Jun 29, 2014

Sunday check-in

Yep, it has been a week since I posted and a dear friend gently inquired via email if everything was okay.  She assumed I was since she had seen a couple comments on facebook but no blog update.  <VBG>  Message received.

Seriously though, this week has been a bit of a blur.  There were a couple days where I did not feel too red hot and I will not get into the whats and where for's but thankfully it seems to be behind me now.  Just plain busy.  If it is not outside work, then it is stuff inside the house.  Outside work means more sweaty, smelling laundry to do.  I could/should be out raking dead grass away from the fence so I can see if I need to spray inside it for weed control.  Michael is not able to mow for another week or so and he is the one that weed whacks in there.  Three weed whackers and I don't know how to operate any of them.  Nor can I start my push mower by myself.  Pretty pathetic, right?

Neighbor Robert told me to open up the back gate and he would mow inside the back yard.  Only thing is there are low lying branches on the Rose of Sharon Bush that were making that a little difficult to get around.  He got out the loppers from the container he has mounted on the back of the mower.  When I saw what he was doing, I started gathering up the cutaways and dragging them down to the burn pile.  Two shower day as I recall that day.

 Now I am in the process of whacking down the half dead gardenia bush.  Robert will not be able to get the endloader in there to yank up the stumps but we can trim it down. I figured I would do what I could to make that happen.   Friday night, two wheel barrowsful of brush. Saturday morning, three more.  I was making good headway with just the pruner and lopper thing DJ had though I am wondering if I can operate the alligator lopper if I read the owner manual first.  BUT there is a bird's nest in there.  OH OH!  That came to a screeching halt when I saw something that looked a might furry on top.  Later it was quite apparent from the kitchen window view that there are like, 4 babies in there and that bird that had been squawking from the house gutters must be the mama bird.  Don't ask me about the variety of bird.  I honestly don't know but it is not one indigenous to Illinois.  Common down here though.   I'll ask the neighbors since they are all Alabama natives.There is one that hangs around the front of the house that dive bombs Kit Kit but I have since heard from Miss Katherine that the cat is climbing up in the trees and no doubt that is another protective mama coming after her.  She just sits down flat on the ground and moves once the bird goes up in the upward arc.

I honestly don't know where the week went.  On days like the one I had yesterday I am beat and aching by 10 a.m. and ready for Motrin, jammies and bed.  I don't do it but man, do I feel like!   On  I am lucky to make it to 8-8:30 before doing all three of those things though I am usually reading for awhile first.  The days are filled, I'm exhausted and you would think sleep would come easy.  I'll tell a little story on myself to show you just how jumbled up the week was.  I went into Subway the other day and told the counterman "I''ll have today's special, the 6 inch BMT on Parmesan Oregano"   He looks at the wall and says "Ma'am, today's special is tuna and this is Friday."  OOPS!  By golly it was but that is my second choice of fav sandwich from there so it still worked out.  He was kind about it but color me confused.

Tuesday was Bama Belles day.  Just 6 of us as it seems like either some of our members are dealing with their own health issues or that of their families.  It is also summer so there is a lot of things going on.  Bev was working on binding and handed in this BQ 1 quilt.  Perfect for a boy!   I forgot my camera and I lost my #1 Quilt Holder so I will apologize in advance for the lousy picture of it.  I could go take a shot outdoors if I think about it and run a curtain rod and clips out with me.  I left a couple of command hooks on the back of the shed.  DJ said "what are those white things?" but he didn't tell me to take them down.

Aline, Lois, Donna, Valera and I were working on strip sets for a Fiddlesticks  quilt.  You may recall, if you are follower/frequent reader, that I had cut up a bunch of donation fabric, mostly fat quarters and background strips from yardage on my shelf at the meeting two weeks ago for this purpose.  The pattern is from Deidre K. Brown of Teacher's Pet and on her "quickies" page .  She has a lot of cool ideas but this variation of Rail Fence blocks was a good way to use some of our donation stuff up in a slightly different twist.  I had essentially three stacks of print fabrics----a blue bunch, a purple/green bunch as it had 5 coordinating fat quarters in the bundle plus some other stuff that sorta, kinda went together and finally, a tan/rust/rosy/burgundy bunch only with the muslin like stuff.  Aline had cut her own version.  Lois grabbed the blues but also had some strips from her own stash.  Valera and Donna teamed up with the purple/green bunch and I had the third grouping.

This is today---and I finally got back to sewing 5 days later.  Of course, it became very obvious that we did not have enough of the background strips, even though they were 60 wide and I had started with  just shy of 4.5 yds of it. Even with piecing muslin end to end from the strip cutaways it was clear by lunch time that I had to make a fabric run if we were to get any further with the project.   Wilson's Fabric did not have muslin, and the lady was pointing me to their 90 wide sheeting.  Nope, that was not it but I knew I could not match it anyway since I had no clue what or where that yardage had even come from.  Off to Hobby Lobby----90 wide permanent press very close to the right color and I grabbed the rest of the bolt.  I only got through sewing just one strip to all 11 colors in my bunch.  Valera pressed them for me while I cut up another 6 yards of strips.  I split the yardage in half and then cut using the approximation nose to arm length.  Later in the week, Valera said she needed about 4 more strips so I met her at a rendevous point to deliver them, LOL.  I have heard that Lois has her top together with just the blue colors.  Can't wait to see it especially since mine is lagging.   Oh, the Wrap Them in Love suggested size of 40 x 60 will take 2 yards of background and 70 blocks without borders.  FYI, LOL.

I've got more strips cut but only did one pass through with the 11 strips and since they were fat quarters in some cases, we sewed them end to end.   I want to see just how many squares I can get from one strip set before I start sewing all willy nilly and wind up with a bunch left over.  Yeah, I know nothing ever really goes to waste in donation quilts but who really needs more orphan blocks??  I'll have an answer to that question once I press and cut that bunch you see above.  Some strips may end up in a more traditional rail fence manner.

Oh, I have other things I could be sewing.  Always do.  Sewing-wise,  I am signed up for the "See You in September" blog hop and must get three items done and one of them must include Riley Blake gingham.  I know what I am doing but have not gotten started yet.  The fabric is on hand.   Still have family items that are due in July and August and not started.  I might get the guild challenge top done but not quilted, not in time, in other words.  For now, the little bag I had started is on hold till I get the Singer back from the service person.  I developed some big time tension issues when I was sewing a bit last Sunday.  I tried everything I knew to do---change the needle, re-thread, different spool of thread, new bobbin, clean the lint out the best I could.  Time for a service call.  Mr. Haynes works out of his home and we arranged to meet either Wednesday or Thursday when he would be coming to "town".  He took the Singer and my Janome Jem which had not been in for servicing for years but then I don't use it near as much as the others.

I am getting to use the "new to me" New Home though.  I try to do a whole project on the same machine, start to finish, if I can remember which one I used, that is, LOL.   I appropriated the 1/4 inch snap on foot from the Jem though.  The New Home HF 3000 is a computerized machine and the needle position can be changed.  Some machines like my Kenmore slant-o-matic cannot (as I recall) so sometimes that influences my choice of which one to pull out.  I do like to rotate them but man, I do love that old Singer model.   Not a featherweight but I still love it!  It had belonged to Lois' mom and Lois is always happy to know that it is being used.

What else??  See, this is why I should and usually do, post more often.

  •  I've not done any major closet cleaning other than a few odds and ends in the linen closet area but still need to finish up what I started in the master bedroom.  It has waited this long but the clutter bothers me.  I need to deal with his bathroom as well.  
  •  I forgot how to put in a hallow wall anchor and now have a large hole to patch in the living room but for now put the picture back up over it.   There are some other spots that need dry wall compound and all that so it is project for, say, winter!  
  •  I now know how to change the vacuum cleaner bag----DJ always did that but then he vacuumed more than me to begin with.  
  • A friend reminded me that I could grate up all that zucchini that some how made it way to my house after the meeting and use it for bread later when I despaired having so much to try to use up.  I still baked up one batch yesterday though.  
  • I also have a guild newsletter to write up but still waiting for articles.  
  •  I have been asked to do a little project for the guild Christmas in August sew-in.  I probably wasted 3 hours looking at patterns in craftsy for inspiration and still need to look at pinterest. 
  •  However, I did come up with a new way of doing an existing block that might be the way to go for my presentation.  Blocks go together quickly, would work well for a donation quilt, I think.
  •  I need to get a galvanized tub to put the dog in to give him a bath as the bathtub thing does not hold water in the tub.  I keep forgetting but it has been broken for years and neither DJ and I ever felt compelled to soak in the tub.  Our frequent houseguest did so two guesses who is responsible.  
Piddly stuff?  Maybe but it fills the days.

Speaking of Oscar.  He did the cutest thing the other night.  I had the back door open (there is a storm door) and I was folding some laundry.  Oscar was in the house playing with his toys in the kitchen.  All the sudden he wants out but he is hauling the rawhide bone he had been playing with in his mouth.  Okay, you want out, then go.  Thankfully, I did have another one for his crate on hand.  He has two outside now.  He also has taken to stopping by the car as if we might be going to go into the park to walk instead of up and down the lane.  He does get his wish 2 or 3 times a week, weather and schedule permitting.  He still hates being in the carrier and pulls the cute act by laying on the seat and smiling at me, showing his belly.  It has worked precisely once!  I can't trust to him to not be trying to climb up in front with me.  Not yet anyway.

As for Skyler, he is so jealous of the dog.   Just to get rid of those large cans of Friskies cat food that Miss Katherine gave me Oscar has been getting a bit in his dry food.  Skyler sits up on the kitchen pass through and starts meowing even though he just had some.  Will not let the dog get up on him.  I sit in kitchen to keep an eye on Oscar and he just meows, like "I'm in here, all alone.  Come sit with me"   He also will NOT stay on his side of the gate.  They came within about 5 foot of each other last night, Skyler hissing at him the whole time.  Oscar was good and just laid on the utility room riug giving me the basset hound eyes but behaving.  What they might have done if I were not sitting in the kitchen is anybody's guess.   If I felt comfortable enough about having him loose in the kitchen and if Skyler would not be happing over to harass the dog, then I might be able to sew in the evenings again instead of feeling like I have to be in the vicinity to run interference with those two.

Kit Kit is released from her confinement now but is mostly hanging at the neighbors.  She may even be in at night still.  She comes down here and I have put food out for her but she just sniffs and walks away.  She didn't care what I fed her when she was pregnant but now she is getting wet food too!  Not happening at my house.  Oscar is not afraid of Kit Kit but the other neighbor cat he is.  Maybe he would be okay with Sky---eventually???

And sew it goes.  Almost time for afternoon doggie feeding, maybe a walk but I am more willing to push that back till after 6 when the sun starts getting below the tree line.  Today we have a nice breeze blowing and it is almost pleasant if the sun gets behind the clouds.  I feel a leg stretch coming on-------

Jun 21, 2014

Sew-in report

 What a fun day with the girlfriends at guild!  The event is always three days but the only one where all 4 of us could get away was Friday so we loaded up in Jane's SUV and off we went.  Terri's husband offered to help pack up the back end thinking we needed a hand to fight 4 machines and accompanying bags and supplies in there  but this was NOT our first rodeo, LOL.

I had elected to work on a little rewards project though I certainly could have started on my guild alphabet challenge piece, due next month.  Just not in the mood to sew strip sets.  This little bag kit from Quilt Taffy that I got with the giveaway from Carol's of Just Let Me Quilt fame was just ticket.   The pattern is from "Whatcha Got?" from This and That patterns designed by Sherri K. Falls.  Corrie packed it up with a charm pack of Moda's American Jane Potluck.  With 42- 2.5 inch squares this large size only uses half of the pack so I could conceivably make another.  I am pretty sure that the Ashville Quilt Shop has what Corrie called "Pez" fabric on hand.  Using the same fabric for the backing and lining, she had sent 1/2 yard of the measuring tape fabric.  I would have to track down some vinyl or pet screening would work too.

As you can see I did not get too far with it.  What  you don't see from this lousy picture is that the little charm squares are actually already sewn to a piece of vinyl that Corrie had cut saying "it is hard to see on the mat" and since she had to cut a section off to kit it up, she cut it to size.  I appreciate it!  I would have had the front completely done but after carefully arranging the color sequencing the way I thought I wanted it, I sewed on section upside down and had a concentration of red in one corner.  Rip----again!   I had also misunderstood the folding part for the zipper tabs.  DUH, do it like you do purse straps and you won't have to worry about a raw edge!  A glue stick or a dot of glue and the touch of an iron would have helped to hold the zipper in place at the tab end but no one had one with them.  I am tossing one in my sewing bag while I am thinking about it!  Since I was traveling "light" yesterday (see the comments about 4 machines etc in the back of the SUV, LOL), half the house could not come with me!

We had a brown bag lunch with the group though some of the ladies did run out for lunch.  Our program gal and her mom bring their camper and stay out at the lake for the three day run of the sew-in to prevent that running back and forth from their home which I think is a 2 hour round trip away.  I know when I go for two days by myself I have thought about just staying overnight in a hotel one night rather than trucking back and forth, have my own personal retreat.  Now it would take some planning for the critters.

We 4 had talked about possibly stopping for an early supper depending on what time we left the sew-in.  Frankly after nibbling on some of the food people had brought to share, including Terri's frosted pumpkin bars and my cookie brownies I don't think any of us were ready to have Mexican food at 3:30.  We'll shoot for another time.

Speaking of critters, I don't know what these two were doing all day while I was gone but look at these two lazy bones.  Skyler is lolling around on
the bed though he did greet me at the door.  Sometimes this is his playing pose too.  Run and chase down the hallway and he leaps on either bed and wants you to either pet his belly or flop down with him.

Oscar on the other hand:   yeah we walked up and down the lane when I got home like we often do but poor thing looks exhausted.  I would expect this after the park laps.   Tough job patrolling the back yard, tossing his rawhide bone around and digging little holes in the back yard?  It had been a hot day and by evening it was a bit muggy.  I assume that dogs can get overheated just like people do?  I heard some distant rumbling and it looked like rain was on its way in again.

Miss Kathrine called and said that Kit Kit had turned her nose up at the Friskies canned food that she had been giving her .She, like Skyler eats primarily dry food with the wet more like a treat bite.  Did I want to try it?  Skyler is a Fancy Feast guy but I could see if he would eat it rather than let it go to waste.  OR Oscar will eat anything, LOL.  I went across the lane, visited with her a bit, played with the cat though she was being mighty feisty.  Her post-surgery confinement is coming to an end and Miss Katherine is ready for Kit Kit AKA Mamacita to be back to neighborhood cat status.  She has been getting into EVERYTHING.

I needed to run out to get something for supper after our visit since our early supper plans had fallen through.  As I was coming home and waiting to make a turn at one of the t-intersections near here, a lady was turning and rolling down her window looking right at me.  It looked like she needed some help.  She asked if I knew where the McClellan ball fields were.  I had a fair idea and told her it would be far easier to just have her follow me over than try to explain where to turn and such.  "Whip a u-ie and I'll get you over there."  I was not doing anything important last night other than unpacking from sewing.

Remember where I had the picnic recently and the pictures of the aquatic and fitness center?  The diamonds and football field are in that same complex.  Maybe even soccer field or two as well? I hopped out of the car to tell her that I thought this was the spot and parking was also available across the road, it being the same complex and property.  Bless her, she offered to give me some gas money but I wouldn't hear of it.  Only a couple miles drive and I am always running over that direction for some reason.   I asked where she was from just to get her on the right track towards home once the game was over.   By that time, it was really darkening up so I hope all those folks did not get wet sitting out watching the team in the All Star game.   I had some rain on the windshield but not too much to worry about using the wipers.

So another day dawns.  I am going to try to finish up that little bag today.  I also picked up the missing power cord and foot pedal for the New Home machine I got from Sherry's estate from one of the gals at the sew-in so I have "new to me" machine to try out.   I don't see where the cords and pedal are to pack into the hard shell sewing machine case so it could be that my new bag will house them.   But first, I am going to go dust and vacuum.  THEN I can play.  I've been up since 5:30 so Oscar has walked twice, a load of clothes is done and the dishwasher is already running.  Beyond that, who knows?  Wait for the grass to dry and go spray a weed or two probably.  That is how it goes lately.

Jun 19, 2014

checking in

 I'm afraid that sewing this week has more or less been a pipe dream once I got Skyler's #2 perch cover done.  Oh it looks so much better though I wish I had figured out how to round the corners a bit.  The thing was I was not sure exactly where the overlap at the top was going to be happening so that didn't help in locating the base part.  Needless to say, he is enjoying BOTH locations.

I had then turned my attention to making a sort of slip cover for Oscar's mat but with a zipper at one end so it can be removed and washed.  The original mat did not have that capability.  So far he is not scratching at it like he is trying to dig to China, like he does in the car crate!!  He seems to be quite cozy on the fleece cover.
I had to laugh at Oscar the other night though.  In the picture he is not facing the camera because he is playing with his little rawhide bone.  I was at the kitchen table keeping him company and reading a book in the Kindle app on my tablet.  Well, he got the bone stuck in the wire frame somehow there where the door closes.  He is on the outside of the crate trying to pull the bone through the rest of the way and pulling for all he is worth, to the point where he had pulled the whole crate, rugs and all over towards me at the table, a good foot or more away!  Strong little dogger with strong jaws but I already knew that from playing tug of war with his sockie or that little toy from the Dollar store.  Thing is, if he gets a hold of either of his toys he runs them back into the crate and it is hard for me to get them back out of there.  He does not quite "get" the concept of fetch---drop it at Mom's feet and she will play some more with you, LOL.

Today the fan blew a cover of a disposable knife I had used to cut some brownies I had baked for the sew-in tomorrow and he found it, hauling it off to his bed.  Same thing with a powered drink tube.  He thought they were his, I guess and was storing his treasures.  Worked till I spotted them anyway.

Mostly it has been cutting back weeds, spraying weeds and yard work around here.    It had been about 10 days since the back yard was mowed but Michael had not mowed next door either.  I needed to put some bug spray down in the back yard in Oscar's prime spots but knew the grass needed to be cut first.  I figured I would get the push mower out and take care of it.  I couldn't start it and had to called Robert over to help me.  First of all, I forgot to prime it and 2nd, I was about out of gas.  Robert came over on the rider and told me to unlock the back gate and he would take care of it while I ran down to the filling station.  He got it going and I did some trim work---but then killed it when I was about done and couldn't get it re-started.  I must not have the muscle power to get that pull cord snapped tightly enough or something.   Robert, good neighbor that he is, went ahead and mowed next door when the step-daughter who actually lives in the house said Michael had had some surgery this past week.

If I haven't been outside walking the dog, whacking or spraying something outside I have been washing sweaty dirty clothes.  Or bath towels.   I don't know when I have sweat so much but this is the first summer that I have really had to spend this much time outside.  It does not help that we have been in a static weather situations of high 80's/low 90's as daytime highs and lows in the 70's for a week or more now.   Then it is varying degrees of humidity to deal with too.  Yesterday was worse than today, in fact I was just sure we were in for rainfall but it did not materialize.  Let me state again, that I did not move South for the summers. I could sweat just as easy in Illinois, LOL.  Oscar and I didn't let that stop us though as we did the park scene two afternoons in an row, two laps around the local park with about 10 stops to let him tinkle on the first lap.

I had thought for the last two days that I would get around to dusting and vacuuming but that has been a pipe dream too. I started out the day by making some homemade pimento cheese spread and then promptly made a sandwich for breakfast.  Then a double batch of cookie brownies to take for the sew-in treat.  We have been doing "on your own/brown bag" this year rather than having to have a hospitality committee feed us.   I also made a batch of chili just because it sounded good to me and I had some ground beef that needed to be cooked up.  I'll heat up the house a bit more a bit making some corn muffins to go with it.  Nothing really sounds good much lately.  I eat because I have to and sandwiches are just easier.

Yesterday afternoon Aline called and asked if I wanted to run out for a sandwich with her and Jane.  While I appreciated the invitation I was right in the middle of cleaning out my bedroom closets with some thoughts that I was going to head in to DJ's right after that.  Hate to impeded forward progress with the less is more approach.  But DJ's clothes??  I had been avoiding that---open the door and think about it and just close it .  I was just not ready yet.  I made myself deal with it yesterday, close to tears but I made it till later in the evening.  The whole room smelled like him once I had opened the doors and aired it out.

 It's summer and he had a ton of short sleeve shirts in there doing no one any good.    I made several trips to some of the donation bins near here but the bulk of the items I divided up between the Baptist Service Center near here and the All Saints Interfaith Center for Concern.  I had taken his coats and shoes to the Baptist Service Center this past winter.  I told them I would be back but I was not ready  4 1/2 months later, I was.   There are a few items in there that I cannot let go of yet.  No one would want them but me but I have some sentimental attachment to them. I think I am allowed that.   I delivered the items to both spots this morning.  One kind lady told me that DJ will live on in fulfilling their mission to help others in need.

 I still need to pick a project to work on at the sew-in tomorrow, pack up my supplies and load the car.  Who knows?  I might even decide that I am tired of looking at that dusty coffee table and do something about it and floors.  Always something around here.

Jun 14, 2014

odds and ends EDITED

 I have gotten a bit of sewing done towards the end of the week.   In fact, I went almost straight from one project to the next thing on the mental list.  Here I am trying to make a pattern for Skyler's perch cover last evening, cutting into the old worn out one to see what its approximate measurements should be.  I had ordered the fleece stuff to do this months and months ago. Both perches (yes, he has two!) need attention and there is no need to even laundry them when both of them were looking pretty sad.

I had completed the hand finishing on the binding of the bedroom valence on Friday morning, doing the bulk of the assembly and half the binding on Thursday.  This was after helping to rake up the brush from the bushes Robert had trimmed up after he mowed the yard.  It is a wonder I had any ambition at all after that!  Hot, sweaty work.

Then Jane called and invited me to run over to the Ashville Quilt shop with her, Aline and Terry on Friday afternoon.  They along with several of our quilting pals are doing a BOM with the quilt shop but with a different twist.  They give the participants the fabric and they get to pick their own block patterns to use it.  It has been interesting to see how differently the projects have come out.  Some are appliqued, others pieced.  I think so far  the fabric has been something like an Aunt Gracie closely packed background like print.   Anyway, we had quilt guild today which conflicted with their scheduled session so they got what they needed on Friday.    I'll show you what I came home with a little later in the post.

I was up early again today, (thanks a lot,  Skyler)  but had found poor Oscar had apparently gotten a little sick last night.  I cleaned out his crate upon discovering the mess.  Hooray for Resolve carpet cleaner as Skyler had gotten sick the night before.  What is it with those two??  I started a load of laundry to wash up his messed up towel, etc .  Since I had to get the vacuum attachements out for the crate, the kitchen floor and then most of the carpet got vacuumed right after.  It is around 5:30 at this point.

 THEN I sat down to finish prepping and sew the perch cover.  No breakfast, not dressed, not showered but sewing.   I thought  " it is just some edge finishing and two simple seams"  Ah, famous last words there, LOL.   I was determined to have it back up by the time I left for guild.

Skyler apparently approves.   I will be making another cover for the one in the opposite side of the house but he will need to vacate it first, LOL.  I believe he tracks the sun in the house, mornings on the sunrise side and afternoons/evenings on the sunset end.   There may also be enough sheepskin fabric leftover to make a zip cover for Oscar's crate pad so that may follow if that is the case and I get a zipper.

TADA!  Two finishes.  The picture I took this morning was way too dark (like the one above, LOL)   for you to see what the valence turned out like so I re-did it this afternoon.  I ate a half peanut butter sandwich running out the door, had 5 minutes to shower, 10 minutes to drive and was only 5 minutes late to my destination.  I was to drive today so they didn't leave without me.   The pretty blue patriot swirl Quilter's Candy from Connecting Threads is what I used for that recently completed dust ruffle.  I lined it with their Musical Scroll from their Symphony of Blues line.   I have leftovers and some of the other fabrics in the line so it is entirely possible that I will be making a quilt that will go on that bed at some point.    Also please note that the sun has been shining---for a change---most of the day though it was quite foggy at 5 when I got up.
Off we went today to St. Clair county for quilt guild.  For various reasons, I have missed a few meetings this years so I finally could turn in a donation quilt and show my Paint Chip Challenge that was due back in December 2013.  I also had my stitchery hop bag to show but the last two finishes had to be mailed out so no go there.  

The program was on antique irons.  Our program person Loretta's mom had collected them but she also invited to others who may have had some to bring them too.  Interesting what our foremothers had to go through to iron and smooth fabrics.  Heavy things and some actually looked more like smooth rocks than cast iron or whatever.  

There was a lot of other things happening today besides show and tell and the program.  Loretta's mom lost her husband within days of DJ's passing.  Some damage to their home has forced her to move out and into Loretta's home.   Mrs. B he had brought boxes full of  fabrics and sewing things to donate to the guild.   Very sweet of her.

Then our friend Denise is trying to help a friend's father settle his daughter's estate.  Sherry and Denise were dear friends for years outside of guild.  Unfortunately Sherry lost her battle to health issues a couple weeks ago.  Denise with the help of another quilting friend had brought in some of Sherry's things to raise some funds .  There had been a featherweight machine but I got the New Home HF 3000.  Left the foot pedal behind though and realized that once I got home.  I've already emailed Denise about it and depending on what/where we'll work it out for pickup.  The quilt kit has 19 yards of fabric in it and I got it very very reasonably.  Don't have to make that pattern if I don't want to.   The purse is just cute--who doesn't like polka dots?  

In addition, we had planned on having a mini quilt auction in March for the quilt show, first time ever.  The auctioneer was arranged for, two charities were picked and the proceeds were to have been split between Lakeside Hospice locally and the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness nationally.  It did not happen much to our disappointment.  However, the decision was made to have a silent auction among the guild members instead if the members still wished to donate the miniature that they had made for this purpose.  It was so cool to see those hanging again at the meeting place.  Sales appeared to be brisk!   The pictures below were taken at the show.  I made blocks for the log cabin group miniature but just did not have time to make a mini.  Others did.

When I got home, I found that the giveaway order that I had gotten from Quilt Taffy's etsy store was already here.  THX to generosity of Carol of Just Let Me Quilt and a little money from me, I got this little cute kit to make a see through bag and some wonder clips to try.   A friend mentioned that perhaps I was due a reward project of some sort and this just might fill the bill!

This is my quilt shop purchases then.  The Blank Quilting Polka Dot and the Cat Party Print from Red Rooster are probably both headed to Baby R's drag around quilt.  I am still thinking chevrons for that one.  The aqua on the end is a Vintage Vibe piece from Faye Burgos and Marcus Brothers which should be a good fit for some of those Farmer's Wife Inspired Sampler blocks that I want to get to to working on one of these days.  I wish I could have gotten some of the Bonnie and Camille Scrumptious line as I love their stuff too but I refrained.   I know I have room for this stuff, more fat quarters, not so much, LOL.  

I hear Oscar barking and it is time for his supper.  When I got back from guild and lunch out today, I loaded him up in the carrier and we did two laps around the local park.  We also took a short jaunt up the lane to share my newspaper with the neighbors.  He is my paper dog!

Guess that's it for this installment.  To my family members in honor of events they are celebrating this weekend, I love you all.

Jun 11, 2014

quilts, meetings and sewing plans

A few pictures to share and so forth--------

First the "glamour" shot of the Storm at Seas wall hanging I made for Baby R's nautical themed nursery.  The shot on the back of our shed---the quilting shows up really well in this outside shot.
 Kristine and Andy had it in time for her shower on Sunday.  I had mailed it up to my sister, the baby's nana and told her they would need a dowel rod or cafe rod to hang it but it had a sleeve on the back for hanging purposes.   Quite thoughtfully, Diane took some video so I could see her open the package though she opened the rod first.  LOL, the look on her face was priceless.

I was told that someone at the shower had offered to take it off Kristine's hands as those where "her" colors!  I tried a shot here in the house too but obviously the command hooks above my bed were not up high enough or far apart enough.   Still the colors kind of go with my PopStix quilt.  What wouldn't with that colorful mix?   Meanwhile, Mr. Nosy Nose busied himself with the buttons and such on the wall hanging that has been up there on the wall.  He can't reach them otherwise.  This was the piece that I made for the "Say It with Flowers Blog Hop" last year.

As I mentioned, my recent blog piece is going to passed on to my niece Amber and fiance Greg who are to be married in mid August as a shower gift.  I found some picnic ware type dishes and packed that all up and sent it on its way to Colorado on Monday.  I doubt she follows my blog but it will still be a surprise for them.

I also got a nice surprise myself though as I won the Quilt Taffy.com gift certificate offered by Carol of Just Let me Quilt as part of her blog hop giveaway.  I have not had a chance to go shopping yet but Corrie of Quilt Taffy participated in the hop on Wednesday last week with that cool Swoon Quilt and large pieced Churn Dash comprised of smaller red squares.   I will be having a ball checking things out in her etsy shop later today.

Monday afternoon I decided that I could at least try to get the pattern made off of the old valence so whacked the old one in half plus what I considered to be seam allowance.  Two widths of freezer were the perfect width and good old painters tape stood in to bridge it all together.  I have no pattern for this as I had sort of traced it off on an existing valence shape that I liked all those years ago.  DJ used this since the summer we moved here (July 97) while the original one is hanging in the master bathroom.

I had not realized that the binding had faded to about the shade as the ticking I had used for lining but what do you expect for 17 years??

Tuesday was my day for cutting.  I was up early so was able to cut out the valence and lining before I had to get ready to go to Bama Belles.  The bias binding strips are cut as well.  Still haven't started sewing it but that is my intention for the day.

There were just 6 of us at the meeting.  Various family situations kept a few of the girls away, things that I hope are going to be resolved for those that are ill. Another is recuperating from surgery.   One of the gals that had bilateral knee surgery a couple months back had just completed her rehab and I was happy to see her back, driving and doing well.  Bridget and Donna were both sewing---Bridget on that embroidery bag roll up similar to mine and Donna, on her block of the month that is due this weekend.  Lois and Beverly were busy pinning some of Lois' more recent completions and later were cutting for the sewing project we are doing at the 4th Tuesday meeting.  Me?  Cutting all meeting.  2 1/2 inch strips background and donation fabrics so we can make some Fiddlesticks blocks and quilts for the kids.  I found that fair amount of the fat quarters Rosa had donated did go together though in a few cases, it was a little loosely, LOL.   I got a stack of blues mostly tone on tones that will work well together and Beverly added some of hers to the mix.  If we need more blocks, then I'll raid my blue stash at home or Donna said she had some leftovers from her Blue Chevron quilt (below).  Another pile was rusts to reds to pinks.  Another was more towards the greens.

We stayed in for lunch and I think we all went on home a bit after 1 pm.  Yesterday, like today, there was a forecast for a severe thunderstorm watch.  I just hope that the girls that live on the north end of the county like me got home before it hit.  It was getting darker and darker as I drove home, wind picking up etc.  We've already had a downpour this morning and Oscar was welcomed back into the house for awhile anyway.  I was promising him to keep an eye out and he would be back in before long, LOL.  He, as usual, did not answer me.   BTW my smart dogger is on to me holding the back door open for him to go out.  I even went out the door myself trying to convince him that it was okay to head out and he was still giving me that sad, hush puppy dog look with the ears dropping and mournful eyes.  He was also rolling on the welcome mat which seems to be his favorite spot next to his open doored crate.  Yes, he got away with that for a little while anyway.

Glynda and Miss Katherine picked up Kit Kit (her new name though I think Mama Kitty will still stick) after the Hip To Snip Express vehicle dropped her off along with the other dogs and cats that had made the trip and had procedures.   Pickette's Feed and Pet Supply allows the use of their parking lot for this.  I went over to see how she was doing last night and visited with Miss Katherine a bit after supper.  Glynda said they told her Kit Kit WAS in still in heat (we thought so) but amazingly, in spite of all her suitors, not pregnant.   That week's confinement prior to the procedure helped.    I've seen two of the baby daddies still lurking around in the neighborhood but she is staying inside and away from them for at least two weeks.  Since she is an outside kitty that may be a challenge once she is feeling a bit more lively!

Well, that valence sewing awaits as does a few more projects on the list.  See how far I get today.  I may put a more summery appearing quilt on that bed once I get the window treatment done.  I am tired of that room being the catch-all spot.  If I ever do have out of town guests, it cannot persist.

Jun 8, 2014

thanks, recipe and Quilt Symposium

I want to thank you for stopping by to see my Perfect Picnic Blog Hop entry.  Some of you were kind enough to leave a comment and I have tried to answer each email.  Y'all warm my heart.

I was also asked if I would share the recipe for the Freezer Slaw that my mentor gave me all those many years ago.  I'll be happy to.  I put it in my cooking software using the full amounts of the ingredients but I halved it.  It calls for 1 gallon of shredded cabbage and I had no clue how much that was but one good sized head was plenty!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Mrs. B's Freezer Slaw

Recipe By     :  Eunice Beetzel
Serving Size  : 16    Preparation Time :0:00
Categories    : Salads                          Side dishes

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1             gallon  shredded cabbage -- 2 heads
  1              large  carrot -- peeled and grated
  1                     green pepper -- chopped
  1                     onion (not in the original recipe but I used it) -- chopped
  1           teaspoon  salt
  1                cup  vinegar
     1/4           cup  water
  1           teaspoon  whole mustard seed
  1           teaspoon  celery seed
  2               cups  sugar

I used the "wrong" side of the grater/shredder plate in my food processor and grated mine but I like that texture better for coleslaw anyway.  The recipe makes a lot so you may chose to half it as I did.

Mix the salt with the cabbage and let stand for one hour to pull out the water in it.  Squeeze out the moisture.  I wrapped it up in a clean bath towel that had had no fabric softener on it to express as much of the liquid as I could.  Add the carrot and green pepper (chopped onion if you like it too)

For the dressing:

Mix the water, vinegar, sugar and seasoning.  Boil for one minute.  Cool the mixture to lukewarm temperature.  Pour over the slaw mix.  Mix well and freeze.

I put mine up in several smaller containers as I know it will keep well in the freezer till I am ready.  Thaws fairly quickly too. Good for picnics as the dressing is not mayonaisse based.

  "my co-worker and mentor shared this recipe with me back in the early 70's."
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 121 Calories; trace Fat (1.6% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 148mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fat; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

It had been a busy week what with getting ready for the blog hop, preparing picnic fare and the like.  I finished off the week by going to the JOY guild meeting at the invitation of one the founding members.  She had called and was to do a presentation on Patience Corner as part of an on-going member instruction thing but other than some blocks she did not have a quilt made up with it.  She knew I did because I had entered my Christmas version in a quilt show last fall where Ada had seen it and wondered just how that went together.   (The link will take you to a picture of it hanging at said show.)

Then on Friday I was off to the Alabama Quilt Symposium with pals Jane, Donna, Aline and Lois.  I had not been for a couple of years, I think the last time they were still having it up in the Cullman area and I drove with some of the girls.  This time it was over in Hoover, one of the Birmingham suburbs and Donna drove Jane's new vehicle, at Jane's request.  We had lunch at Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe at the Colonnade on the way back and got caught in a huge downpour on 1-20 not far out of Birmingham.  It followed us on home.

There were not as many quilts as I expected from previous trips to this but they had a separate Quilts of Valor set up in the cafeteria of the middle school that held the show.  The quilts were in small gym area with a stage in between it and the vendor area.  I turned in my program to be recycled early on as it was too hard to hang on to all the papers they handed us and take pictures too.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I know nothing or little about the makers, designers this time around.  One did have a sweet story and that I will share.

Jane, the young lady on the right in this picture stitched up twenty cat blocks for this quilt and was working on some of them last year when the lady on the left met her and struck up a conversation.  She told Jane if she finished up the blocks she would finish making the quilt for her.  When we had turned the corner and were looking at the cute quilt all the sudden there was a shriek from Jane.  She was so happy she was crying.  The lady was pointing out the Honorable Mention ribbon on it and I guess that provoked her reaction.  She told Jane she should not cry because the ladies would want to get a picture of them with the quilt they had made together.  Another woman who might have been Jane's mom said that the patterns were from Woman's Day magazines.  (I think I even have them in my redwork collection)  Congratulations you two!

This was one of the quilts in the QOV area.   Lois and I were looking at it as a possibility for our 2 1/2 strip collections/ideas.  We figured it was an 8 inch finished block and every other one is rotated.  I drew it up in EQ yesterday,  LOL as she wanted a yardage estimation for a Wrap Them in Love sized version (40 x 60-ish)

The maker said what the source was for this block of the month with the interesting setting but as I said, no notes.

Another block of the month project possibly offered by the Heart to Heart Quilt Shop but I cannot say for sure.

I like this one a lot, not only because it is a well executed medallion style quilt but the colors are right up my alley, LOL.

This was just a treat to look at with all manner of animal life represented. Things from the insect world as well.

One of the fat cat patterns from Sindy Rodenmeyer.  Sindy has patterns for sale but also does a free block of the month always in applique.

The quilting on this small wall hanging was out of this world.  On silk duponi.

These next three are from Dr. Peggy Rhodes who recently did a program at Friendship Quilters which I missed.   I believe she has authored a book on hexies.  I believe they start off as circles??

This is the only things I purchased other than lunch!   The Basix ruler may be a good one for our donation quilts---we are going to try it out with some of Rosa's donation fabric anyway.  You have some bias edge to deal with but that's why we have sizing and starch.

The folded corner clipper is to help with the guild challenge quilt that I need to be working on in coming weeks.

I was able to open the window for a short time this morning and Skyler was taking advantage of it.  He doesn't really care if his old perch is there or not if the window is open.

We had quite the spell of thunderstorms last night.  Apparently not severe enough to trigger the weather alert radio here in Calhoun County but so much lightning flashing and rumbling for several hours continuously.  The Birmingham market had a lot of power outages apparently and the storms were thought to be responsible for a large fire in Sulligent from what I read.  I first noticed it rumbling about 10 pm and it was still at it at 1:45.  Oscar was whining in his crate and was not happy in or out of it.  I was sitting with him trying to get him to settle down while unbelievably, Skyler was NOT under either bed by that time.  In fact, the little booger was sitting about 3 feet away from the crate door and hissing at the dog.  He has been puffing up and charging the baby gate too lately but I may have mentioned that.  Anyway, none of us got a whole lot of sleep last night.  Skyler was trying to get me up at 4:15 actually and I know I was awake till about 2.  By 6:30 there was no point in staying in bed.

 It has just started rumbling out there----- AGAIN!  I let Oscar back in the house as I don't want him getting hit by lightning.   The weather app on my phone sounded to announce that we are under a slight risk for severe weather.   This is not an unusual summer phenomena down for Alabama and in fact, there was an article in the local paper that explained just why these pop up rain showers and thunderstorms happen.  Lots of moist area pushing up from the Gulf, 2-6 pm is the hottest time of the day, the humidity level reaches the temperature level.  Boy Howdy on that!   I need a shower about every time Oscar and I go for a walk!  I don't know when I have sweat more but part of that is because I am definitely outside more than I used to be.  How often have I said that I did not move South for the summers??   I could sweat quite nicely in the swampy July and August in Illinois, thank you!  LOL.  I was surprised though to hear that all this rain is not a bad thing.   Quoting our ABC33-40 dude James Spann out of Birmingham    "“A good covering of June storms can mitigate the heat levels we often see in July and August,” Spann said. “Ample moisture in the soil keeps the earth from overheating, which in turn keeps the temperature down.”   Who knew??

Tomorrow Miss Kathryn and I have to be up quite early as we are taking Mama Kitty in to have her procedure.  She may still be in heat or already pregnant as there were 4 tomcats doing their level best to do so. Just to keep them away, she has been in the house with Miss Kathryn or out in the large dog crate with her bed, box and food available but keeping out the suitors this past week.   One of the local pet and feed stores is the pick up spot for the lower cost spay/neuter program but we have her there by 6.   They stay overnight in Birmingham where they do the procedure and then pick up is about noon on Tuesday.   I can go for the delivery but Glynda and her mom will go for the pickup.

I don't know that I will be getting anything creative done today or not.  The first thing on my list to do is a valence for the master bedroom but frankly, I am not really in the mood at the moment.  Think I'll go read and keep the critters company.   The baby shower is today so I will share the picture of the finished wall hanging that I made for them next time.  Hope I hear from my mom or sister to see what Kristine thought of it.

Jun 5, 2014

Day 5 Perfect Picnic Hop

Hasn't this been a fun hop so far?  I have enjoyed seeing the quilts that my fellow participants have come up as well as the yummy food they have prepared and the scenery at their locale.  Some have gone with indoor picnics and hey, nothing wrong with that!  Fun is where you make it.  Many thanks to our head cheerleader Mary of I Piece 2-Mary and of course, all great ideas spring from our incomparable Mdm. Samm of Sew We Quilt.   Also a big shout out to our sponsors  Peterboro Basket and Riley Blake Designs.  

So when we were ready to sign up, it was with these directions:

  • #1 create a picnic quilt
  • #2 obtain some kind of picnic basket 
  • #3 plan a detailed menu and share your basket contents.
  • #4 take photos of your outing and share how your day went....
  • #5 what books or games did you bring along  ( no phones, no electronic gadgets...must be left in the car or better yet at home) 

Okey doke, I was in.  As usual I had a couple of pre-conceived ideas of what I MIGHT do.  When it came right down to it, I decided to that I had better employ the KISS philosophy as all the sudden I had two deadline projects to do.  My niece's first baby shower is this coming Sunday the 8th.  Great auntie (me) had promised a wall hanging (Storm at Seas) for the baby's nursery.  Not only did it need to be finished but it also had to be mailed to my sister, the nana to be.  (I'll share a finished up picture of that once I know Kristine and Andy have opened the package).   AND none of us want to wind up on The List for not fulfilling our hop obligations!  My picnic quilt needed to be done no later than Tuesday night (the 3rd) so I could fit in the picnic time too!  Whew, I was done on Monday and had Tuesday set aside for some binge cooking.

Here is the view from my neighbors fence though it is not hanging properly with those binder clips.

In keeping with the "Keep it Simple" I used a pattern from my FAB pal Pat for my quilt that I had long had in the back in mind if I found the fabrics I wanted to use in this manner, keeping the fabric intact and then using contrasting fabrics for the checkerboard.  Pat uses two different colors for the checkerboard in contrast with the border.  I actually had dug through my stash looking for the proper shade of green finally settling on an emerald green tone on tone that MAY have been a Christmas fabric but at the last minute stuck with the red lady bug dot.  The backing is a Debbie Mumm lady bug print.  The body of the quilt is a older Blank Quilting Print but I don't think that the selvage indicates the fabric name.

I think you can see the bug fabric with butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, floral stripes a bit better in the following photos.  There is my picnic basket as well.  I have two picnic baskets----an old larger one what came with the dishes but I went with this small Longaberger basket that might be their pie basket.  It has a small shelf that fits in it and it would work for carrying a pie.  Since it was just me attending, I didn't need the large one.  Also my picnic location was fairly close to home and didn't have to worry about hauling a cooler or worry about food being out of refrigeration long.   It was stuffed full but I was still able to get the lid closed, LOL.

I had thought about inviting a friend but it came down to which one (didn't want anyone to be left out) .Then too whichever one I might have chosen would have had really no notice about joining me.  I was binding right up to the last possible minute almost.  I had also thought about bringing Oscar, my lately acquired dachshund.  I rejected that thought as well as there would be no way to contain him with just the short leash I have for him.  You will see why that was a less than stellar idea in a minute, LOL.

Okay, #1 and #2 are met.  #3 was the menu.

I brought the following

  • I picked up the chicken fingers at Walmart.  I don't fry anything and I happen to like these every once in a while, hot or cold.  I added a choice of honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping.
  • I used my friend Beverly's recipe for Quick Corn Relish for a cool summery salad 
  • I made a half gallon of Freezer Slaw halving a recipe from a former co-worker Mrs. B, my mentor when I was a young, wet behind the ears nurse.  Key words, this stuff can go in the freezer which is where a lot of what I make ends up when I do cook since my DJ is not here to dine with me.
  • I made some Chef John's Tzatziki Sauce to go with the crudites but mostly that was for another meal because I finally found some gyro sliders in the frozen food section, LOL.  Still tasted good with the raw veggies
  • I made a fresh fruit medley of cantaloupe, white grapes, blueberries and strawberries.
  • For dessert, chocolate chip cookie brownies 
  • The beverage was a variation of Sparkling Grape Lemonade only I used Minute Maid White Grape Peach instead of grape juice.  That stuff reminds me of Communion and I don't really like the purple kind.  
I said I was binge cooking?  I also made a recipe of baked beans, fixed a BLT for my lunch and baked a batch of Pumpkin Muffins for the freezer and also a Creamy Blueberry Pie before I called it quits for the day.  I spent about 6 hours in the kitchen including clean up time by then and the hall thermometer read 82 degrees. Oh I took all but two pieces of that pie down to my neighbors to enjoy when it was still warm from the oven.  I only make it once a year but I sure don't need to eat a whole pie!

So here I am ready to eat----too much to eat so I saved most of the fruit and half the brownie for supper.  I think you can see the fabric a little better in this shot too.

Over the park bench in the shelter.  It had sprinkled a bit on the way over to the former Fort McClellan.  I plan on giving this quilt to my niece Amber and her fiance Greg as a shower gift so I did NOT want to lay this on the wet ground.  Right after I took this picture it really began to pour.  That bit of sunshine to the right was gone and then I worried about the rain blowing into the shelter and getting it wet.

I had considered going up to Mt. Cheaha 30 some miles or so away from here for my picnic.  It is the highest elevation in Alabama at 2407 feet above sea level.  I live in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains so it would have been appropriate.  DJ and I had made several trips up there with and without out of town guests over the years.  It is gorgeous in the fall so I may try a picnic then.  My other thought was go to back to Lake Guntersville where we had also spent some time when we first moved down here.  A bit too far to drive so I stuck with the fort, a few miles away and this just happens to be a spot I drive past all the time on the way to the recycle bin and to get to the Eastern Parkway.  (quilt meetings, the Oxford Exchange).  

This area is right across from the Aquatic and Fitness Center.  I took a few pictures of the ducks in the area.  Hardly any of them were in the water but it had just poured down rain.  There is also some play ground equipment and more picnic tables but I couldn't quite figure out how you got down there.

The shelter I used.  You see a bit of the hills in the distance.

Weird variety of duck up close

Mama with her babies heading back to the lake

Oscar would have been going nuts if he saw all the ducks.  Good thing he stayed home!

The Aquatic and Fitness Center

 This is a horrid picture but it is still the best of the ones I tried to take of the little bridge area.  I completely missed getting the swimming ducks in there, LOL.

I took this one to show the architecture of the buildings at McClellan, the old Army base that was closed by the Base Realignment plans back in 98 or so, shortly after we moved down here.  This happens to be the back of the little fire station at the traffic circle.  Most are  this Spanish type, stucco looking, red roofed style deal.  It is quite lovely out at the fort but parts of of it largely undeveloped after all this time.  A more direct route out to I-20 is needed for that but there is about 5 more miles of road of the Eastern Parkway that needs to be completed before that happens.  Each year that deadline is pushed back.  DJ was right when he said it would not be completed in his lifetime----but they are at least back to working on it again!   For now we wind around the back of the fort to reach an area that is about 5 miles away from where I live and directly behind it.  

I guess I covered criteria 4 with the pictures of my picnic site.  It rained obviously but I was in a protected area and didn't get too wet going back and forth to the car.  As always I miss sharing a meal with my DJ--and that is what would have been needed to make it a perfect day in my book.  

And # 5?  Since I couldn't take my e-book along with that no electronic gadget rule, I took Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilts along with me but didn't crack the cover.  Often at meal time I am looking at a copy of Taste of Home magazine or one of my cookbooks but I didn't drag any of those with me.

I appreciate your stopping by my place today and hope you enjoy the remainder of the hop.  You can always check the overview on Pinterest.  The participants that share my day are listed below and I know you will enjoy what that they have to share today!  Till the next hop!  

(5:30 a.m. and I just realized I forgot to re-set my comment moderation status.  Going to take care of that for a few days)!

Friday June 6