Friday, March 24, 2017

No sewing again

I didn't even step foot in the sewing room yesterday. I was cleaning, shopping, working on the library quilt show, and in the evening, Don and I went to hear the candidates for school board in the upcoming election.  I thought it would be easy to decide on which ones I want to vote for, but they all made excellent points on where they want to see the district go. It's going to be a difficult choice on April 4 when we have to choose.

I received a response from my customer about the inner border. She thinks I should put one in, and I agree.  After this weekend of visitors, I'll go downstairs and take off the brown borders and insert the 1" stop border.  Should be sandwiched and maybe even quilted up before I leave on the 30th.  

My preparations were interrupted when the doorbell rang and the florist delivered this gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses!  I had no idea who would send them and why, until I opened the card. From my Best Friend of 40 years as a belated birthday gift!  She is so sweet and thoughtful!  I can't remember the last time I got a bouquet of roses--except from the Rotary Club sale!  Thank you, Bonnie.  I love you--you are the sister I always wished for!

And an update on the backyard swamp. Don got it all drained off except for about 1/2" of water, and was feeling very pleased that it was done. This morning, we woke up to a gentle and steady rain! Swamp's filling up again--just like in DC!  Well, at least my swamp is easier to drain and clean up than that of the politicians, I think.

Today, I have to run the vacuum over the rugs and then begin cooking.  I'm going to get as much food prepared ahead of time so I won't be stuck in the kitchen all the weekend.  I want to enjoy the party with the rellies too!  My son Dan and his family are arriving this evening. This is his last day at work before he moves to Washington, and he's feeling quite happy about that.  He had a fairly good job with a law firm, but it was pretty much a dead end for him, career-wise.  Not the case with the new job.  The job is more in his line of work and there will be lots of opportunities for him to advance in the future.  Just like my daughter who moved to Maine, Dan's taking a chance but there's every reason to think this will turn out to be a good thing for all of them.

So this weekend, we'll be having a good by celebration for him, and then on Wednesday, he's coming back with a car loaded with stuff and he and I will begin our road trip, with a train trip to bring me back home a few days later.  I hope Don and I can take the train to have a visit with him in the fall, but it's a little early for planning that, I think.

So, I'm off to get the cleaning finished, and then I'll be hidden in the kitchen the rest of the day.  Probably won't have time to post until maybe Sunday afternoon when everyone has left.  Have a wonderful weekend yourself!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just more of the same

I've always been a quilter who likes to work on one project at a time and I think I get too distracted when I have too many quilts in the works. One of the down sides to this way of working is that it's day after day of the same thing. I get bored with it, and I'm sure my readers get bored as well.  Right now, I'm working on the customer quilt, Jo's T shirt quilt, and the 182 day Solstice Challenge, and right along in my brain are thoughts of the Farmer's Wife quilt that was started and put aside after 8 blocks were made last fall, and the plans to work on the Pony Club quilt for Lily.  OMG!  I feel overwhelmed!  Way too much stress for me!  I think I'm better off with one project at a time, with a leader/ender quilt to work on as I go.

So, I apologize for how boring my posts have become, but that's just the way my life is.  Yesterday I didn't post because I didn't do anything quilty or sewy related.  I read all afternoon, and loved it. I've begun a new book, something by Jane Smalley, one of my favorite authors.  It's just yummy!

The day before, however, I got the borders on Jo's quilt and set it aside until I return from Washington.  I'll make up the back and get it ready to be pinned into a sandwich and quilted up when I get home.  I also took out the customer quilt and cut the border strips out of the fabric she chose.  I got the two long sides stitched on . . Oh Oh!  I see a problem here.

I sent this pic to her but haven't heard back yet.  The problem is I remember discussing whether or not to insert a white stop border before attaching the brown "frame" but I don't remember what she decided.  It's not a big problem to take off the borders I've already stitched on and put in the white, but until I hear from her, I'm not going to go any further.  

Yesterday, another Solstice block was released, but I didn't bother to even look at it, much less make it up.  It's called Honey Bee block and it's another 12.5" block so I'll go ahead and make it up. This one calls for some applique, so I'll get a chance to practise some needle turn applique, something I've been wanting to master for some time now.

Today is a cleaning day for me with a trip to the grocery store as well. Guests are arriving tomorrow night for the weekend and I have to be prepared. I also have to do some more work on the library quilt show and that will take some time.  While I'm doing all this, Donald has decided to "drain the swamp."  

While I wish the Donald in DC would really drain the swamp out there, my Donald here in WI will be draining the "swamp" in our back yard.  :)  In the fall, we put a tarp over the swimming pool to keep leaves, sticks, and so forth out of the water that stays in the pool all winter. Snow and ice accumulate on top of the tarp and in the spring, when it's melted, Don siphons it off so it doesn't get in the pool water when he removes the tarp.  So that's his big job of the day. When he's finished with our "swamp," I'm going to sent him out East to take care of things in the capital as well.  I wish it was so easy!

Time to get out the vacuum and get a move on. Lots to accomplish today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not much today

A very brief post because there is really nothing to write about from yesterday's activities.  By the time I was finished with the computer and had done my minimal housekeeping chores. I only had an hour to work on Jo's T shirt quilt. I measured--three times!--the length of the quilt and then proceeded to cut the border strips 1 1/2 inches too short!  How does that happen to me?  I swear there's something wired wrong in my brain!

There wasn't enough time to begin plan B because I had to leave to meet my customer at the fabric store.  Today, I'll begin piecing the too-short border strips together and hope to get that done and out of the way.

At the fabric store, first of all, my customer really liked what I'd constructed so far for her wall quilt.

She auditioned several orange fabrics but didn't seem satisfied. Then we went in a new direction and looked at black, dark gray, and brown fabrics which would seem like a frame. She decided on a brown with gold flecks in it, that I also think will look very nice.  It'll really set off the quilt against the wall. She also told me to do lots of quilting in the spaces--not just stitch in the ditch--so I'm happy that I get to play and practice my skills.

Today, I tackle a mountain of laundry and work in the sewing room.  Oh, yes. I took a long look at my tulips and daffys yesterday, and they grew a little, I think,(wishful thinking maybe)  and more of them have poked up through the dirt. I'm really ready to see them grown up and ready to bloom. I'll post a pic when they do!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring! Happy Equinox!

Image result for happy spring pictures

I think I've been  a bit whiney recently about what a gloomy and dismal time of year this is, but today is a day to celebrate!  No more whining from me!  Today is the first day of Spring! And it's the Equinox! Equal hours of light and darkness, and from now on, the days will get longer and longer until the middle of June when here in WI we'll have daylight until nearly 10 pm!  Love those long summer days, don't you? By the way, the apple blossoms are not in my yard. We have to wait at least another month before the apple trees are in bloom, but then they are just like the ones in the picture.  So pretty!

Yesterday I managed to make a trip to the grocery store, finish the book I've been reading, AND spend some time in the sewing room!

I finished deconstructing Jo's T shirt quilt, and sewed it back together in a square 4 by 4 block layout instead of the original one.  I took 2 pictures to get all the blocks in for your viewing pleasure. ;)

The 4 blocks on the left side of the quilt.

The four blocks on the right  side of the quilt.

You may notice the block in the lower right corner is longer than the others which are all 12" square.  This is the extra T shirt Jo wanted me to put in the quilt.  Turns out the design is long and this is the only way I could make it fit. I hope she's okay with it like this. Jo doesn't want to see the quilt until I have it finished for her, so she'll have to take what she gets, right?

I have the fabric for the borders, backing and binding, but I kind of ran out of time and energy to work on that yesterday. Maybe today.

I also began copying the embroidery designs for the project I'm taking along on my trip to Washington with my son. I know I can't embroider in the car--the roads are far to bumpy for that--but I'm taking the Amtrack back home and I think I'll be able to stitch on the train.  

I'm making this wall hanging called "Bless My Garden" wall quilt.  I saw this made up with a variegated #12 thread from Superior Threads, and it looked very nice.  I found a thread in golds, browns and greens that I'll use for my project and I'll use the same colors in the fabrics.  I have the perfect place to display it in my home.

Martingale - Patchwork Loves Embroidery (Print version + eBook bundle)

It's from this book by Gail Pan.  She's an Australian and I love her embroidery designs.  Everything I've made that she's designed has turned out better than I expected. I only have this one book of hers but I think there are more heading my way in the near future!

Martingale - Patchwork Loves Embroidery (Print version + eBook bundle)

Today the only thing on my calendar is to meet my customer this afternoon to choose a border fabric for her wall hanging

and then tomorrow I can get that project finished or nearly finished.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dreary springtime here

Image result for maple syrup images

Yes, while the temps are struggling to reach into the 40's and 50's, the sky is overcast and all day yesterday, it looked as though a downpour would come any minute. But it never did.  This is the most difficult time the year for me, and I suspect the same for many others who live in the Northern tier of the US, when I am so anxious for spring to be here, and yet Mother Nature teases and teases every day.  My tulips and daffys survived the recent cold snap we had and don't look as though they got frostbitten, but with the clouds and the chill, they haven't made much more progress in their growth. I'd post a picture of them, but it's basically just dirt with a couple of green sprigs mixed in.

The upside of this kind of weather is that it's perfect for the maple syrup farmers. While we normally associate maple syrup with the state of Vermont, actually, Wisconsin ranks 3rd in the nation in syrup production, after Vermont and Maine.  Here, however, syrup harvesting is a bit of a sideline for most farmers, and it's perfect for "real" farmers, since the season comes at the end of winter and before the spring planting season.  Getting a good flow of maple sap requires nights with temps below freezing and days with temps above freezing which is what we're having here in WI right now.  So, while I'm longing for warmer weather, the syrup farmers are just fine with things the way they are now.  I won't complain the next time I pour real maple syrup over my breakfast pancakes, will I?

Image result for maple syrup images

Why, you ask, is she prattling on about maple syrup?  Because yesterday was a very boring day, that's why. And I want to post about something positive every day. Maple syrup came to mind, and I challenge anyone to say that maple syrup isn't something positive!

Yesterday morning, I decided to do a "little" work on organizing things for the library quilt show and before I knew it, several hours had passed by.  I got everything done that I could for now and since it was getting late in the day, I decided to skip working on Jo's T shirt quilt.  Instead, I made up a pot of (really good!) chili for Don and his friend so they could keep up their energy while watching basketball, and then spent some time reading a book that I'm anxious to get finished so I know who's committing the murders in Victorian London.

Well, that's how my quiet and boring day went.  I think I may have something more exciting to report tomorrow--squirrels scampering across the lawn, maybe!  LOL!

Let's hope your day is exactly how you want it to be, even though that may be a bit boring, okay?

Image result for funny quilting memes

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Just more of the same here

I was busy all day yesterday, mostly cleaning the house. We're having guests for the upcoming weekend and I wanted to get a head start on the cleaning so I wasn't overloaded at the last minute. So, unfortunately, cleaning took precedent over sewing.  Sigh! 😒

After I finished all my chores for the day, I spent a couple of hours sewing. This is the last Solstice Challenge block that I'm going to be making for now.  Next Wed. Pat Sloan will release a new block and I'll take a look at it to see if it's the size I want to make.

This block uses the same pale green fabric which is the constant in all the blocks, and a red and green plaid I found in my shoebox of old Christmas fabrics.  At first, I had doubts about using this fabric but I think it looks pretty good now that its all finished up.  I should begin making plans for the sashing for these quilts and get started on assembling them.  It will take some thought to making a decision about the sashing, and then the border. I'll probably make a scrappy border using bits of all the fabrics in the blocks, and if I can decide how I want to make it, I can begin making the units as leaders and enders as I stitch the blocks.  We'll see what my brain comes up with.

After this block was done, I took out Jo's T shirt quilt and began unstitching it. I had worked on it while in Alabama for the month of February and I'd laid it out 3 rows across and 5 down.  

Then Jo told me she probably would be hanging it and not using it as a couch throw. That meant it was too long and narrow for her space, so I decided to take off the top row of blocks and put those 3 along the side, but doing it that way meant I was short one block. Well, Jo had another T shirt that she wanted in the quilt and brought it to me last weekend.  Yesterday, I got the top 3 blocks unstitched, and today, I'll make up the extra block and get the top sewn together again. It still needs a border and I found a very nice fabric in Pensacola to use for that as well as for the binding so I'll try to get that on before I leave on the 30th.

 As soon as I return from my trip to WA, I'll be sandwiching the T shirt quilt and this aqua throw quilt top I finished while in Alabama and will get both quilted up. 

As well as finishing the wall quilt for my customer.  I think I'll be a little busy for awhile, don't you?

In the meantime, I have to prepare an embroidery project to take with me for the train ride home from WA.  I have just the thing in mind. Just have to find some fabric and get the designs traced out.  

That's it for today. I have to find time today to make a pot of chili. Don's friend is coming over to watch basketball  (while I sew!) and a bowl of chili with some grated WI cheddar on top will be just the thing for their supper.  

I hope your Saturday is filled with wonderful things that make your heart sing! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Solstice blocks and Irish as well

Yesterday, I worked on the press releases for the upcoming guild quilting exhibit at the local public library.  Today, I'll do some more work on organizing the show.  But I also managed to squeeze in some time in the sewing room, making blocks for the 182 Day Solstice Challenge by Pat Sloan.

These blocks are so quick and easy, anyone can do them I think.  I'm liking how they're turning out and I think the quilt will be something very nice.  I have 10 blocks done, I think, and I still haven't decided if I should make more to have a bed sized quilt or make up two throw quilts. Actually, I'm leaning toward making the 2 smaller quilts because they're so much easier to quilt up on my domestic machine. I have a closet full of bed sized quilt tops that have been waiting for several years to be quilted up so why would I want to add to that?

Anyway, here are pics of the 3 blocks I made yesterday.

The red fabric in the two blocks above was in the unfinished project that I unstitched yesterday. It has a bit of gold outlining the design and I really like how it looks against the pale green. Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough for any more blocks, darn! Unless I find some hidden away somewhere in the stash. ;- ]

I wasn't sure of the lime green block but decided to go ahead with it. I found bits of that fabric in a container of old Christmas fabrics that I'd collected when I was a quilting newby.  I actually had them in a plastic shoebox! Can you imagine how naive I was back then to think I could store all my fabrics in a couple of shoeboxes?  Hah! Anyway, I think the splash of lime green will help the quilt have some pizzazz, and there's enough of the lime green to make one or two more blocks. 

I have one more of these Solstice blocks to make today--a 12" Jacob's Ladder to substitute for the 18" one Pat made up. I want to stay with the 12" blocks and have a row by row layout, or maybe I'll do a diagonal setting, not sure yet.  

These are all made up of Christmas themed fabrics I already have in my stash. I may have to buy some sashing fabric--I don't know yet--and probably backing and binding fabrics, but otherwise, these quilts are "free!"  

Speaking of green . . .

Image result for st patrick's day images

And a joke to make your day go well:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Irish who?
Irish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!