Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31: Happy Halloween to All Who Indulge

I have looked at all the sweet treats and envisioned each and every one of their tastes.  I remember all the fun we had as kids and then with our kids going out and trick-or-treating. Helping my kids create their costumes was always fun and inventive.  I may have purchased one or two costumes, but most were made from things we pulled together.  Then there was always the counting, sorting, trading, and hoarding of the candy.  When the kids were small they had allergies to something in the chocolate, so Kevin and I general raked in our fair share.  Seems like ages ago or maybe just moments ago.  There is something magical and innocent about that part of Halloween! 

I have never cared for horror movies or scary haunted houses, but one year I did help to create one at the kids' school.  I did it because they wanted to have the experience.  Can't remember much about the actual trips through the thing, but it was fun constructing it.  I even helped with a few of this kinds of things when I was first teaching.  My goal was to let it be just scary enough to make if fun!

We are not expecting or preparing for any "treaters" tonight.  Our door is not really set up to make one think it is a place to stop and we live out on the edge of town.  Kevin will miss the leftovers, but he probably stop for a treat on the way home, anyway.  (He just arrived - He did not buy anything, but he did volunteer to go get one.)

October 29-30: The Weekend

Saturday was very low key.  Kevin worked on some projects at school, and I sewed and sewed and sewed.  Focused on the t-shirt quilt and then figured out some backing requirements.  Finished the day with church, dinner at Chili's and a few errands.  Thought we had them all finished on Friday night, but there is always something.  Kevin and I agreed that if we could eliminate the weekend we could save lots of money!  ;0)

Sunday we woke up to snow or at least the first teaser of the season.  I was afraid it would melt before we were dressed for the outdoors, so I snapped the shot through the kitchen window.  Last year, while living near Minneapolis, MN, we had snow on the ground from October to............ I had to shovel most of the time because Kevin was traveling.  This year we are only responsible for digging out the truck, so..... (Connie, I am not wishing more snow on you.  I know there was a tremendous amount here in Vermont.  However, I do love the look and the promise of my husband to check into buying some snowshoes to use on our walks.)

We were determined to take care of some of those household chores that need two people, and then we planned to go to an arts and craft show in Essex Junction.  Kevin generally makes Sunday breakfast and this was the case this week, too.  While he did that, I tried without success to totally clean the build up of residue on the bottom of my iron.  (More on that in the Week 2 T-shirt Quilt post coming on Friday.)  After finishing up several of our joint chores we did a very quick run to the school to pick up some simple frames Kevin made for my needle punch projects and to bring home the bowl that he had left behind on Saturday.

Kevin has been turning wood for some time.  He said he finds something very satisfying in taking the wood from a plain wooden block to something so unique using only his turning tools.  I feel that his turnings are always something special because I seen the plain, unpolished wood and then the way he has coaxed it to reveal its inner beauty.  I am sharing two different views but can't truly capture all the beauty without actually letting you see and touch it.

After lunch, we headed out to the arts and craft show.  There some wonderful smells and sounds to go along with the two huge rooms of arts and crafts. We purchased 3 items:  This clever bookmark that anchors itself into the book and does not fall out, a CD of Celtic fiddling, and an ice cream cone for my sweetie.   As we walked around we saw lots of different items displaying many different talents, but there were very few quilted items and just as few wooden items.  I do not think it was a price thing because there were many expensive items for sale.  Wonder what kind of venue would work to advertise and sell Kevin's woodworking pieces?

On the drive home we took a few photos.  These were taken on a road we have walked on near our apartment, and YES that is snow on the mountains.  The snow in our yard was gone long before we headed out the door.  Love the contrasts of the green grasses and the snow capped peaks.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Week 1: T-Shirt Quilt

A few weeks ago my friend contacted me to make a full size t-shirt quilt using 20 of her daughter's college t-shirts.  I was not certain how this would work because her daughter wears a women's small t-shirt, but I drafted several versions and figured out yardage for the sashing, binding, and backing.  I left it to her to find the fabrics.  I purchased the woven interfacing to stabilize the t-shirts and also have the batting.

My friend is not a quilter, but she is pretty good at looking for help and following directions, so she went off to purchase the fabrics and ran into some quilters, at the store, that helped her find the right kind of fabrics.  The only snafu was that she was a yard short which was what was needed for the binding.  Sandi, one of my new friends in Vermont and a quilter, suggested that I could use a stripe to help tie in the colors of the t-shirts.  SURPRISE! SURPRISE!  I had the perfect stripe and it was already cut and ready to put together as binding.  Talked to my friend and she said it sounded fine to her.  Everything is here and ready to be put together.

Monday, Oct. 24:
Today is start day.  Once I had the fabric, last week, I washed it and folded it away until today.  Actually it is still folded because I need to prepare the t-shirts first.  My original plan was based on hopefully getting 14 inch squares, but I am going to be able to get 15 inch ones.  That will help to make the quilt a little bigger or maybe to have a little less border.

I started by cutting most of the t-shirts from top to bottom in the front and then clipped the shoulder seams so they would lay flat, and I would be able to iron on the fusible interface. There are two exceptions that I will write about later. This part took about 20 minutes because I decided I would not worry about triming off the neck or sleeves.

 I am using Pellon Shape-Flex All Purpose Woven  Fusible Interfacing because it can be washed in warm water or dry-cleaned. This product is only 20 inches wide so I can only get a little more than 2 squares out of each yard, and it cost about $2.85/yd. (Bought a bolt so I will have some on hand for other projects and used a 50% off coupon from Joann Fabrics.   The purpose of the interfacing is to stabilize the stretchy t-shirt fabric and maintain the shape of the block.  In the case of several of the more loved and worn t-shirts it will also make them more durable.  I placed the t-shirt emblem side down and then put on the interfacing (fusible sided down)  Next I used a damp pressing cloth with my iron set for steaming and heated each section for 10-15 seconds to make certain the whole interfacing adhered to the t-shirt.  Still had to go back over one again after cutting because I missed a corner area.

Once the t-shirt cooled I took it to the cutting table and placed it emblem side up and centered my 15 1/2 inch square ruler on it, trying hard to center the emblem and work around the sleeve setting.  Not all emblems are placed exactly in the middle so I had to fudge 1/4 inch to the left or right and then adjust the top based on how close the emblem was to the neckline.  I cut off a section surrounding the front side emblem or pocket patch just in case I decide to make a pillowcase for storing the quilt.   I have finished 6 blocks and know that 12 others will be done exactly the same way.  However, there are always exceptions to the rule.

There are are two t-shirts with front emblems rather than back ones.  The fronts are not quite as wide as the backs, and the emblem is place higher on the chest.  The way I will deal with this is to cut the piece extra long, and then use the bottom edge to put more fabric at the top.  I am actually thinking that I will piece this block in horizontal thirds to give it the best appearance.

I spent 1 1/2 hours on the quilt today.  The ironing is a warm task especially with the steam, so I am glad it is a little chiller around these parts.  Tomorrow I will spend several hours making more of the blocks.  Seems like it should go faster, but first I need to iron each shirt for any wrinkles.  Then the interface is pressed down  for 10-15 seconds in each section and the iron is really not all that big, so it takes a while to get the backing on.  I am thinking it took about 10 minutes from start to finish on each shirt.  Not a complaint by any means just explaining why it takes so long to do this part of the process.

Tuesday, October 25:
I spent 1 1/2 hours preparing the t-shirt blocks.  Did 8 of them, so I am almost done with this part.  Tomorrow I will finish the last few, including the two that will require special attention because of the emblem placement.  Hope to get all the sashing cut and start attaching it, as well.

Wednesday, October 26:
I worked 4 1/2 hours on the quilt today.  I started out by making the binding for the quilt.  It will be a stripe that will help to tie all the colors of the t-shirts together.  I have tried  number of ways to organize the binding and have decided that the ball works best for me.   Since I do not have a cat to chase after it, I just let it roll around as I attach it.

After the binding was finished, I prepared 4 more straight-forward t-shirt blocks.  Then it was time to tackle the two that needed special treatment.  These were t-shirts that had the emblem in the front of the shirt.  The emblem is seems to be placed MUCH higher and the distance between the armholes is smaller.  On each I first put interfacing on the area with the emblem.  I cut it out as a rectangle the width of the original block and then cut the length so that I had an equal amount of fabric on either side of the emblem.  Then I prepared two more sections of the same width and as long as I could make it.  I sewed  seams and pressed them open.  Then I turned the block over and trimmed it to the 15 1/2 inch squares. 
Then next step was to start cutting and adding the sashing strips.  I plan to put sashing on the right side, and top of each block.  The photo shows just the right sides sashed.  My fall colored quilt is underneath.  On the left side of the quilt I will also add the sashing to the right side of the block, so the sashing will need to be a little longer on the top edge.  I am telling you this so that understand that there is more to the cutting than making all the same size strips.  After the sashing is added the quilt will measure 70x89.  The orange/red border will be 7 inches wide and will bring the quilt to its final dimensions of 84x103. 
Thursday, October 27:
Felt that I had to deal with other things today so I did not work on the quilt.  Tomorrow I will finish up all the sashing.

Friday, October 28:
I did work on the quilt for about 1 hour today.  Nothing really to show though.  I simply cut the sashing for the top edge of each block and attached the last side edges to the left side of the quilt.  Even so I am ahead of my own schedule, so Ronda don't worry about getting it in time for the holiday gifting.

I should be able to work on the top most of the day tomorrow, so I expect that it will finished by mid-afternoon. 

October 28: Original Project

Finished my first original needle punch design.  I have a few large loops that I did not catch and could not seem to get back to to fix, but I learned a lot.  Kevin and I cooperated on this.  I asked for some quickie, simple frames. (He was clear that these were not classified as "fine woodworking" but rather practical, simple frames.)  He made me 4 with 1/8 in plywood backs.  I went to school with him last night where we cut cardboard inserts to mount the design.  I put together the insert, placed it in the frame, and then put in the plywood back.    Just a little something for my November walls. 

That is one more thing I can check off my weekly list of goals.  Not going to complete all that I set out to do because I did other things that were not in the plan, but I have a list started for next week, right?  For the remainder of the day, I have some walking and weights planned, a bit of housework comes next, and then plan to finish most of t-shirt quilt top.  I will post about it later today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27: Change of Plans

I have started getting into a routine of doing hand sewing on Thursday because Sandi comes over and we do the hand work while we talk, but things did not work in her schedule.  Therefore, I finally tackled putting the new leaders and zippers on my HQ.  I had thought I would wimp out and wait for Kevin, but it went okay once I figured out what I was doing.  Of course, I need to purchase a little bit of sticky backed Velcro because the the leaders are a little longer than my last ones, but I can use it now and will pick some up this weekend.

After I finished this task, I went out to get the mail, ate lunch and sat down to check email and post.  I glanced down and realized I was still decorated from the leader job.  For me, a few strands of thread or a threaded needle might end up on my clothes on a regular basis, but can't say that the long pins ever seem to leave the studio.  Had to share. 
Yes, I am wearing a fleece vest.  Since mid-October when the temps started dropping, I have tended to get chilling when I am sewing so I put one of several fleece vest as I walk into the studio and then forget to take it off the rest of the day.  It is 66 degrees in the apartment and 41 degrees outside, so it seems like reasonable attire.  Last year I whined about cold hands and feet, so I have new heavier socks and some cozy slippers that I put on every morning.  I also take short breaks when sewing to swing my arms around and flex my fingers.  I am being pro-active, and hoping to keep the thermostat turned down to avoid any huge oil bills.

Don't believe that I am going to work on the t-shirt quilt today. I am ahead of schedule for it, anyway.  I have some paperwork and planning to do and decided that this is a great day for it.  Also, need to do some measuring for more quilt backs since next week I plan to spend a lot of time at the HQ.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26: Cutting, Sewing, and Laundry

Started out by finishing a book on the Nook, but then jumped into doing two loads of laundry and working on the t-shirt quilt. I was a little out of kilter most of the day, though.  Not sick or grouchy --- just not my regular cheerful self.  Nothing put me in a mood, just seemed that I was trying to think of what is was that I was wanting or needing.  Turns out, I might just have had a little cabin fever because I had not really made a effort to get out of the house the last two days.  (Walking to the mailbox does not count!)

Kevin and I decided to do a couple of quick errands and eat out.   I don't think that is what he planned to do after having class all day, but I had not even considered starting supper, so he took it as a clue!  We had a pleasant time, and I have been able to get back into the swing of things.  When I checked all that I had accomplished today, I really was surprised but now wonder if I could have done much more if my attitude had been a little more on track.

Life is good!  My husband is thoughtful, as usual! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25: A Little Bit of Several Things

Made these little wall hangings from leftover embroidered blocks.  Finished hemming them today.  Question: Why is it that in real life they appear to look straight, with equal sized binding edges and well shaped but on camera they have issues?  Is it the same as for humans? 

Also worked more on my new needle punch design, but will save it to show when I have it all nicely framed.  Kevin went back to school tonight to do a few things and said he will stain the frames tonight.  That means I should have the finished frame before the weekend so I will make my October 31st deadline.

Besides these little projects, I worked more on the t-shirt quilt, did some exercises, chatted with both my daughter-in-law and my daughter, and am going to read tonight.  Could of walked but was certain it would rain so I popped dinner in the oven about 10 minutes before Kevin arrived.  (Rain has not come yet, but the clouds look very dark - is dark outside!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24: What I Have Accomplished

 This is the child's lap quilt top that I made for my FIL.  I do not think the colors are very accurate because they made me think of Iowa State colors.  I made several color variations and then emailed my daughter to get her opinion.  We were both of the same mind.  Did not dawn on me until later that I had inadvertently selected her school colors.  She said it was not her deciding factor.

Once I finished the animal quilt I spent a couple of hours cleaning up my cutting table and making a few small wall hangings from embroidered blocks that did not make it into other quilts.  Then I got out the t-shirt quilt fabrics and took this teaser photo.  The stripe will be the binding and will tie all the t-shirt colors together.  I then spent a chunk of my afternoon working on the quilt.  More about this quilt's progress will be shared the next few Fridays.

We did get our walk in.  Just as we finished it started to sprinkle.  I was hoping to do the weights with Kevin, but he has a very sore shoulder and upper arm due to doing so much planing on his table top. Guess i will have to do the weights by myself while I am waiting for Zoe's call.  Kevin did say that he will bowl with me after we g-chat with the birthday girl, Zoe.  (She collected 99 lbs of food from her birthday party and delivered it to their local food bank today.)

October 24: Plan of the Day or Maybe for the Week

First, Happy 5th birthday to my granddaughter Zoe!  We will be g-chatting tonight for a little singing, present opening, and ice cream.

ITEMS ON MY LIST: (fairly long, but do-able if I commit myself)
  • I wrote my weekend posts last night because today is going to be all about sewing.  I have already cut out another lap size embroidered quilt for Dad's collection.  I did a few test runs with the colors and will quickly sew it up this morning.
  • Start the t-shirt quilt.  I am going to do a lengthy post about it on Friday.  I am going to try and explain what I am doing, how long it is taking for each part, and sharing any tips or concerns as I go.  This will not be complete directions for the quilt, but rather about the process and the final product. Goal is to begin doing the hand stitching on the binding by Nov. 15 or sooner.
  • Lift weights M, W, F, and Sunday. 
  • Use Bosu ball T, T, S.
  • Use the Wii for some balance activities or to bowl with Kevin at least 3 evenings this week. 
  • Walk every day either our two mile outside route or with Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim DVD.
  • Re-configure my HQ leaders and zippers.
  • Use a pantograph on at least two small quilts.  I have done a few, but each time I feel like I am re-learning the whole process.  This time I am going to do a number of small quilts during the next few weeks so that I can feel that I have finally mastered this.  (Love to freehand but sometimes like the look of the pantos.)
  • Use the ruler to do diagonal lines on on a small quilt using the HQ.  Since I am going to use the block corners for my guidelines, lets hope the lines are fairly straight when I am done.  I have not tried this before on the HQ.
  • Finish my own design using needle punch so I can actually frame my pumpkin before Halloween.  Kevin has the frame made but not stained so I have a couple of evenings to get punchy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23: Our Weekend

Saturday, we planned to check for any remaining color and also to go to a arts and crafts show in one of the small towns close to our home, but also planned for Kevin to go do his school work on Sunday.  We started out with a few errands, including lunch and groceries.  When we drove through Westford on the way home, we discovered that its show was on Sunday , but we decided not to take it in.    The biggest draw was that they had apple pie by the slice, so I bought Kevin some Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garica to ease the disappointment. 

The last foliage shots for the season are some of our favorites although the colors have definitely faded.  We are going to have one of them blown up to put in the frame that Kevin had to build as one of this class projects.

Our afternoon was spend working on our individual projects followed by church at 4:30.  In the evening I was determined to win a game of cribbage.  When it came down to the last bit, we both needed just one to go out, so Kevin should have won, but I scored the first point.  Ta-Da!  Does not happen as often as it should if I really am the queen.

Sunday started off with Kevin making our traditional scrambled eggs breakfast, but we had gone to church on Saturday, so we started the day off a little later than usual.  Once Kevin left for school, I hit the studio and sewed all day with the exceptions of laundry and making a newly invented meatloaf recipe. 

I had a mission to use up a bag of scraps.  I was using up scraps so I was not certain what I would get, but these fabrics deserved to be used up as a group.  Sadly, I have made 3 comfort quilts for special women in my life who have had or have ovarian cancer.  The Blank Fabric company offered up turquoise fabrics in support of research for this cancer and most of the fabric used came from purchases from them.  Considering that I had a few string blocks and 36 blocks that were already cut 6 1/2 x 6 1/2, I needed to think of what I could do to make this work.  The outer border used up the very last of this fabric.  The quilt measures 50x72.  Nice surprise to see how it all worked out.

Kevin worked hard at school.  He brought home a couple of photos from a quilting side table he is making for me.  The Ohio Star for the top is made up of curly maple and exotic hardwood veneers.  The table will have two drawers to hold all my quilty things near my chair.  He also worked on making me some small frames for my new found pastime of needle punch.

We ended the afternoon with a two mile walk.  This is big considering the amount of rain and canceled walks that we have had the past couple of weeks.  Hope to get more outdoor walks in this week, but I may have to resort to my walking tapes so I can get a little more time on the feet.

As I said, dinner was a recently (today) invented meatloaf.  I am following a program so I needed to use ingredients that fit, but Kevin and I both agreed it was tasty enough to share.

Simmer the following on low heat for 45 min.
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 to 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
3 TBSP water

2 oz. finely crushed low salt pretzels
16 oz ground sirloin

Form into 4 mini loaves or one large one.  Place in a meatloaf pan so that fat can drain off.  Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes.  1/4 of the recipe equals one serving.

And finally, another self-portrait.  Obviously, Kevin is starting his beard.  Has not been able to have one for 30 years, so we'll see where it leads.  Please note, that we are both going a little white.  lol

October 22: Way to Go, Zoe!!!

Our granddaughter, Zoe had a costume party for her 5th birthday.  Instead of presents for her, Zoe asked her friends to bring food for the food pantry.  Impressive!  Doesn't she look tickled over all that was shared?

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21: Busy Playing with Fabric

Nothing to show and no really deep thoughts either.  Played with fabric most of the day.  Plan to do some more of that kind of stuff this weekend, but will also get out and try to find something worthy of a photo.

Enjoy your weekend!  Do at least one thing you love just for yourself and then share a smile or 10 with those you meet along the way.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20: Lunch and More Sunshine

Sandi and I went to the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax, VT for lunch.  We did not know what to expect and since she is a vegetarian, I hoped they would have something for her.  Well, all the soups are vegetarian based and they also had egg salad, humus, and grilled cheese sandwiches, so she was set.  I had a turkey sandwich which was excellent except  for the fact that the mustard was a bit to strong for me.  We had a pleasant visit and she shared some of the history of the area.  Then we came back here and talked about quilting and guilds.  What a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  (I am not joining any guilds while I am in Vermont.)

Now I am going to head for the studio and work on another quilt top.  When Kevin gets home we will walk - the rains have had a very negative impact on that part of our day. 

Hope all of you can find a way to enjoy your fall weather!

October 20: A Little Blue Sky and the Promise of Fun

This morning I woke up without any discomfort in my fingers, 40% blue skies, and a plan for lunch with Sandi, another new friend who is a quilter.  Who could ask for more?  It was enough to get me busy and focused so I would feel like I had more than earned an outing.

I made 2 bindings, a backing, and cleaned up some small piles of scraps from my latest quilting activities.  I also set out another top to finish and another binding.  Kevin asked me when I was going to quilt just for me, and I responded that if I am quilting, it is for me just because I can play with the fabric.  Of course, I do have some quilts waiting to get out of my head, but part of the fun is just thinking about them.

Kevin brought home another class project last night.  It is going to be used to hold a collage of Vermont photos to remind us of all the fun we are having here.  The frame is made of cherry and walnut.  The big part of the assignment was mitered corners.  It is beautiful in person.

Last night I got to see the center block for my quilting side table.  The veneers he chose to make the Ohio Star block are beautiful as they are, but once there is a finish on them they will be magnificent.  Kevin has learned so much and is having so much fun doing it, that even if he never opened a business he would have so much to show for his efforts.

Last night while Kevin attended wood turning club, I spent time with Connie.  We worked on our first needle punch projects, but mostly we laughed and laughed.  On the way home, Kevin commented that it looked and sounded like we were having a good time.  I would say we had a great time.  Think I appreciate friendships more because I do spend a lot of time on my own.  Love working on my on thing and having time to do just what I want, but laughter and conversation with friends makes for a great time, as well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19: A Glimpse

Just finished piecing another quilt for Dad. I am going to put this one on the HQ and simply do a little echo quilting around the embroidered pars and meander the rest or do something simple.  All the embroidered squares remind me of the rather idealistic memories of Christmas past.  Love that they are sort of snow globe shaped.

**Only the end of my right ring finger hurts any more.  Guess the exercises and not resting on my elbow are doing the trick.

October 19: Hooray for You, Sue

 My sister Sue claims that she is not one to make quilts and such, but she is "Grandma Extraordinaire" so from time to time she shares her projects.  Callum is going to be thrilled with this minkee blanket and these two pillows!  Love the big dots!!!

Just so you know, she has make several quilts that I have then quilted for her.  She is a perfectionist and that makes quilting her work so easy. 

So proud of you!!  Had to share with the world!

October 19: The Nose Knows

If you have always had a garbage disposal or have no sense of smell, this post probably does not mean much to you.  However, I smell everything and have no disposal in this apartment.  My husband has a weak sense of smell, but he has to put up with my sniffing and whining about smells.  When we first arrived in Vermont I found it very irritating and was very vocal about the smells created by putting the stinky little leftover bits into the regular garbage trash.  We are very good at recycling most things so it takes a week to get about 1/2 a bag of kitchen trash.  I even discussed it at dinner with friends when I spotted the fact that they did not have a disposal either. (Wonder if they thought I was rude?) They offered a solution but I did not take them up on bringing my slop bucket to their compost bin --- I would have had to retain the stuff for a while to accumulate enough to justify the task of having Kevin take it to school and empty it in their compost (Connie and Bob live right there).

This 1.5 gallon trash can has a bread sack size
liner.  I just dump the strainer and any other
cuttings into the can and twice a week I whine
 until it magically disappears. 
YES, I am the Queen!
This little strainer catches all the GUCK!
While we were in Woodstock, VT for the wood show a few weeks ago, we hit on a possible solution that could be working for us.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for the composting stuff, but I will wait until we have a garden.  The photos tell the story.  So far I will admit that it has been a real blessing for my nose and Kevin's ears.

October 19: Needle Punch or Punch Needle

This is my first piece of needle punch, and I m having a great deal of fun with it.  When Connie and I went to the quilt show in Shelburne a few weeks ago we each purchased a few supplies to try it.  I was envisioning some primitive Christmas ornaments.  There were a number of quilts in the show that had needle punch blocks, but I am not certain whether I would do it.  Need to experiment to find out if it will really hold up to any machine washing because that is a requirement for me if I am making quilts to be loved, cuddled, and possibly used up because of it.  (Lots of washing required for kid's snuggly quilts, right?)

You can use patterns, clip art, or simple coloring book outlines, but I love to doodle so mine will be original, but simple designs. The work is done from the back so nobody will see how many lines I decide to skip or add as the design progresses. I enjoyed what I did so much that this afternoon I hope to pick up a few more supplies and get even a little more creative.  Then while Kevin is at the wood turning club meeting tonight, Connie and I are going to get together and be creative.

I have fought the good fight of not adding other crafty hobbies, but this is such a nice way to relax and just do something with my hands.  Also, I may use it to embellish a few quilts if it stands up to the wash test.  When I am not hand piecing or binding at night this will be something to fall back on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18: Bunny Trails and Two Boxes in the Mail

I was going to work on a small Christmas quilt today but I have been following bunny trails all over the place.  (Distractions for those who never have their minds wander.) 

After my daily devotions time, I decided to do some cleaning(did some but need to do more) and then I saw I just had a bit more to do on a binding, and then I felt possessed about answering a few emails.  That was followed by doing a load of laundry(sheets), considered what to have for supper by standing in the kitchen staring into the freezer(remembered we were having "planned overs"), and then the doorbell rang.

The wonderful mail person brought me two boxes.  I did not open them immediately because I had to put the sheets in the dryer (still are not in the dryer) and then my phone rang.  Had to find the phone which was a wrong number call.  Decided to have lunch and then go back down to put the sheets in the dryer (still not in dryer) but was distracted by the boxes even though I knew their basic contents.  Opened them and then contemplated my next step while doing dishes.  Went to do the sheets (still not in the dryer) and the phone rang again.

This time it was important.  My grandson, Dean, wanted to Skype with me.  Love doing that with all of my grandkids!!!!  We had some linking problems so I answered a few emails while they worked on their end.  Once we were able to chat, we discussed a lot of presidents (He is 3 but he knows all of the presidents and some unique facts about all of them.) Right now he is figuring out which ones have the same birthdays as people he knows.  Two presidents have the same birthday as he does.  We also sang some name songs, talked about some of his drawings, briefly chatted with his little brother, Bryson, and then with his baby sister, Anna.  We checked out a number of great looking recipes in his mom's Taste of Home magazine.  Talked about carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.  We spent another 10 minutes discussing a book about monkeys that his mom had used for a textbook in one of her classes.  He has taken in a lot of information about monkeys, and his knowledge and ability to share it fascinates me. 

When we finished, I was going to put the sheets in the dryer, but decided to put some eggs on to boil for tomorrow's breakfast before going down.(sheets are still not in the dryer).  Saw the camera and decided I wanted to take a few photos for the blog first and then my daughter chimed in to chat.  Finished chatting about her upcoming move and started this post.   I AM GOING DOWNSTAIRS AND PUT THE SHEETS IN THE DRYER RIGHT NOW!

Okay, the dryer is tumbling and I have refocused.


Thought I would share a couple of photos of Aleah's napkins and placemats before boxing them to mail.  The small picture is a pile of all the placemats and napkins. The larger one shows two of the rooster napkins.  Back in August I made a valance for her kitchen using the rooster fabric.

Now for the boxes.  I am making a t-shirt quilt for a friend's daughter.  I drafted several versions of a t-shirt quilt on my EQ and then told her costs and yardage amounts.  She had to pick out the fabrics and send me the t-shirts.  I ordered the fusible woven interface online from Joann Fabrics and purchased the batting in the store.  The boxes both arrived today.  Is that a sign or as my daughter and I decided just a freaky coincidence?  I am going to track my time and experience doing it this way and after I have sent the quilt off finished, I will make more comments.  I am thinking that once I get moved to South Dakota, I will add t-shirt quilts to what I will offer to customers. (Will be opening a quilting service business once we settle permanently in South Dakota.) Therefore, I am going to find out how long one actually takes.  I have made a number of t-shirt and photo quilts, but I have never tracked time. 

About opening a business involving quilting or making quilts, etc:  I am not going to be offering competition show quilting services but rather quilting for the quilts that will be used and washed often.  The plan is to do overall quilting both freehand and panto and then attach binding if requested.  Others love doing all the fancy stuff, but I know there is a niche for me.  Quilts that are loved, cuddled, and used to comfort someone who is sad or sick don't need all kinds of heavy, fancy quilting.  The quilts I am talking about need to be soft, warm, and be made with love by someone who cares about us.  The goal for my quilting will be intended to help pull it all together and add the needed texture.

***Fingers are feeling even better this afternoon.  Even though I have been somewhat distracted, I have been doing the stretching exercises every 30-45 minutes.  Just don't like down time enough to just sit and let it rest.

October 18: Fingers Report

Already my hand is feeling better, but it is not because I did no binding.  I did a couple hours of it.  What I did was search the Internet for some home remedies.  Found a number of ideas, but went with the stretching exercises for a pinched nerve.  Not perfect but so much better-I can even make a fist!  Probably have to give some credit to also changing up my routine and doing lots of different things, but I just wanted you to know that I feel like I am mending.

Sewing goals for today include piecing a small Christmas quilt and organizing a cutting plan for the next few evenings.  My husband offered to cut and I can't let the opportunity pass us by.  He is good at it and I have lots of ideas that want to be tried.  There is much to be said about having a quilt kit ready to go.  Maybe we will get a few put together.  I am thinking stars blocks using scrap fabrics. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17: Embroidery Issues and Questions

Sometimes I don't want to share mistakes, but in this case, I can't figure out what I need to do so I fudged it.  When I digitized this logo, I spent a long time getting everything in place and looking right.  I stitched it out several times to check for problems.  I did it on t-shirt fabric because I intended to put it on shirts once I got it right. No issues presented themselves, so I stitched up two shirts today.  They both had the same problem.  On the left side of the barn and lean-to there are open spaces where the gray shows through.  My first photo shows it.  On the second photo I hand stitched red to fill in the spaces.   Not a perfect solution but a workable enough one to make Kevin's shirts wearable.  What can I do to correct the problem.  I have checked and rechecked the digitized image and it does not show any spaces.

***Don't think the finger thing is carpal tunnel but rather more likely a pinched nerve or maybe symptoms of something called cubital tunnel which I have also had issues with for 20+ years. It is my right hand ring and pinky fingers.   Found some exercises online that have already helped some.  I will monitor it for a few days and back off on binding as well.  I am not a doctor and do not self-diagnosis but figured I could try something first.  If it does not improve with the exercises I will just have to walk over and see my new doctor, right?

October 15-16: Very Quiet Weekend

Kevin had some catch up work to do at school, and I wanted to finish up a project this weekend, so when we woke to rain on Saturday, we decided that we would not go anywhere except the grocery store this weekend and just take care ot what needed to be done.  It was a very productive weekend for both of us, but it was also pretty darn rainy off and on from Friday through Sunday.

Kevin and I went to walk of Saturday, but the skies opened up and we did not get the walk in.  I was already feeling chilled and did not think getting wet (no umbrella or raincoat) would be a good choice.  Then we sat down to dinner and this rainbow appeared.  Kevin snapped it through the screen.  I looked upon it as a promise of many more wonderful days to come.

However, I think I am having a minor frustration at this moment.  I hate to say this, but I think I am showing signs of of carpal tunnel syndrome or a pinched nerve.  I am going to give my right hand some time to rest, but that also means I am going to cut back on chatty posts.  If things don't settle down in a couple of days, I will make my first visit to my new doctor.  Until then I will skip binding and just do machine embroidery and piecing.  (After doing all that binding the last few weeks, I would have to say that I have been doing a lot of repetitive motion work, right?)

Why am I thinking carpal tunnel?  Well, about 20 years ago I had it so bad that I had to have surgery and if memory serves me correctly, this is how it felt but more painful still.  I am just going to try a little resting of my hand along with Alieve to see if I can get it to back off.  It is not dibilitating but it is very annoying.  Can't even make a decent fist!  Fortunately, I am very left handed.

That being said, I have one more completed project to share.  Aleah's placemats and napkins are finished and will be mailed later this week along with Dean's birthday quilt.   Despite the way the photos look, the placemats are squared up.   There are 8 reversible placemats, 6 yellow rooster napkins and 11 red rooster napkins.  (The 12th one was my first rolled edge on the serger and it did not go well!)  Love the edge I did on all the other napkins.  Proud of myself for learning how to do this and will use the technique again very soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14: Thoughts

Yesterday was the Navy's birthday.  We celebrate birthdays with ice cream, especially with the birthday child in not available, so we stopped off for a pint of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia.  Next birthday is our son-in-law's so Kevin will get his ice cream fix twice this week.  Then next is Zoe's 5th birthday.  Thank you for all that need us to celebrate.  Thought he might just lick the inside of the bowl last night, but he practiced restraint.

Today I had planned to get on the HQ and quickly meander the fabric for Aleah's placemats and then serge all the napkins, but I spent a good chunk of the morning reading, or was that procrastinating??? I like piecing, sewing and binding, but sometimes getting down to the cutting seems to take me more time than I expect.  The rooster fabric needed to be cut with the scissors because of the way it is laid out on the fabric, and then there are all the strips for binding for the mats.  These are not complicated tasks, but I just did not know how much cutting was involved to get ready for serging the napkins.  I am make 16 or 18 of them since they will be used by all the little grandchildren and probably need to be washed frequently.  I am only making 8-10 placemats, but they will be the first items on the HQ since we set it up here, so I need to do some tinkering and testing before I begin.  They will look wonderful and be useful when they are done. 

Tomorrow we are going to a quilt and fabric sale.  The purpose is to raise funds for the people who suffered losses because of Hurricane Irene.  I do not need any quilts, but I do want to show my support.  Maybe i will find some great fabric to use on a couple of comfort quilts.  The time spent with Kevin is also an added bonus.

Sitting here rambling is not helping me reach my sewing goals for today, but I am trying to keep to at least one post each day Monday through Friday.  (Are some of you laughing and saying p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-o-r????

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13: Kevin's Learning Box

Here are 3 professional photos of Kevin's first project.  Thought you might like to see.  The sides are spalded cherry.  The lid has a mahony veneer panel with a walnut veneer inside.