was a quilt I had pinned recently.
 The pinned quilt link had one kitted up, no doubt using a jelly roll or some such thing.   We have fabrics that would work and could make use of the donation fabrics if the girls are up for a sewing session or want to do this as an ongoing.  Of course we could do the more traditional version with prints on the outside and light in the middle.  We'll see how it shakes out.  

Guess that is it for now.  It is extremely humid out there but there is a dog outside that needs to take a walk before he comes in for the evening.  With me being gone and leaving early we will only go twice today instead of 3 or 4.  There is a chance of thunderstorms for the next 4 days so he may be in more than out if that happens.

OH, I forgot to say that Glynda found homes for the kittens.  She and her daughter-in-law went over to Walmart with them on Saturday.  The yellow tabby male went to a young boy who wanted to give him to his sister who had just graduated high school---unclear if he cleared that with his parents first, LOL.  Then a man was talking with them about the kitties, being low maintenance, what did they eat, etc.  He took the other 3 the calico, the white one and the little black male.  His wife was still in the store and wondered how they would get them home.  Glynda had thrown in the carrier as it was an extra they had in storage.  Poor Mama Kitty was just crying yesterday looking for her babies though they were essentially weaned and eating kitten chow she still was nursing a bit, I guess.  And Mama kitty is going to be fixed as soon as we can get her in----there is a program that transports them to the BHM area where they do the procedure but we have to have her at Picketts Feed and Pet Supplies at 630 in the morning and they bring them back the next day around 1230 for our county.  There days are the 2nd and 4th Mondays---and we just missed one due to the holiday.  I have offered to pay part of the costs since she is the neighborhood cat.  No more kittens are needed.

Okay that is really all for now.  Till next time----thx for stopping by.

May 23, 2014

How did it get to be Friday already??

Where did the week go??  I guess time has a way of getting away from you when you are busy, both inside and outside the house.

Wednesday I finished up the chopping back of the weeds on the bank.  Who knew that there are raspberry vines buried in all that thatch and old kudzu vines??  I didn't care though as I sprayed insecticide anyway.  I learned my lesson from the day before and slowed my pace, going out quite early to just cut.  I cooled off a bit and then ran to Lowe's for another gallon of Roundup.  Just spraying was not as difficult as trying to do both jobs at one time.  I hope that task is done for a few months.

Of course, I am so out of shape that I ache just about everywhere --the back of my legs, my back but mostly in the muscle in my forearms from using those big clippers.  LOL, I don't know what the real name is for them.  I know from when I used to try to trim down the holly bushes in the front of the house that they were hard on my arthritic-y thumbs but I had forgotten about the arms.  I could barely stand to carry my purse today.  Forget about carrying anything!  Right after I was done with the work, I had such fine motor tremors that you would have thought I had Parkinson's.  This yard work is not for sissies!  How in the world did DJ do all this with his chronic heart valve problems. Paced himself probably and just sucked it up and did it.

Yesterday the inside tasks began but then my day started really early.  Skyler was insistent on my getting up a little after 5.  When it became clear that going back to sleep was not going to happen, I was up and looking for a Chevron/Streak of Lightning pattern that I knew was in one of the Judy Hopkins' books.  They later combined the patterns from three of the books into one large one that has been quite the popular book in the Belles library.  Theramae made several pattern from there and when she passed away, the book was added to our collection.  She had made that Streak of Lightning as a matter of fact with some bright colors and dotted fabric that turned out pretty cool.  I am considering that for Baby R's drag around quilt.  I had the dog walked, the floor vacuumed, a load of wash done and the dishwasher going all before 7.

Later,  I cut and kitted--------after doing some calculations and how many strip sets etc for each color I cut out the modified Loop the Loop for the guild challenge piece.  I don't think the quilt will be completed but possibly I can have the top done anyway.

I cut out my picnic quilt hop piece and even have the backing cut and ready to seam.    I'll be sewing it as soon as I get the wall hanging quilted.  No, you have to wait to see.

My friend Mary Frances is back in the area  for a few days.  She is originally from Indiana though she and her husband Lynn lived here in Calhoun Co when his job brought them to the area.  They moved back when Lynn retired.  It did not seem possible that they have been gone for 12 years.  I have seen her in the intervening times since we did the Collinsville retreats some time back but we never seem to quite hit the right schedule for when Bama Belles are meeting.  We met Thursday night for dinner at Top of the River along with two of the Belles that knew her and Mary Frances' friend Judy who lives in the Georgia side of the line.  Good to get out for supper and visit with my friends.

Today, I went over to the church to pin my Storm at Seas wall hanging.  My table in the sewing room is as wide as the tables at the church and it is elevated BUT I cannot use clamps on three sides of it nor can I get on the other side of the table. It sits in the corner of the room but the underneath part if so loaded with supplies that it cannot be moved without moving all of it.  Not worth it.   It is just easier to drive the 12 miles or so to the church and do it there.  I considered the saw horses outside and the use of the old laundry door out there but even that sounded to complicated.

You would not believe how well this backing fabric matches the body of the quilt.   One of the Belles will be relocating in the next couple months to Ohio to be closer to family and she donated some of her fabric.  This was one of the pieces in there.  There is also a larger length of more blue shade of the same line.  I've got most of the stuff I brought home with me washed but not pressed.  First of all, DJ was always the one to help me get those long selvages lined up.  2nd, it has been hotter than nine shades of hell already.   I  had enough of standing over the steam iron when I cut out the two quilt kits!

While I was out in area, I ran over the Publix for a few groceries.  It being the holiday weekend, I decided I was going to cook out and be a little indulgent.  I have been eating meals from the freezer essentially for a week and half.  Sunday dinner last week was a couple of corn dogs so I thought I could do a little better than that!!  I got a nice looking t-bone, a bunch of asparagus, a cantaloupe and few ears of corn.  Now I got to tell you, I do not cook steak often enough to be very confident that I won't ruin a nice piece of meat!  I pulled out one of my grilling cookbooks and it had a dry rub recipe that sounded super peppery and in fact they called it "T-bone Picante"   Surely I could dial back all the pepper and use it.  Good choice!   I ate the filet part tonight and part of the rest of the meal,  tomorrow the NY Strip part.  DJ would have loved the meal--well minus the asparagus, I'm thinking.

When I was out grilling Oscar was romping around playing with his rawhide bone and showing off.  Forget the rawhide thing when he got that real bone from the steak!   I went out later to walk him, got the leash on him and I swear he was going to take the bone along with him.  Or preferred to stay in the yard with it!   Normally you cannot keep him away from the gate and he is hopping up and down like a dog on a pogo stick.  Nope, not tonight.  Yes, the yard needs mowed and the clover has really taken over the whole yard.  He is back in the house now minus the real bone and already sacked out in his crate with the door open.  Poor doggie is beat!   We walked in the park this afternoon thinking that there might be a bit of shade (not much) and that nice breeze from the past few days, non-existent---two laps around between the tree watering stops and a hair over a half mile total.

Meanwhile back in the house, Skyler was working over his scratching pole and chasing around a rubber band.  I took it away from him once he managed to bite through it.

...........and then this is what he managed to find to occupy himself once I took his "toy" away.  My sewing machine carrier for the Singer.  Nosy, nosy boy.

 I haven't seen the kitties for a few days but assume that everything is okay there.  Mamacita didn't show up for me to feed her till the middle of the afternoon.  Usually she is here about the time I take Oscar out for the day and feed him or chases over when we go out for the first walk of the day.  LOL my morning routine though Skyler always gets first dibs on me.  Always!

I had planned on at least sewing some binding and seaming up the back of hop quilt but that didn't happen.  My mom called and Oscar needed one more walk before he came in, etc.  Next thing I knew it was almost 7:30.  Out of the notion now but then I have a whole weekend to fill.  Why not sew?

May 20, 2014

Finished to flimsy/kitties!

I just finish up the top about an hour ago.  Woohoo there though I still need to seam the binding, that may wait till tomorrow.    I will wait to get the "beauty shot" minus the painters tape once I have it quilted.  It finished 37 inches square with the change in the inner border size.

Today's tip is how to make an even narrow border.  Varying thoughts attribute this to Joen Wolfrom and it did appear in Ricky Tims' Convergence book as well.  I have posted these two links before but no harm in repeating them.

passage in Google Books from Convergence

from the quilting boards    it has good step by step graphics.  Scroll down to the #6 post to the poster  going by the screen name of "ghostrider".  It works!!  She states it is better to get it even than worry about seam allowance.  My little bit of red finishes at 3/8 inch (cut it one inch)  Just enough of a bit of color without overwhelming the borders.

 I am beat!!  Not from sewing but dealing with the weeds and kudzu out on the bank.   Such a hot dirty job, whacking some of it back and spraying other parts.  I have already used up one gallon of Roundup but I do have another bottle for tomorrow's onslaught.   I'm afraid that Oscar got short shrift in the walking department today---just going out twice instead of 3 or 4 trips.  He is back in the house now and I'm heading in to keep him company soon.

Glynda called me over last evening as they had the babies out of the box and playing over by the beauty shop area.    These two were taking turns getting in and out of the planter.  Then one of them started climbing up the fire place screen right behind it.

Chasing each other.   These two are my favorites

We decided that the white one was a female after all.  Check its little bobbed tail and the hint of cream color there.   There is also a bit on the tips of her ears.   The calico is probably the feistiest of all of kitties.

The black male is the only one without extra toes.  He seems to be the most timid too.
Mama was calling the kids to come eat.

The black one was missing dinner, the calico was too busy playing.  The white one should have no fur left from all the grooming it was getting!    What fun watching them.  It will not be long and they will be jumping out of that box they are in so we talked about maybe containing them in one of the large dog kennels.  Glynda was washing it out tonight as I walked Oscar/

May 19, 2014

some progress

The stacks are getting smaller. I am making some progress (see photo below) but not quite there yet.    For one thing there is a lot of layers where the points of the Square in a Square and/or the little Economy Patches meet at the diamond tips.  Good thing I am not trying to sew this on the Brother as it balks at 4 layers in a seam allowance.  I'm using the trusty old Singer.  It may not be fancy or electronic, needle down, knee lift and all that jazz but it is heavy duty and sews well.

I have also found if I flop the little Economy patches over so I have the way the seam crosses over going the opposite direction and mash it down a bit with my stiletto it is sewing a bit easier.  I know that I am not explaining myself very well but my "theory" seems to be working.  In addition, I started out sewing with the foundation paper still in with the plan to sew right on the line printed on the paper.  That proved to be counterproductive as I can line it up far better at the point, and sew on the diamond side without slippery paper on the feed dogs.

Okay, maybe this shows what I mean a little better.  The red seam' s ridge is going to the right while the gray is pointing to the left.  That means that in spite of the difference in the angle the red seam will not be overlapping the gray seam, rather while they are still the same thickness the ridge is not right on top of the other one.   Make any more sense?? LOL

 This just shows the stab method for placing the pieces in alignment.  The angles are different for the diamond than the square in a square---like what?  45 degree angle for one and 30/150 for the other?

Line it all up and then pull the center pin to actually sew it----mash down the bulk at the center with the edge of the stiletto.

Finished seam---not too bad.  Even if I were a thread or two off and believe me, I am in a few spots I don't think it will be easy to spot.  I often say if you have your nose in there inspecting things that close,  you had better be the owner of the quilt or the person making it!

 I DO like the newsprint paper I am using and can recommend Blick's All Purpose Newsprint reams.  I used to use stuff from School Specialty but then they seemed to discontinue the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets.  Trimming down 9 x 12's made feeding through the printer a nightmare so I was happy to discover this source.   This removes fairly easily for the larger pieces but like any foundation piecing the tight spots usually require some fingernail scraping to get the smallest bits out.  My tip for the day, LOL.

So here we are across the hall on the "design wall".  I'm still considering how I want to use this wall----hang a rod up high and make like a flannel curtain or something I can roll up?  Build a frame?   I don't want to make any more holes in the wall or damage them in such a manner that I'll have to spackle and paint.   I want to get the curtain replaced that will match the new dust ruffle first though.  Thoughts for another day there.

Anyway, I got sidetracked a bit.  The top row is completed.  You can see the center star taking shape and determine just where this is going anyway.  It resembles the EQ sketch in one of my recent posts if you page back.  The gray batik is subtle but it does show up.

I plan on a narrow bit of the red as the first border, maybe a flap of it rather than an actual border.  Or if I can remember what I did for sewing a narrow border from a previous project I'll try that.   What I cannot decide to this point is which of the colors for the outer border.  I am leaning toward the medium aqua/teal shade that you see in the half square triangles of the Economy Patches and then use the darkest print for the binding.  Initially I thought the lighter shade in the diamonds but I think that might be TOO light though I believe I have enough of that batik piece to do it having bought a yard of it.

Got an opinion you want to share??  I do hope to get this completed tomorrow as I need to get it quilted and sent on to my niece within the next week.  You know how pokey I am with binding!! A baby shower is planned for Kristine in early June and I would hope that this would be there in time for that.  I don't have time to dawdle either as the Picnic Hop looms.

I've got a date with the Kudzu tomorrow with Roundup at the ready though I need to get the pumper ready.  That stuff can grow so fast and we have some hot, hot 90's on the way by Wednesday or Thursday though dry.  I might cut some of the green shoots for a wreath idea I have but the rest is getting dealt with.... and soon.  I already cut a bit out of the holly bush at the end of the lane and I sure don't want it scurrying across the yard and messing with the lawn mower. 

Okay, break over and Oscar will be howling if I don't get the food bowl out to him soon!  Skyler could care less as he is conked out in the perch in the master bedroom.   I have not seen the kitties today but Saturday Miss Kathryn called me over as she had had the babies out of the tall sided box they were in and on the porch of her mobile home.  One of them, the little orange tabby, wandered off and he moved so fast she could not catch him.  Down he went under the ramp and back where she could not reach him.   She had to leave and no one else was at home on the compound to watch out for the baby.  Between Mamacita and myself I finally nabbed the little booger.  Sharp, sharp claws and squirmy!!!!  Still, they are all so darned cute. 

May 16, 2014


2 posts in one day.  Since this mornings before lunch post, I have managed to dust and clean the kitchen and utility room floors and vacuumed the whole house.  After lunch, I loaded Oscar up in the car and we walked two laps in the city park.  He hates the carrier but he loves the park so I get two miles worth of whining all the in and back.

I started up the laundry.  Then I decided to vacuum out the car and wash it.  This was a little problematic in that I cannot find what he did with the fleece mitt thing or the chamois cloth.  In addition I could not hook the hose up in the back of the house and for some unknown reason he had discarded the hose reel.  I drug I don't know how many feet of hose to the front faucet and pretty much flooded the carport so I had to sweep up the carport again as there is a low spot that holds water.  The car looks good though.

In the meantime Glynda came over my cat carrier as Mamacita had finally brought out one of her babies, an all black one with blue eyes.    The German Shepherd dog that belongs to their son stays out during the day time in an outdoor pen and was barking up a storm at the baby kitty and Glynda had gone to inspect.  Apparently they had either been under Miss Kathryn's mobile home that whole time or she had moved them to that spot.  We removed a section of underpinning to try to find the others if there were any.  Mamacita was coaxed into bringing them out but she chose the location.  There were 4 babies, born on April 12th, making them 5 weeks old tomorrow.  She is a 5 toed green eyed calico.

And here are the babies.   The white and black ones appear to have blue eyes.  All but one of them have 5 toes.   Glynda thought that three of them are male and the little gray/tan mix was female.

All together now----awwwwww.  I doubt that I can have one or two of them, not with an adult cat who is already a bit miffed with me about the dog.  One of their daughter-in-laws is highly allergic to cats so they can't have one, indoors anyway.  But aren't they adorable?

I don't think that sewing is going to be on tap today.  I am beat from wrestling with the hose and my back is tired from the sweeping and vacuuming.  I already got more done around the house than I planned so it is a trade off.  I can play on the machine tomorrow.

busy week

So far this week has seemed like I have been gone more than home. 6 month check ups for both the medical doctor and the ophthalmologist and there goes the morning.  Tuesday was Bama Belles day. May is always a busy time for folks with Mother's Day weekend and graduations. One gal was even off to an out of state wedding, another off on a trip to the Caribbean.   4 of us showed up.

Lois got 3 more tops pinned, two were from the recent Lickety Split Log Cabin class at JOY group taught by Jean Ann Wright and using her specialty ruler.  She ended up with two donation tops but I don't know if that was her original plan.  She had wanted a medallion type set and that requires an even number of blocks.  She may have had 35 made up and just did 13 more to make 2-24 block sets in the end.  I was busy sewing so Bev and Jane were helping with the pinning.  No pic taken.  We went out for a light lunch and then went on our way. 

 Of course, the next time we meet is right after Memorial Day weekend.  I asked if we should even bother but they said they were available and would be coming.  Like any other meeting,  whoever wants to be there, will.  The door is open. 

Here is the re-colored version of the Storm at Seas wall hanging, sort of what I am shooting for with the fabrics I have purchased to make it based on the paint colors that I know were used in the nursery.  For a closeup view of some of those fabrics, see THIS POST.   My mom was describing the space for me the other day as they had been invited to my niece's home for a Mother's Day cookout this past Saturday.   The red tones will be fine as Grandpa R has incorporated a lighthouse with red in it.  The lighter aquas, greens and grays I am using need a bit of pop and I like how this star at center will be accentuated.

You can see how the actual Square in a Square blocks of the quilt turned out.  Subtly colored really.    The rest is just pieced diamond sashing and Economy Patch cornerstones.  That's what is piled up in the tray there.  I've got those all trimmed since I am foundation piecing.  The next sections are pinned in place and ready to feed through the machine.  The diamond parts will be completed once they are given a final trim.  The smaller cornerstones will need one more round.

I cannot quite decide which print I need but I am leaning towards the lighter aqua print rather than the same fabric as what I used in the diamonds.  Look at the lower right hand corner of the tray.  The half square triangles flank what I used for the center square of the Economy Patch.  It is also the fabric that I used as the dark around the soft green batik in the Square in the Square.   The darker print, the one used in the diamond area MIGHT be the outer border.  I wanted to see the center laid out before I made the decision.  All in all, I hope to have the top together by Saturday evening.  That is my goal.

But first I have a bit of housework to do.  Two days of rain and tracking bits of grass in again does not do the floors any favors.  I've already swept up the debris catching area near the carport door.  The dishes are put away, dishwasher reloaded.  Today's meals are covered.  Should start the laundry.  Should do a lot of things---wash and vacuum out the car.  Cut down whatever that is growing under the crepe myrtle bush.  And while I am at it, what is that mess under the Rose of Sharon bush anyway???  When we finally get some days without rain in the forecast, I really need to spray Roundup on the kudzu as it is rearing its troublesome head.  I am getting just like DJ and cannot go outside without seeing something that needs done.  UGH!    It is days like these that I am reminded what a good helpmate he was.  All the things he did that were seen and unseen, done like magic.  Now to summon the desire and energy to get out of this chair and grab a broom.

I AM sewing but it may not start till after lunch at this rate.  Maybe one of these days I can actually post a finished to flimsy. 

May 10, 2014

treasure hunt

My niece and her husband had chosen a Northeastern nautical theme for their expected child's nursery.  When I was back in IL in February we talked about my making a small wall hanging for the room and then I would make a quilt for the baby to drag around.  I picked Storm at Sea.  At the time I purchased fabrics that would be similar in coloration to my EQ sketch.  Then I found out that the paint colors are actually a gray, dark grayed green, aqua/teal and a aqua teal pale tint.  I may use the blues and reds anyway in the drag around quilt and if not for this baby then for another child, even as a donation quilt.

Anyway, I bought fabrics when I was at the Pigeon Forge quilt show recently.  Looking at my sketch is just throwing me off as I need to be thinking aquas/teals.  I think I still need a shade darker than what I had bought.  To that end, I went on a treasure hunt in the bedroom fabric storage.

The bin on the foot locker is the one I was primarily looking for with the leftovers from the PopStix quilt.   I know that most of my teal/aqua prints are in there, some that I had collected at each trip to the Quiltmaker Workshop in Trussville, long closed.   The other 5  containers, 4 small and one large on the bed were moved just so I could get at the bin I  REALLY wanted.

These are the ones still remain on the shelf but I took the opportunity to at least label the contents a bit better.  Oh, I will still have to move everything on the shelf to get at it but now I know where the stuff is!

Right hand side of center of the top shelf of my clothes closet.

Left hand side of center of the top shelf of my clothes closet.

Really it is good thing I did this as I would have had to dig around to find the stuff I need to make another tree skirt.  My niece Amber and Greg will be getting one as a wedding present from me.  The blues kit that I had originally purchased from Connecting Threads will be perfect for them.  We discussed this when I saw her in February.   I put THAT tote smack dab in the middle of the top shelf.

These were the last two I needed to drag out and label.  Turns out one is that ancient "I spy" UFO and the other is some fabric pairings, donation fabric that does sorta kinda go together.

I was already hot from walking Oscar in the damp, dripping wet that we are having today.  Yesterday we got about 2 inches of rain in about a hour and my front yard looked like a lake along the lane.  Since them it had more or less just been dripping and drizzling, humid as all get out though two good downpours have brought us up to another inch for the day.  I just checked the gauge.

Even though Oscar's dog house is turned to face the back door and is tucked up under the eaves so it should not blow in from that direction if it is pouring hard or lightning, I put up the gate and bring him in.  Problem is, when I open the back door for him to back OUT he looks at me with those sad eyes like "what did I do wrong to have to go back out there?  I'm a good dog"  He has a point, LOL.  We don't have the concept of going out for potties down yet but he has not peed on the floor ---just twice and not since.   Normally he is in for the night around 6-6:30 so I know he will be going back out for a little while anyway and we'll go walk again, once or twice.  

Well, I have cooled down a bit with two fans blowing and a big glass of iced tea.  The a/c is on but the outside temps are cool enough that it is not setting it off.  I admit to cranking it down to about 72 for about 5 minutes till I got over the worst of the sweating.  The shower is going to be most welcome once I am done with the outside trips for the day.

I've got the foundation pieces already printed and stayed home from guild today to sew or at least get organized TO sew.  Between that and the uncertain weather the north end of Calhoun County was not represented at guild today.  Now, to go play with the fabric since it is unearthed, make some design decisions.

Happy Mother's Day, y'all--------

May 7, 2014

a little output

I have managed to get a little bit of sewing done the past few days.  Actually I had finished prepping the 3rd side of the dust ruffle yesterday afternoon.  Then I sort of basted it together with some Elmer's glue and hot iron since I was planning on doing the joining seams on the serger.  It might be a little tedious but it does help you avoid those pesky pins and messing up the machine.   I finished up the evening by doing that big long seam and called it a night.  Only one busted needle to replace and of course it was on the curved corner where I had the most bulk and the tougher negotiation of seam.  You may notice some bunching in the pictures below but I think the bedding will disguise all that.

Today I had some grocery/incidental shopping to do and when I got home, some binge cooking.  Between dog walks and other household tasks it was mid afternoon before I pressed the seam and held my breath while I tried it on the bed frame.  I am a bit math challenged and at one point took off fabric that was needed on that third side and then had to sew it back on.  You can see why I might have been a little leery if I had calculated in the seam allowances correctly.  I COULD have gone just a bit deeper on the serger seam allowances as it turned out.  Mainly I wanted it to finish at about 14.5 inches or a hair less.  (I had no pattern and was just trying to replicate, in a longer length what used to be on the bed till the new bed frame was obtained.)

I was able to drag the mattress off by myself knowing that I could run up the lane and ask for someone to lend a hand if need be.  Instead the help I got was of the furry variety.  I should put quotes around the word "help", LOL.   He would not budge.  Move him, you say?  I have a cat who will bite/nip more than my dog would even think about.  Pick your battles.  He'll move and I can wait him out.

Okay, so you won't move, Skyler?  How about I take the valence down as I am going to need it for a template to re-make something to match the dust ruffle?  Well, that did not work out either.   I  put up an old topper from one of my old apartments but it looks awful with the dark blue mini blinds in there, only a temporary measure.   I ordered a tad more fabric to finish this part up with a lighter blue print for the backing.  This one has a navy blue ticking on the back and served DJ well over the years.   With the heavier cloth, it also drapes a bit better than the one I made for the space above the kitchen sink.

I got this far in replacing it.   Look who came back?  Nosy, nosy boy.   I got the mattress back on again but that is as far as the bed making went.  He likes to "help" with that too.

Then there was a knock on the door.  Michael was coming over to mow and weed whack the back yard and side yard.  Oscar needed to come in for a while to avoid getting in the way or sprayed with bits of grass.  What a cutie, huh?   I wish I could get a picture of him when he is standing up looking at me through the fence outside.  I swear he looks like he is smiling, and the ears are flared out like he could use them to fly, LOL.

I guess tomorrow I will aspire to finish making that bed, start some laundry and maybe get started on Baby R's Storm at Sea wall hanging for the nursery wall.   Her mama has a baby shower coming up in early June and I will have to get it quilted up and mailed in time for the event.  The picnic piece has a little more leeway and my piecing plan is a fairly straight forward on that one.  It is possible that I will not even get to the guild challenge piece in time but I still want to make the quilt at some point.  I have a Prairie Stroll one to turn in for donation as my one guild required quilt so no biggie.

And sew it goes around here--------it isn't much but then again this year, it would not take much to do anything sewing related.

5/8 UPDATE:  Snoopy kitty does not learn one darned thing.  I fed Skyler first this morning just like I always do.   He is more vocal about this while Oscar is either still sleeping or just quietly watching the proceedings.  I put the gate up.  Oscar is let loose minus the leash just in case he needs to do his business.  I take the water out first and come back in to get his food bowl but he follows me back in.  Of course, Skyler is in the kitchen.  He froze like a deer in the headlights and then got chased around the table a  couple times before he finally flew over the fence with me grabbing Oscar by the collar, just in case.  Snarl, hiss, bark and claws skittering.   I don't think he would attack Skyler but I am not willing to take that risk.   I think he only chases cats when then run in the first place as he will walk right by Mamacita when I have him on the leash.  Skyler, you silly silly boy are going to give your kitty mama even more gray hair!!

May 3, 2014

cats vs dogs

You know, I should really consider changing the name of my blog.  I am tending two cats and now a dog, after all.  I'll be honest and say that I am more a cat person than a dog person.  I like dogs, not as much as cats but I have welcomed Oscar into my home and will do my best to take good care of him.  We are still getting to know each other.  The two in combination crack me up.  

Skyler is so nosy to the point of risk sneaking up on Oscar in the open crate last night to see what he was gnawing on (a small rawhide bone).  I had gotten the baby gate to keep Oscar out of the living room but what I had not counted on was Skyler going around or over it.  Twice last night I stopped him from getting any closer to the dog.  The third?  I did not see him in time and Oscar finally did, barked and chased him out of the room.  BUT did that stop him?  NO, he did not learn his lesson---at all.  

Oscar meanwhile does not want to go OUT necessarily.  I can stand and hold the back door open and he won't budge.  However, if I get the leash and maybe his food bowl, he will go out the car port side happily.  He has piddled on the floor a couple of times even after walking and being out in the backyard for hours.  Those sad eyes when he is scolded.  "did you do that?"  and he looks like he has been whipped or something.

This morning at 6 when Skyler insisted for over a half an hour that I get up and feed him.  Oscar is buried so far under his towel cover that it looks like he is not even in there.  He did not budge through feeding the cat, my fixing and eating breakfast either.  Not until I went to open the gate did he even stir.  Food and a walk and he is back outside for most of the day.

At the same time, Skyler wants to run and play, wrapping himself completely around his scratching pole and digging in with those back legs.

If I were the one trying to sleep, I think I would want to be more like Oscar and drop like a rock and stay asleep till at least 7.  BUT you know who wouldn't hear of that!

When Oscar and I started out for the walk, Mamacita spotted us and I had to stop and feed her too.  It was a little early and I had not spotted her on my earlier outside trips.  She is getting a little bolder now and has twice walked into the house when I was trying to get back in the door for her food and holding Skyler back.  She has even been in the beauty shop when I went across the lane to get my hair cut earlier in the week!  Still no sign of the baby kittens, born on April 12 so they would not be weaned at 3 weeks.  I don't really mind as long as she and Skyler don't get in a hissing, fighting fit.  He just wanted to sniff and she just wants to get back outside to eat, LOL as that was why she came running when she saw me, after all.

I have had a dog before, back when I was in nursing school with my 4 housemates.  I forget just where she came from but we named her Abner---we watched a lot of Bewitched re-runs back in the early 70's and you remember how nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz used to call her husband "Abner, Abner".  Then came summer break between between junior and senior year and one of us had to take her.  My folks said she could come home with me but she had to be outside.  My brother Steve built her a dog house.  Then graduation came----could not have a dog and my family got custody.  I think my sister Janet was her favorite, after me.

We thought she was some sort of terrier but she really was no bigger than Oscar is.  These were taken when she came down to visit for the day with one of the kids.  The three younger kids would take turns coming to spend the day with me and we would fix whatever food they wanted, go out the mall on the bus, to the park or a movie or whatever.  I have pictures of Janet and I making fondue that were probably taken along with these pictures of Abner.  Phil was thrilled to make tacos as it was not something we had at home at that time.  It was not all that long after this that Diane lived with me for a time while she was attending the same school of nursing.  I loved this little apartment though I did not like the guy who later became the landlord.

This was back in 75 so the fabrics are really dated, LOL.  In the upper left, that was the flowered spread that I had used throughout nursing school in the dorm and house we shared but continued to use until I got a full sized bed. the same one I have today.   I still have and use the granny square afghan as my mom made it for me. I don't have a clue where the other one ended up that I have my head on watching TV with the dog.    In the lower right picture the dog is looking at Vernon the parakeet.  Birds were okay, I guess or I had one anyway for a short time anyway.

A little trip down memory lane, LOL.  In the here and now, since I was up plenty early as I said I have already been busy with the critters, breakfast detail and such.  I also swept up the grass clippings from the car port to try to cut down on the stuff I track in. (Robert mowed on Thursday Then I swept up the kitchen and laundry room, dusted in the living room and vacuumed the entire house.  I sat down to write this post just to cool down a bit!  The dishwasher has been run but needs to be unloaded/reloaded and a basket full of laundry awaits.  I'll save the bathroom cleanup for another day. 

 No sewing---maybe I will feel like it today?  What I need to work on has not changed but I do know now when my assigned day will be for the picnic hop so I have a little leeway but still, it would not be good to procrastinate too long when I have other things to work on too.  If I can only find some energy to get my rear end off this chair.

I hope you are having as lovely a day as we are here---got to love the low humidity and cooler mornings though I hear 80's are coming back in a day or two.   I like it how it is right now!