Friday, December 9, 2016

Moving on!

Now that the guild party is over and done with, I can move on to other quilting projects I've got in the works.  Wednesday, I tackled finishing the embroidered "Snow Happens."  And what a mess it turned into!  I had no trouble with the first, navy blue, border or with the second off-white border. It's the pieced diamonds in the 3rd border that had me tearing my hair out!  I began by making the short end borders, and I'm glad I did since the errors happened very quickly after I'd done the cutting.  I decided that I'll begin again on the short ends and see if I can get it to come out the right length.

The problem is that the ends are too short for the embroidered piece, and I don't know how that happened.  Maybe I need to just sit down and read all the directions through at one time instead of step by step as I did yesterday. I realized that some directions were hidden in a lot of text when I'm used to having them up front with the cutting instructions.  It also occurred to me that I don't have to stick with the directions for making a diamond pieced border.  I can make any kind of border I choose!  And I have sufficient fabric to do just that if I please!

I wrote the above yesterday morning but never finished the post so today, I can update you on my progress with Snow Happens. I had every intention of starting over again on those pieced borders, but when I sat and looked at what I'd already done, I decided to just see if those short borders could be stretched just a bit to fit. And they did!  Ta Dah!  So I proceeded to make the long borders and when they were assembled, they fit as well!  #2 Ta Dah!  This is how I left the project when it was time to come up for dinner. all pinned and ready to be quilted.  Actually, after I took this picture, I did sit down and do all the stitching in the ditch, so I'm ready to go on the FMQ when I hit the sewing room later today.

Yesterday, I searched the internet to find a toy collection site here in town, and came up empty handed. I don't want to take the time to make more doll clothes if I can't find a place to donate them. I think I'll call the neighborhood school to see if they know of any place.

We're going to Eau Claire to meet up with some friends for lunch and I think I'll go ahead and get the 18"doll while I'm near the Target store so I don't have to make a separate trip when I locate the toy collection site.  Then, it's only a matter of a few hours making up a couple of outfits and the present will be ready to go.

And, this week it appears as though we're going to be experiencing a bit of the Polar Vortex.  The last time we had such bitter cold here in my part of WI was about 3 years ago and I was in Hawaii, which was very, very nice.  Now, the weather people are talking about how terribly cold it's going to be for the next week or so--high temps in the teens and 20's. WTH!  That's not so cold!  That sounds just about normal for winter in WI!  I think we've been spoiled with such a moderate and warm autumn that now we're whining about a bit of cold.

I remember the winter I moved to Duluth, MN in January, 1988, and had to park my car on the street with no shelter from the cold and snow.  I had my 2 girls with me--aged 2 and 7--and I would turn on the radio first thing in the morning, hoping that the temp would be at least 15 below zero. Fahrenheit.  Any colder and I wasn't sure the car would start and I'd be calling a cab to get up to daycare and work. That went on for about 10 days, and we made it through and never had to use the cab, thank goodness.  Ah, yes, The Good Old Days! Right.

So, I'm going to bundle up--layering is what we call it these days--and spend a few hours with good friends and later on will begin the quilting on the Snow Happens.  Stay warm, my friends.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sorry about not posting yesterday. When I got home from my OT appointment, it was run, run, run, all day long.  After all, I had a party to go to last night!

I managed to wrap up the casserole carrier that I'd made for the gift exchange along with the potholder. Just before I taped the gift wrap, I remembered that I wanted to include my scalloped potatoes recipe, so that had to be typed and printed off.  Then the gift was wrapped.

I also had to give a final pressing to the last 13 of the coin purses, and tuck a candy cane in each of them, and then find a basket to carry them in to the guild meeting.  


I remembered to print off the agenda for the very short meeting as well so I wouldn't be fumbling around with that.  And then it was time to sit down at the sewing machine and attach the skirt to the bodice of the yellow polkadot doll dress. Sorry, I neglected to get a photo of it, but it turned out pretty cute with a touch of lacy white ruffles on the bodice and some yellow buttons to boot.  

Then I had to search for the fat quarter bundles that I'm selling to the guild. These were leftovers from the Quilt festival and Sandy, the membership person of the guild wanted to get them to use for the Birthday Club. She rolls them up and tucks them into a cupcake liner, adds a candle and they become a gift to the guild member on her birthday.  She's only been doing these for a few months and it's become quite a hit!  I was ready to give up on finding them, thinking I may have already given them to Sandy, when I went out to the porch where I've stored all the leftover Country Store items, and there they were!  Right where I would remember to take them to the meeting!  

So, then I had to load all the store items into the car so it would be ready to go on time.  We're putting everything out for guild members to shop through in case they didn't have a chance to do so already, and to take their things home with them at the end of the meeting so we won't have to store them for two years.  

By the time I got the car loaded with all the store items, and my salad, and my regular meeting items, there was barely room in there for me!  I dreaded unloading by myself--it is winter here, after all, and very windy last night--but when I arrived at the center, 3 members were already there and we made short work of unloading and setting up.  Thank you so much!

Well, the meeting went off without a hitch--it was very short and basically an update of the quilt festival, the upcoming Judy Niedermeyer class, and the 3rd clue in the mystery quilt. ( I guess I better get started before the 4th and last clue comes out next month!) At the end of the meeting, I read a few words that had occurred to me as I made up the agenda shortly after Thanksgiving.  I like them so well, I'll share with you here.  

     Let us all give thanks for the opportunity to be part of such a warm and welcoming group of quilters:
Women who never hesitate to share their knowledge, skills and talents with others.
Women who gladly give to others who need the joy and comfort of being wrapped in a quilt. 
Women who work hard on any task, and laugh easily while doing so. 
Women who share their creativity with the world. 

I am ever reminded that such people are difficult to find and are to be cherished and I am thankful for  having them in my life.

Everyone seemed to like this little "grace" and then we dug into the amazing buffet of pot luck dishes.  As always, there seemed to be just the right amount of salads, entrees, and deserts. There must be some kind of mathematical female gene that guarantees that the dishes at a put luck are just right.  

The members seemed to like the coin  purses and I think everyone was happy with their casserole carriers.  At the end of the evening, the donation jar was overflowing with cash from all the purchases the members made. I came home with only 3 doll outfits left out of about 30 originally.  And I'm so happy about that.  I decided this morning that I'll get an 18" doll from Target, make up another dress or two, wrap the doll and all the clothes and find a little girl who needs a gift this Christmas.  

There was very little left of the store items at the end of the party. Either they'd been sold or were taken home by their makers, so storage is not going to be a problem. All together, I estimate between $750 and $1000 will be donated to the domestic abuse agency that we fundraise for.  Everyone agreed, I think, that this was a successful endeavor on our part.

Today is already starting out as a laid back kind of day, with me sleeping in a little, and having not much on my schedule.  A few errands, a little cleaning, and then into the sewing room to begin making placemats for Jo's Secret Santa.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday, Monday

Yesterday, on sunday, I got done all that I had hoped to.  All 43 coin purses are finished. Found the little candy canes I'd been looking for.  Went to have a great dinner with my daughter and niece before going to the Mannheim Steamroller concert in Mpls--and we were not disappointed with either the dinner or the concert!  One more thing crossed off my bucket list.

Today was to be a little more laid back and less stressful than the past several days--at least that was my plan!  I was informed that the cat, Clem, doesn't like the new brand of cat food that I bought him at our local pet store. That means that I will be making a trip to Eau Claire, 25 miles away, to get him his special brand.  WTH!  It also means that I can make my trip to the grocery store at the same time and check out the new Woodman's in EC.  Oh, and it also means I can make a quick stop at the LQS and get the coordinating fabrics for the placemats I'll be making for Johanna's Secret Santa.  Well then, that makes it a worthwhile way to spend my day, right?

When I get home, I'll be making this Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad for the Guild party tomorrow night.


You may be asking why am I making the salad a full 24 hours before the party.  Well, for one thing, the greens (kale and brussels sprouts) don't wilt even after the dressing is added. And secondly, we found that the flavors get better and better the longer it marinates.  The last time I ate this salad, it was about 5 days old and it was still amazingly delicious!

I also have to type up and print out my recipe to include with the casserole carrier and potholder for the gift exchange.  And get all of it wrapped! One of my favorite casseroles is  Scalloped Potatoes and the recipe I use is from the book,"Hotdish Heaven" by Anne Burckhardt. My friend gave me this book quite a few years ago and it contains some of the best casseroles (or as we say here in the Midwest, "Hotdishes."  Ha Ha) I've ever had.  The author was a food reporter  in the Twin Cites during the 50s through 70s and has written many cookbooks.  I love this book and use the recipes quite often.  And in case you're wondering, many of them DO NOT require canned cream soups!

So, today will be filled with activities other than sewing, although I'd like to finish the yellow polkadot doll dress if I can. If not, it will be done by tomorrow night.  And I'd like to begin making the placemats if there's time for that.  And lest we not forget, "Snow Happens" still needs to  be finished off.

As do the two needle cases that I've embroidered.

So, my day looks like it will be full of things to do. What about yours?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I'm gonna get them done!

Yes!  I made the last of the 43 coin purses yesterday and got all the snaps sewn on except for 6 of them. And I hope to finish them this morning.  I can't believe I'm actually going to get this done! Later today or tomorrow, I have to find some candy canes to tuck into the little purses and then they'll be ready for the party! If I can't find the little candy canes, I think a Hershey's Kiss will do as well.

I also got the top half of the yellow polkadot doll dress done and tomorrow will attach the skirt and then that will be finished as well. I emailed my friend that I would have both outfits ready at the party, and she said she would just take the twirly skirt outfit, so I'll have an extra dress. If the rest of the doll clothes don't sell at the holiday party, I'll get busy with my camera and put them up for sale on Etsy.

Next will be to make a set of placemats for my daughter's Secret Santa. She says she doesn't need them for a couple of weeks yet, so that gives me a little breathing room.  I never found a good design in my search of the internet so I created my own and drafted it out so I have the proper dimensions.  I haven't looked to see how much yardage I have of the main fabric so I don't know if I can make napkins as well. I hope so.

Today, I'm going to the Mannheim Steamroller concert in Minneapolis with my daughter and my niece. I'm really looking forward to that!  It's an early birthday gift for me, and it's something that I've wanted to see for a long time.

Image result for mannheim steamroller

Time for me to get ready for the afternoon and to begin the rest of the snaps sewing on those coin purses.  Hope you all have a restful and peaceful Sunday.

BREAKING NEWS!  I just put the last stitch in the 43rd coin purse!  Whoo Hoo!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

All coin purses, all day

Yep. All I did yesterday was make coin purse key rings.  Got 15 more of them sewn and last night stitched snaps on 8 of them before my fingers were crying!  Also prepped the remaining 13 and they're ready to be stitched up today.  I think I'm going to make my goal of 43 ready by Tuesday night.

As soon as I finish the key chains, I have to whip up the yellow polka dot doll dress I promised my friend. I'd like to have both outfits ready for her when I see her at the party Tuesday night.

Next on the list of sewing tasks is to make a set of 4 placemats and napkins too if I have enough fabric. My youngest daughter, Jo, is in a Secret Santa at work and she drew the name of the executive director.  She picked out some fabric when she was home for Thanksgiving and I  need to find some coordinating fabrics and I'll be set to go on this project.  I've been looking for place mat patterns and can't find anything I like on the internet so I guess I'll have to create my own pattern. I have the idea in mind, just have to do the math to get all the pieces to fit together.

I managed to get a pic pf Clem sitting on Don's lap.  From the day he arrived at our house, Clem has been Don's cat, whether or not Don likes it.  This cat follows him all around the house and spends a lot of his time sitting on Don's lap like this.  Clem even runs to the door when Don's been gone and he hears the garage door opening--and he sits there, waiting for Don to come through the door,  just like a dog!  Don loves it!

Our Clem is between 10 and 12 years old and the vet said he's doing well.  We wonder how long he'll be with us--since he never goes outside, probably quite a few years yet. To be real honest, I love having the cat with us, but when he's gone, we'll likely not replace him. I've cared for animals for the past 30+ years--often more than three at a time in the house!--and I'm ready to let it go. When that time comes, you'll likely find me at the local animal shelter, petting the kitties. And that's okay.

That's it for today. Got to get going on those dang coin purses. What was I thinking when I started this!  Yikes!

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Do-Nothing kind of day

Have you ever had a day when you wake up feeling kind of blah, and it lasts all day?  If not, I'm so happy for you!  If yes, you'll understand how my day went yesterday.  I woke up with a low grade headache which lasted all day, and despite getting about 9 hours of sleep, I was tired, cold and lethargic all day.  I thought I was in a depressed mood because I had no interest in doing anything and kind of felt like there was no point in doing anything.  As the day went on, I began to think I might be coming down with "something." but this morning, I'm feeling back to my normal self again. And I'm glad I feel this way.

Needless to say, I didn't get much done yesterday other than taking Clem, the cat, to the vet. He did far less whining and howling in the car than usual, and I was grateful for that!  He was pronounced in good health and was given a couple of shots and today, he must not be feeling well since he's hiding from us and hanging out by his favorite floor heater.  Just now I tried to get a pic of him, but he hightailed it (literally) down the basement steps!

Other than that errand, I finished sewing the snaps on the key chains I'd sewn the day before so I now have completely finished 15 of the 40 +/- that I want to make. I'll be spending the day in the sewing room again, making up another 15 or more of them, and stitching snaps while watching evening television.

And Don and I joined 6 friends at the Golf Club dinner and although my headache still bothered me a bit, I did enjoy that.  Good friends are to be treasured and cherished no matter how I feel.

I've had two appointments so far with occupational therapy regarding my thumb tendonitis. At the first session, I received a new brace/immobilizer that prevents my thumb from moving backwards and from twisting.  The new brace feels much better than the old one I'd worn since August, but it's a really ugly thing with straps, buckles, turnscrews, and so forth.  The OT therapist suggested that if I wanted to Bedazzle it, she wouldn't care, as long as I wore the thing!  It's made of fabric so I may do some embroidery on it or maybe applique a little quilt block on it.  At both sessions, I've received ultrasound and massage and I have yet to determine if that's helping or not. The brace is kind of interfering with my hand sewing so I'll have to allow more time than I'd thought.

That's it for this day. I'm off to the basement to see if I can get a picture of Clem and to begin working on the key chains again.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Come into my sewing room!

Yesterday, I finished the potholder to go with the casserole carrier for the Guild gift exchange next Tuesday night.  I'll simply pop it into a gift bag with some tissue and call it done!

I also began working on the little key ring/coin purses that I want to give as my gift to the guild members.  I managed to get 15 of them sewn yesterday--yes, they make up that fast!--but sewed snaps on only 10 of them last night. I'll finish the other five today before making up more of them.

These coin purses call for 3.5" cuts and I happen to have a bin of 3.5" strips so I managed to use quite a few of the already cut strips. Today, I'll use up the rest of them and then will have to cut yardage. My goal is to make about 40 of them so I can give one to each Guild member attending the holiday party on Tuesday. I don't know how long it's been happening, but there seems to be an unwritten tradition that the Guild president have a little gift for the members. I'll see if I can find little candy canes to tuck inside each purse to make it a bit more festive. Especially in the purses made of hot pepper fabric!

I really don't have anything much to say today.  After I'd straightened up the sewing room from the boys' stay there, and before I made too much of a mess again, I took pictures and I'll share them with you today. My sewing room is in the basement and it's fairly large. I can nearly lay out a queen sized quilt on the floor if I rearrange some of the furniture.  

This is what you see as you enter the room.  My sewing station in front of you with the cutting table next to it.  Ironing board along the wall to the right, and a closet area to the left.

The sleeper couch is to the right of the doorway, and it comes in handy for putting things on but then when we have extra guests, I have to unload it and actually put things away.  And then try to remember where I put them!  Sometimes, I even sit on the couch and do some hand stitching, as I may do this morning sewing on the rest of the snaps for the coin purses.

My cutting table. Usually there's less space for the actual cutting since bits and pieces of leftover fabric creeps in.  But I manage to make it work for me.

You can see in the above photos that I have a wall of framed pictures above the cutting table. I call them my "The Naked Quilters." I love the women on the motorcycle above and the ladies at the piano below. I have 9 of them all together and they are calendar art.  My daughter went to Australia in 2005 and brought back a calendar for me from Broken Hill in the Outback. It was a fundraiser for a guild out there and I absolutely loved these women.  This was during a time when I wasn't in a guild--I'd left the one I'd been with for about 4 years and hadn't yet found my present guild, so I was a lonely quilter in those days.  Sometimes, I'd just sit back and look at them and felt myself surrounded by kindred spirits.  


Continuing the tour of my sewing room, above is my sewing station. I bought a Tracy Table quite a few years ago now and I love it.  My machine sits flat with the table top. I have two Plexiglas inserts so I can use either of my two machines on this table. I could get another one for the ole Kenmore that I have, but I so rarely sew on it that I don't think it's worth the expense.  I like that I can raise and lower the sewing machine--higher if I need to sew on the free arm, like I do with the dolls' twirly skirts, and I can lower it to below the table surface so it's out of the way, as I do when the boys stayed in the room.  I have a wooden insert to use then to cover up the opening.  I don't have any affiliation with this company but I really like my sewing table and after many, many years of sewing on the dining table, I'm very grateful to have this.

Notice my sewing chair, It was originally a putrid green and I made selvedge fabric and reupholstered it! I also made a sewing machine cover out of strips and selvedge which I keep on the back of the chair when I'm sewing.

To the left of the sewing station is a closet. A very large closet! A four section closet! This is where i store my fabric stash and I don't dare take pics of that as I'm afraid the camera will totally shut down!  It truly is a mess, but I can usually find what I need. In the picture above you see the entrance to the closet or Room 1, and at the back of it is Room 4 where I store the Christmas items and the china and crystal that I don't have room to unpack and display.  To the right side is Room 2 which is filled with fabrics and all sorts of "must have" things.

To the left is Room 3 where I keep more fabrics as well as my machines when they're not in use and the growing collection of completed quilt tops that are waiting to be quilted up and taken upstairs to a bed.  I have 7 hanging and a couple more in boxes waiting as well.  

And that completes the tour of my sewing room. Where I live, it sometimes seems. You may notice there's no television or computer in this room and that's deliberate. When I need something that's on the computer, I'll bring a tablet down for that purpose. And I purposefully don't have a TV--I find it too distracting and have to stop and watch instead of sewing. I have a radio tuned, permanently, I think, to Wis Public Radio and I have that on when I'm working in there.  I find the programming on WPR is exactly what I need to stay connected with the world,  I listen to the Ideas Network, not the Classical Network, and there's a huge variety of informational programs, and on the weekends, it's lighter and more comedic.  Now that the election is finished, I'm looking forward to learning about sea urchins, and why alcoholics drink, and how Rembrandt created his paintings.  With a few political shows thrown in for good measure once in awhile.  If you are craving thought provoking radio, you can live stream WPR on your computer anywhere in the world.  Give it a try.  Again, I'm not associated with WPR in any way--I just love what they have to offer.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my sewing room. If I ever get my fabric stash sorted out, I'll post pics of that as well. but don't hold your breath!  

Today, I take our cat, Clem, to the vet for his yearly outing, and oh does he hate that!  After that, I'll work on the key rings until it's time to get ready to go out to dinner for the my husband's annual golf banquet.  It's always a fun thing to do--and very good food as well!