Oct 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

This is as spooky as it is going to get around my home!  Really it is just a chance to enjoy the various Halloween themed pieces I have done over the years.

c. October 2013  made for the main entry in the Wicked Blog Hop Hosted by Sew We Quilt.  It is hanging in the master bedroom wall that occasionally is used for a pseudo-design wall.

I love this one so much that I made three of them.  Two of my FAB pals have fall bdays and they each got one and I had to have one for ME too.  Amy Bradley design that was in an old Quilter's World magazine that I clipped.

 This was a Bird Brain Design "Witches Hooray" that is hand embroidered.  Originally designed as a table runner, I decided I wanted it for a wall hanging.  Above my bed at the moment.  While not my original Wicked Blog Hop 2013 entry it did get it done in time to share for the hop.

Happy Halloween  Pattern Source:  Joined at the Hip BU#19   Completed 4-26-13

Nancy Halvorsen's Calendar Quilts & Stitcheries  c. 2010

Okay, now that I've done the nostalgia trail and shown you that I USED to get quite a bit of quilting done.............let's move on!  What has been happening around here?

Tuesday Belles met and I got one more Granny Square block completed for a grand total of 6.  Not touched it since as you may have suspected.  We had planned ahead of time to go to Olive Garden for lunch so we bugged out after Lois, Jane with help from Beverly got three quilts pinned.  Bev was working on hand work but Beverly had gone off without her embroidery hoop so her embroidered pillow cases had to wait.   Bev shared this fun table runner she had been working on.  The Jack o'lantern scare crows needed mouths completed.  Isn't it cute??

I did go to the afternoon quilt bunch but mostly to drop off the Belles' big board for Donna to use to press and king sized pieced quilt top she had completed at the retreat.  Well completed except for the borders, that it.  The whole body of the quilt is pieced neutral toned fabrics, mostly white on whites as I recall.  Once the borders are on she is going to applique on scattered fall leaves.  Her aunt had commissioned her to make the quilt.  I'll go for a bit this coming Tuesday and get another block or two done.  Jane, Aline and I are making plans to attend the guild sew-in one of the three days that they are doing it as well.   That's coming up.

Thursday I spent a big chunk of time in the kitchen again.  Jane had given me a copy of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  that she had picked up on a recent trip there with her husband.  Lots of good recipes in there and I tried the Spicy Apple Cake with Orange Glaze.  It uses apple butter so the "apple pie" type spices are dialed back.  The link is not from the magazine but to an almost exact ingredient list on sugar dish me.  As I was taking some of the fresh baked cake over to the neighbor, Jane was walking into the beauty shop so I sent a plate home with her to try.  I roasted some sweet potatoes at the same time because some of my Pilgrim Turkey Loaf was due to go in the oven next.  (After a couple days of leftovers, I still had enough for three plates for the freezer.)  I finished off the cooking binge with a pan of Quick and Easy Carmelitas that I will taking down to one of the neighbor's this evening as they invited me down to their chili/hotdog cookout once the great-grands are done Trick or Treating.  Hopefully the rain will stay away till afterwards!

Yesterday Jane and I went down to the Monster Quilting Sale.  One of many of area's quilting friends lost her battle to cancer earlier this year and this was her quilter's estate sale.  Her husband and BFF were in charge of it with the help of other friends and family members.  Borrowing an image from Vicky here.  This was not all of it or the table of books and such as they were still getting things organized in this photo.

We ran into three of our quilting friends, two who were back for round two.   This is what came home with me---31 fat quarters, the equivalent of three yards and misc scraps and charms.   All batiks or batik-like.  I'm thinking I might try that Rubix pattern by Stacey Day with some of it.  (Google"rubix quilt pattern stacey day"  as there is a free pdf.  If I link to it, it will just open the file.  The 2nd google link on AQS link is locked for members only.  Use the first one to the pdf.)

 They were charging $4/yd.  Vicky let me have the triangle on a roll which were not opened for 2 bucks each---these were 1 1/2", 2 1/2" and 3 inch finished.   I only have 2 and 4 inch finished on hand--till now.  The other is a product I am not familiar with Sew and Fold on a Roll and I think this one is for Flying Geese and Braid, also unopened.

The books were $5.  These were the ones I chose but I seriously could have done way more damage with books and let's be honest, fabric.  There was one large bin of batik yardage that I spotted after I had checked out.  It would have been nice to have some to try a Hunter's Star but I had set a limit to what I was going to spend.

The Sloppy book Strips and Strings had quilts that looked familar to me BUT I think Jane or Terri might own this one and I had looked through their copy at some point??   I have her 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts and love it, with several pages flagged for possible choices down the line.  Mom and I got one planned out on one of my trips back to Illinois some years back.  Still love that one!

While it is nice to have something to remember Jackie C. by, I think we all would rather have her back and sewing amongst us than picking through her things, after the fact.  What a dear lady!  Her mother-in-law also quilted so I think she probably had her things augmented from the MI's estate.  It makes me wonder what will happen to my things when I leave this Earth.  If anyone hauls it to the dumpster, I WILL come back and haunt you.

I had not even put away the things I got at the retreat till this morning.  I've got all the fabric put away and the large decorative container cleared out.  I filled it right up again though!   There were enough books, especially with the "new to me additions" of the last two weekends, that were either piled on or under the coffee table to contain them there.  But first, a cleaning out of the old catalogues and cooking mags in the basket on the coffee table----serial cleaning!   Now the reading material/inspiration is nearby for evenings on the couch with the critters.

Other than that, the usual home chores keep me busy---like I have said, I am always washing something around here!  The critters better keep out of my way or they are next, LOL.  If  not that, then errands or walking.  The female dog up the road is in heat and I cannot keep Oscar from wanting to take extra walks lately.  Plus there are a couple other dogs sniffing around too.  Oscar and I have to give them a wide berth.  He is driving me nuts though---put him out and he wants right back in, gets back in and he is whining to go back out upping the lane trips to 5 and 6 times rather than 3 or so.

 I posted some pictures of them on Facebook the other day but here's another view.  Try to get a cat to look at the camera when they are only interested on going up high.

Oscar, meantime, has taken to digging to China again.  I caught him whining and poking his nose through the fence as though he had seen varmits under the shed. He did not even try to disguise that he had been tearing out the grass.  The ground is softer from the three days of rain earlier in the week so he is going to town on making a muddy mess.  The kitchen floor needs mopping badly but it is going to wait till this front has moved through.  

I have thought for three days that I would be getting started on the newsletter but I am still waiting for submissions.  Frankly, I got busy with other things.  Once I come back from walkie #4 I will consider getting started on it since I normally have it out by the first day of the month.  One more after this and I am finally done with this job and the guild gets someone else to do it for a two year term.  Not going to be me is all I know.

And sew it goes, sometimes, LOL------------

Oct 26, 2015

retreat chapter two AKA got my camera back

See the first post for the blow by blow details about the retreat.  Such fun!

I made arrangements with Gail to pick up my camera from her in a retreat site parking lot rendevous this morning.  I can now share some of the other pictures I took.  The QOV blocks,  quilters at work and such.

My variation of Independence Square for the QOV block

Tesselated Maple Leaf

The QOV block display

The Fall Block display.  The fat quarters were displayed on another panel like this as we plucked them off table by table.  We are going to do the fall blocks again next year but in a different format.  Make so many, pull out so many from the pot once we are all done admiring them!!

Blocks in progress.  The room behind is were they had the ironing stations set up.

One lady was making thse adorable clothes pin dresses.  At least I think that's what they were.

Panel quilt display

The Dresden Quilt Display

Dresdens and dresden runners.  Aline made a 2nd runner and donated it as a door prize.  You can see the tip on her prize winning one with the blue ribbon on it.

My buddies Marilyn, Jane and Donna.   Aline came in a bit later.   Baby picture display on the left.  

My buddies Lois and Margarita

THX for stopping by------

Oct 25, 2015

Retreat fun! It WILL be long--just warning you, LOL

When we last convened here on my blog, I had said that I would soon be off to a quilt retreat. Well, it happened Thursday through Saturday up in the next county north, thanks to the Heritage Quilters Guild based in Atalla, Alabama. What wonderful hostesses lead by the dynamic Gail! Usually "retreat" implies that you are staying at some venue overnight and we did not since the sewing event was held at the 1st Baptist Church. As I had said, there were about 40 of us signed up but a couple had either health problems or family situations that kept them away. Lots of sewing machines buzzing getting tops or blocks done or near done, two cutting tables going as people were cutting things out and getting their next projects ready.

I will apologize in advance for the less than stellar pictures I am going to include with this posting. As I was unpacking my various bags and containers last night, I discovered that I did not have my digital camera. I emptied EVERYTHING out---twice!--and it is not here. I called or messaged my table mates to see if it ended up in their bags somehow. No one called to say "I got your camera and I'll bring it by" Jane said she had gotten a call about her strip plug though. I will get with the lady in charge later today to see if they found it laying some odd place and someone turned it in. Meantime, I'll muddle through with these shots from my camera.

They provided an Italian meal for us on Thursday and those that wanted leftovers on the other days were invited to dig in.  There was a nearby restaurant that some went to and some of us brown bagged.  One of the girls made lemonade pies and peanut butter pies to go with the meal that were quite yummy!  They gave the centerpieces away which were decorative glass bottles made to look like an Italian restaurant.  This poster (below) was on the wall with command strips and I won it.  A snoopy kitty thought he had to get in on the photo session!

One of the activities was a notions and book swap deal.  Bring in so many items and swap them out.  This is what I picked out.  (Ignore the stuff that sits on my desk, LOL)

  •  The New Sampler Quilt by Diana Leone.  I've got the Quilts, Quilts Quilts book (s) that she wrote with Laura Nownes so figured it was a good choice. 
  • There is one of those binding tools to play with
  • a Singer sewing machine puzzle 
  • a locker hooking kit that use can use to make a rug or pillow in charted qulting designs.  I've done rug hooking before and I think this is similar.

Each day when we arrived there was some new goodie at our station.  First day, we found the upcycled jean trash bag, the munchie goodies and the flower pot pincushion.  Some members of the group made up these things.  Aline and Jane passed out the tissue holders they had made along with a large pipe cleaner for de-linting your sewing machine.  The mug rug was another giftie.  They had put a whole bunch of fat quarters on a lattice panel and called us up by table number to pull one.  We did this two days.  I ended up with three though since Jane pulled a purple on and handed it to me.

2nd day, we arrived to a pieced pin cushion and the cute painted snowman jar.  The same lady that did the jars had painted the pumpkin name pins.  The treat bag has all kind of goodies in it--candy, an oatmeal cream cookie, tissues, a little pen and notebook, a little roll of scotch tape,  twisty straw.  Like we had gone trick or treating!  I need to drag out my candy dish from wherever I tucked it.

A little story about the tote bag.  Alice was one of our table mates at lunch the first day.  She was working on the bag as a practice run of a pattern she had not used before.  She said someone had asked her to make a bag using Alabama team fabric and she didn't want to cut into it till she knew she could do the bag properly.  I admired how it had turned out and she just gave it to me saying she plans on lining the Bama bag.  I offered to pay her for it but she wouldn't take it.   Nice tote and I'll think of Alice when I use it.

Yesterday we came in to a quilter's emergency bag of M & M's, the Russell Stover chocolate marshmallow pumpkins and another Halloween treat made from a tootsie roll pop (I think--too cute to unwrap it).   The other was something I won in a game and I'll tell you about that in a minute.

I don't know how well you can make out the script on the M & Ms but it is pretty cute.

Dosage indicated for symptoms listed
  • Eat 1 Brown if seams are not a 1/4 inch
  • Eat 1 Yellow if points don't match
  • Eat 1 Orange if rotary cut strips look like a "V"
  • Eat 1 Green if you have to miter corners
  • Eat 1 Red if your bobbin runs out of thread ( I assume, and you keep sewing a long seam in spite of it!)
  • Eat 2 Blue if you measured once/cut twice
If the symptoms persist, eat the whole BAG
(There were not enough M's to be had for what I was working on, LOL but the goodie bag did come home intact!)

We played several games.  One was a scavenger hunt---Gail would say "if you have spool of lime green thread, come get a ticket" or "if you have 7 quarters in your wallet, come get a ticket".  We did that over two days time.  I only had one--for a retractable tape measure---but I think the gal that one first prize had about 17 of the items Gail had called off.  

Another game related to the 12 inch finished Patriotic blocks we had made for Quilts of Valor.  They were wonderful and we had enough turned in that they anticipate making at least two quilts.  Anyway, they handed out a little quiz with questions like "name the three branches of the US government"  "who was Jimmy Carter's Vice President"  "what does it say on the Great Seal".  Oh boy!  I was reminded of how much I had forgotten on the first read and high school civics was some time ago.  Really few of us could probably pass the U.S. Citizenship test if we were not native born citizens, I bet.  Carolyn won with 12 out of 15 but I was in a group of 6 who got 11 out of 15.  Gail had some additional tie breaker questions and I knew the answers right till the last one was eliminated with a question about the New Deal---answer was FDR and the other gal didn't know.  I won the Jane Stickle magnetic bookmark (Gail had been to Vermont this summer and saw the Stickle quilt!)  with a seam ripper and a one second needle kit with bonus 10 piece sewing kit.  The packaging says you can thread the needle blindfolded---ha, we'll see about that!  I would share a picture of the block I made, a variation of Independence Square with colors switched up, but I think it is on my MIA camera and/or I can't think what I called the cropped version I possibly have on the computer.  :-(

We also did a match up the baby picture game.  I only had a few guesses and my table mates had told me which ones were theirs so I didn't participate but it was still fun to look and see if we could figure it out. Mine was taken at about 4 months or so from an image my dad and sister had scanned so I had it printed up at Walmart to a larger one.  Jane thought they could guess me as soon as they saw red curly hair but I think I fooled them.  One lady said she didn't think the hair color was right--it looked more brown, in the re-print, I guess, but I did use a color print rather than a black and white to really stump them.   

We were invited to participate in their quilt show and entering quilts made from panels, a table runner or dresden plate.  I didn't think I could participate but then I remembered I had a quilt made from panels and even another one in the UFO pile!  I entered my "Sisterhood of Quilters" quilt made from a panel Cher had given each of us FABS and got a 1st place ribbon.  Aline got one for her table runner too.   Since the pictures of all the entries is who knows where at the moment, I'll share this old one from Feb. 2010 when this quilt was hung above my bed on completion.

We were also asked to make 6 inch finished fall blocks.  One lucky retreater would win all the blocks and they went to my friend Aline.  I borrowed this image in a screen shot from Gail's facebook page so you could see this pile of wonderful blocks.  Mine is the one in the very bottom row down in the lower right corner.

There were also door prizes and we each won one, thanks to Gail's good shopping and the generosity of Wilson's Fabrics and Ashville House Quilt Shop as well as member donations.  I won this wonderful container from the quilt shop chocked full of things!  I'll show it full and emptied out.

I think you can see this stuff okay--book, magazine, pattern, pen, tree forms and I think that is a dvd on quiltsmart shape, chenille by the inch.

There 7 of the mini charm packs of  "Holiday in the Pines" by Holly Taylor for Moda, John Deere Fabric, I think half yards and a Redheads by Loralie panel with coordinating yardage.  Appropriate, huh?  There a little bags of wide ribbon and the 4 fat quarters of chevron to play with.

The best part of any retreat is the company of like minded people who share your passion for quilting.  I sat with folks I already knew but was pleased to make the acquaintance of Sue who was sitting catty corner from me.  Turns out she is friends with Linda who was was talking about in the prior post.  When Linda had visited Belles this summer, it was time to sign up for the retreat so we gave her a copy of the needed form.  She invited Sue.  I was there only because all my quilting buds had gone the year before and said "you gotta go next time".  Next thing you know we are all having a blast doing what we love with a bunch of new friends.

AND, because I had all day to sew I managed to complete the last row on my Quatrefoil challenge quilt.  Jane held it up for me and I got a nice shot of it but.........well, you know. Hooray for a finish!  I'll press the binding and get this packed up and sent to Ellen for quilting and donation.

I told you there were leftovers and I was trying to think what to do with them.  When everyone was asking what I was going to work on come Friday, I started thinking of which project box I might pull from atop of the entertainment center in my bedroom.  I thought the Granny Square--I have about 8 blocks done and I could add these same fabrics to the mix.  I had one of those "awake in the middle, can't get back to sleep" nights and at 3 got up and started pulling fabrics that had other teal strips in the mix.    Once I got there though, I changed my mind and just got all the rest of the yardage up including something for binding.  I got these 5 blocks done with plenty more to go for a bonus donation quilts----of course, they need trimming down but I'll do that once all the blocks are finished.

Edited copy and photo additions.  The pattern is a tutorial from Blue Elephant.   We used it as a guild raffle quilt and it is easy enough to do once you settle into a little rhythm.  Some of it can be stripped pieced and then singletons added on to those.   The picture shows how I approach piecing a block so I can make the best use of pairs.   I almost like these better than the other quilt.   See how far I get with the strips as the tute shows 20 sashed and is lap sized.

I'm not sewing today or even tomorrow.  Belles meet next week and I can sew at the church later in the afternoon if I chose.  My knees, shoulders and back will thank me.  Besides, I have laundry to deal with and a dishwasher to unload, a dog to walk and a store run for canned dog food to get.  I imagine I'll have to find something for supper too.   Translation:  real life has returned!

A phone call to Gail and someone DID turn in my camera when they were sweeping up last night.  My name is not on it and it was not in the case so they didn't know who to call about it but figured, rightly that someone would.  I'll be running up that way to retrieve it this week. What a relief!

Oct 20, 2015

Tuesday check-in

You know how they say if things sit in the same spot long enough they become part of the landscape?  Well, these containers are getting close!  Earlier this summer a friend of some of the Belles had come to visit our quilt group and brought these containers.  I/we did not go through them at the time, probably because we were all off for lunch and then home.  We were not there long  at the last meeting so I tossed these in the car. I wanted to see just what is in there and if it can be put to use for the donation quilts.  I peeked in the top one and THINK there might be some yardage AKA possible backing fabric.  I keep thinking that I will dig in--kinda like opening a Christmas package---but a week later, I still haven't done so.  There is nothing much that I care to watch on TV tonight so maybe this is the day after all.

I've been busy but that is almost always the case.  I've laundered everything that needs laundered in the last two days including the dog bedding and toys, inside and outside locales.  Errands were run, groceries bought and menu ideas posted.   I've tried to do some picking up and cleaning around here but I still need to dust off the fan blades in the kitchen, sweep for the umpteenth time and mop.  We have had some cooler nights so I finished putting away the rest of the summer clothing and drug out the long sleeved shirts, jeans and pj's.  Of course, now we are going into a slight warming trend for a few days and I may wish some things were still more accessible.

Oscar did NOT like me being back in the bedroom while he was stuck out in the living room all by himself.  I HAD thought about doing a winnowing down of the things I had not used this season but not with him whimpering.   Actually BOTH Skyler and Oscar are being more needy lately.  Skyler wants to sleep with me again rather than stay out on the couch or wherever he parks overnight.  Of course, with my problems sleeping that is not a good idea.  Licking, scratching, anything but sleeping ---him, not me, LOL.  Oscar keeps wanting to go walk--at least I think that is why he keeps whining.  He's out and wants in or in and wants out?  I'm okay with it to a point as I need to keep moving too but this morning he wanted to go both BEFORE and AFTER I had trudged 2.5 miles and again 2 hrs later.  Neither can stand it when I pay attention to the other one though Oscar is worse about that than Skyler.  Skyler snuggles up next to me on the couch only when Oscar is in bed or out doing his business.  I almost look forward to going to walk as it is 45 plus minutes that neither of them is whining or yowling at me---something I do just for me.  SIGH.

 I even had a day of "binge" cooking last week.   My version of Pimento cheese spread, Health Nut Bagel topping, Apricot Cheese loaf but doubled it to two loaves since I had the extra bag of dried apricots and box of chopped dates on hand.  Some I shared with the neighbors and the rest went in the freezer as I think I am taking it with me to that retreat I'm going to soon.  I had bananas to use up including some stacked up in the freezer so did up a batch up of Pearson House Hummingbird Muffins before I did the bread.  Doubling the Cheese Loaf left me short one egg but Miss Kathryn came to my rescue.  I traded her a fresh baked muffin for an egg.  I know she wouldn't let me give her the egg back as we went that route with an onion the week before, LOL.  A little nosh, she would do.  Lastly, I did a Mexican version of Cheeseburger Soup subbing some leftover from Santa Fe Salad fire roasted corn and black beans for the potatoes and using some chili powder, oregano and cumin instead of the seasoning called for and dumped in the half bottle of black and corn salsa I had on hand and a small can of chopped green chiles.  There is probably a recipe for someting like it but I was just winging it--pretty good but I am not sure how the leftovers will freeze/thaw.

I may be baking some cookies tomorrow to take to retreat but haven't decided for sure.  There are any number of options available for that enterprise but I am leaning towards Oatmeal Toffee if I do decide to bake.   I have heard there are 42 attendees so there will probably be plenty of snacks and goodies around without it.  The first day they are providing the noon meal but you are on your own or brown bag it the other two.  It should be a fun time!

I did manage to get two more blocks done on the Quatrefoil quilt top this past weekend but not without making a few silly piecing errors along the way.  I have done this wrong THREE times in the course of piecing of this stinkin' top.  The right side lined up so nicely too---but of course, wrong!  Yesterday it was obvious that I was not going to get anything more done of the top even through the 3rd row of 4 was complete.  I packed up the car for the retreat.  One less thing to worry about while I try to clean up the tracked strings and fluff.  I'll have plenty of time to finish this top and then what do I want to sew on next??

I have been following along with the Farmer's Wife 30's Sampler stuff.  There are 99 6 inch finished blocks in this one.  I have the Farmer's Wife Inspired 20's Sampler started--like 30 block of 111 in but have not touched it for what three years???  So I am more collecting patterns and most specifically the Marti Michell conversion sheets more than the tutorials on Angel Gnome's site.   Both of these endeavours are based on the books by Laurie Aaron Hinds and the letters written to the Farmer's Wife Magazine.  I love the letters in the first (the 20's) book but have not really had time to dive into the 30's one and the Depression Years.  I love 30's prints and do have quite a few in my accumulated stash so this might be where they find a home one day.  There or in a couple half done quilt tops!   It is fun to see the finished blocks that the facebook group has come up with using their own fabric choices but I'm not ready to join in just yet.  Still thinking about ideas for leftover donation challenge fabrics, I guess.

 Here are a couple links if you want to see what I am talking about.

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt Sew-a Long on Angel Gnome

They are currently 7 blocks in--click on the block images to get to the tutorials
Angel Gnome Tutorials

From Marti Michell Conversion Charts on her blog

Of course owning the book as reference is a must or the conversion charts don't mean a thing!  I think this is an ebook format  HERE.

My mom called last night and she had put aside the cleaning out and going through her quilting reference materials to sew.  Apparently something caught her eye and she was doing "how would this look?", resizing and whatever and now she is translating that to cloth.  Send a picture if you get a chance, Mom, so I can better visualize what you are up to!

I've been reading a bit.  Recent finishes were Jasmine Moon Murder and Chamomile Mourning in the Laura Childs Teashop Mysteries Series, the latest one #11 in the Bellingwood Series Look Forward Always by Diane Greenwood Muir and Death Comes to London (Kurland St. Mary #2) by Catherine Lloyd.   Some days it is all I can do to get through the local paper.  I also have a big fat book from the bookmobile that I should be reading and just cracked it at supper time  Jan Karon's Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.  I enjoyed the previous books in the series over the years and see that there is another one after this one just released in Sept. 2015 called Come Rain or Come Shine.  

And sew it goes 'round here--never enough hours in the day to do everything I should do or want to do.  It is 7 pm now and Oscar is still whining and apparently thinks we should go do "walkies" yet again as he keeps running to the car port door.  I am not giving in--it is dark out, cooling down and I do NOT want to put my shoes back on.  We three need to be getting into slowing down and relaxing mode!   Skyler gets it, while Oscar apparently does not.  Back door and out just lead to a bark attack an hour ago.

Oh the across the road neighbor cut down a large cedar that was blocking one of her garage lights.  Then she was replacing bulbs in her set of two flood lights, like a quadruple shot of bright lights shining through the blinds and the back deck lights on as well.  Oh goodie!  I did not make that light blocking cover for the blinds any too soon.  Her house is lit up like runway lights while the other house that used to do the same thing (still up for sale all these months later) has dialed it back, most nights, all night long and even into the daylight hours.  Glad I'm not paying their electric bills!

Okay done rambling.  I'm going to see what's in those containers.  Who know--there might be something that will work for Quadrefoil.

Oct 14, 2015

cooking and sewing

There has been some progress on the Quatrefoil quilt front.  Hooray for me! I have been trying to carve out a little sewing time each day if the weather will permit Oscar logging a bit of outside time.

The first block took me WAY too long.  Where the 4 patch meets the pointy pieces---at 8 points---it can be just a little bit tricky.  I know, I know she just whips right along in the video with little worry about lining up.  I couldn't be so lucky, LOL.  For one thing the seam line where you line up is at a 45 degree angle so you have to either mark where the 1/4 inch point is on both pieces and try to offset it somehow.  The first block required a bit of un-sewing till I figured about how to line it up better.  The next two blocks took about the same amount of time as the first one did!  Good thing too or I was going to be looking at 22 hours time to get the stinkin' top done!  I have a hard enough time carving out a couple of hours worth.

The picture shows the top at the half way point as it will be a 3 x 4 block set.   I finished up block 6, sashed it, joined it to row two and then joined the two completed rows today.  I also pieced Block 1, Row 3 before I called it quits for the day.

Yesterday was our Bama Belles meeting and I had taken my machine in hopes of sewing there.  I was just getting ready to join the block rows when Lois came with two tops to pin.  Jane was right behind her so we worked together to get the tops taken care of.  (Just the 3 of us---it is fall school break week and one was watching her grandkids, another couple are out of town, another has therapy, no doubt someone else is not feeling well, so they all have their reasons for not coming).   I had intended to stay and get back to work till it was time to break for lunch but the machine started acting up.  I suspected it needed to be cleaned up and needle changed etc though I had just changed the bobbin and that could have the culprit as well.  Thankfully, just doing the simple things got me back on track, unlike the Jem--never did get the tension set right.

I had spent the morning "binge" cooking again.  Scalloped Potatoes--I like the one in my Betty Crocker New Cookbook copyright 1996.  Not so new but a tried and true recipe at my house! I also made some Company Ham Loaves since I had unearthed the leftover quarter Easter Ham the other day.  My mom's recipe, I think, or one she submitted to a quilting cookbook.  No eggs or breading and then that brown sugar-vinegar-tomato soup topping but it calls for mixing the ground ham with ground beef.  Some recipes call for ground pork.  I had gotten a grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid some time back so here was another chance to use it.  Plenty of leftovers for the freezer.  I also made another half batch of Baked Oatmeal but used a can of crushed pineapple rather than the dried cranberries it calls for.  I had done that recently with some leftover pineapple and liked it--and then reheating it, put a bit of almond milk on it.  Actually I just put some more pineapple juice it it this time as I had used up every bit of milk I had on hand making the Scalloped Potatoes.  I had to use evaporated milk in the ham loaves but mistakenly tossed what was left.  Oh well!  I see a stop at the store for milk anyway after I walk tomorrow.

 Last thing I tried was Pumpkin Dump Cake  AKA Pumpkin Crack.  I had all the ingredients on hand and wanted to try it.  BUT I did not like the outcome and tossed it.  It tasted kinda bland and had an odd texture like pudding.  I didn't care for cake mix taste.  You would think that something with sweetened condensed milk and all that butter would be more delectable tasting.  If I am going to waste some calories I want it to be one something luscious, not just okay.

Then there is the name---annoying.  Crack?? Are you kidding me?  Since when did "crack" and "hack" become  GOOD words or descriptors?   Those two terms are everywhere, like sriracha or chipotle and now they are over-doing anything pumpkin too.  Now this one I might try  Pumpkin Poke Cake from Favorite Family Recipes.  Maybe baking the cake instead of dumping the cake mix on top and/or swirling it in it would work better?  Or forget the pumpkin and just make one of those German Chocolate Caramel Poke cakes and use that new caramel sweetened condensed milk??

I don't know that there is much of anything else going around here.  Family concerns do continue.  My little great-nephew Wyatt has reached the 3 month mark and is nearing the 6 lb mark.  He is still facing multiple surgeries and prolonged hospitalizations in Neonatal Unit if that happens.  Our little warrior and his young parents are still in need of prayers.  Great nieces Lily (15 months) and Lydia (6 months) are thriving but Lily will be having more surgery near years end.  I don't know if I am allowed to share pictures so won't risk upsetting their parents by doing so without express permission.

I'm going to go plop on the couch and put my feet up.  Oscar is laying in the doorway to the living room waiting for me.  Skyler gave up on the open window when I quit sewing and is napping up high.  At least they are not snapping, snarling anf meowing at each other that way.

THX for stopping by and I hope you are enoying the beautiful fall weather we had today where you live.  No way would I have been cooking if it had not hit low 50's and 70 degrees in the house overmight!!

Oct 10, 2015

and another week goes rolling by

Time flies.  Another week went rolling by and looking back, I am not entirely sure how I occupied my time but it is gone.  Well, some of it I know.  Some of it is the usual routine---walking, errands, household tasks, reading, playing on the computer.  Typical stuff.

I stayed home from quilt guild today as both Jane and Aline were going to be unavailable.  Initially my plan was to do a little cleaning around here but I awoke with a head pounding sinus headache which has only improved slightly since I got up.  I thought about going back to lay down around 9:30 but got passed that, thank heavens!  The caffeinated iced coffee and the aspirin must have kicked in.  It is in the mid to high 60's, overcast and looks like it could rain any minute.  The overnight storms and rains were projected to be out of here in the early morning hours.  I shut off the a/c---again---and opened some windows.  No sun= no 80's.  

So here is how it looks around here---

Skyler in his "usual" spot high above the fray.

Oscar logging some couch time between chasing his frog and tug of war with me.

As they have both been fed, watered and played and/or walked I suspect that naps will ensue shortly.

BUT I do not think I will be heading back to the sewing room to work on this----

Hard to believe that all that is one whole quilt top.   By Monday evening I had the pointy parts seamed for the Quatrefoil challenge quilt.  Tuesday morning I trimmed and pressed the 2nd flippy triangle area.  Tuesday afternoon I drug the sewing stuff over to the church small group and seamed all the 4 patch sections--6 strip sets.  I also seamed the binding strips and sewed the cornerstone materials onto the 12 1/2 inch inch strips section so I can pre-sash the blocks.   I figured out how to do this a long time ago, on my own--treat it like part of the block instead of piecing long rows of it and trying to attach that skinny strip to long and often bulky body of the quilt.  Anyway, I need 19 of those pieced sashings, 12 without stones and one single cornerstone to get the job done.   I had another one of those "can't get back to sleep in the middle of the night" nights and got up and cut up the strip sets.  Yesterday  I was able to have Oscar go outside for a bit while I sewed 4 patches.  Last night I did the 4 patch spiral and finger pressed those while the boys and I chilled on the couch.    From here on out it is just making a souped up 9 patch block and head to this, below.  I suspect that I probably will not sew today since Oscar is IN with it being wet out. I have Bama Belles coming up so if nothing else, I could sew away from home and a retreat coming up too.  I will get this done by deadline.  

I have been considering some ideas for what to do with the leftovers though.  It changes daily almost, LOL.  Yesterday I got a bulk mail ad for AQS that included a free pattern for a quilt called Rubix by Stacey Day.  (Google it and it will lead to a pdf of the pattern.)  When I mentioned it to my pal Norma my BC  buddy told me Ms. Day is from Vancouver and slated to do a trunk show at her guild at one of their upcoming meetings!   Ms Day has free patterns on her blog that also look promising.  Linked In and Button Up were what caught my eye most.  Sun Day Afternoon could work for the donation fabrics.  HMMM I wonder how many of these Norma will see in person during the trunk show?   We bounce ideas off each other a lot and have done so via the 'net for years!  Norma suggested one she had seen designed by Beth Helfter for Eva Paige Designs called Kickin' Stash.  I like this multicolor deal but Norma also found one in all blues that looks quite striking too.   Food for thought.

Speaking of food, I had a cooking binge day for about the first time in forever on Thursday. Other than making  Green Chile Quiche, Joanne Fluke's Lemon Fluff and my version of  pimento cheese spread the week before I have been barely cooking  for months.  I had decided to make Cheeseburger Soup though the day turned out to be anything BUT soup weather.  It still sounded good to me.  I had made this before and DJ loved it which in a way was surprising.  Normally he preferred just plain old potato soup when he asked me to make it.  I was forever itching to add grated carrots, corn, ham or whatever and make chowder of it.  He was not crazy about cheese soup either but this is not screamingly cheesy---I used a bit less than called for,  used a full pound of lean ground beef, used the whole box of chicken broth rather than the 3 cups called for and added a bit of thyme. I also made the white sauce/cheese sauce separately and then sort of tempered it into the soup itself once I knew the potatoes were done.  Tasty!  It is good with beef broth instead, BTW. 

I did a good bit of peeling that day---carrots to be grated, potatoes to be cubed and apples for Classic Apple Crisp.  It had been so long since I used the food processor I had to get out the manual to remind myself how to attach/detach the disc arm!  I cubed the potatoes on the Vidalia Chop Wizard and that worked wonderfully once I realized I had to cut the potatoes in cube sized chunks first or it would be like a long french fry----duh!  Needless to say, I ran the dishwasher TWICE that day as I cannot seem to cook without dirtying a ton of dishes.  By the time I was done I had used two large mixing bowls and dirtied almost all of the measuring cups at my disposal and totally emptied out the brown sugar container and its measuring cup.   I made a batch of Basic Corn Muffins as a finale.   AND I took both soup and apple crisp down to the neighbors since I had so much.  I didn't think the soup would freeze as things with potatoes often don't.   I put half of my apple crisp in the freezer as the recipe did give some hints in the comment section of how it could be reheated later--tent in foil till bubbly, etc.   I enjoyed what I had but not enough to want to eat it more than two meals.  

I don't know what I may decide to fix this next week.  In some ways without DJ to cook for I have lost most of my enthusiasm for cooking.  It is not that I don't like to cook but more like "why bother?" for just me.  I suppose a lot of widowed, divorced or single women go through that.  There is not enough room in the freezer to take care of all the leftovers.  I did take a little time this morning and straighten mine out  There is some chopped turkey in there I had forgotten about that may turn into Pot Pie or maybe Turkey Wild Rice Soup. Spotted the ham slices leftover from Easter too.  Ham Balls??   Or I may see something on Pinterest or email box that I just have to try.   Lately it just seems to be the desserts rather than entrees!   Can't just live on chocolate though, can you?  

I guess that's about it.  If I am not going to sew, then maybe it is going to be curl up with a good book.  I'm reading a few more in the Laura Child's Tea Shop Mystery series that I checked out from the local library currently.  Real books, not  Kindle version, LOL.  Think Oscar will let me flop on the couch and read?

Oct 2, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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