Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to "as normal as I ever am" again

Don and I returned from Milwaukee last night after a whirlwind week of activities and we are so glad to have a leisurely Sunday morning after all the events of the previous week.

Daughter Tessa and friend Brad were supposed to arrive from Maine on Friday afternoon--Friday the 21st that is--but due to the incredible airline they flew on, they arrived a little after midnight on the 23rd!  And Lily and I were at the airport to meet them and drive them home. That was the beginning of a week of fatigue for me.  I won't go into all the details of their 2 day delayed flight and I won't mention any names but suffice it to say that we learned that the airline will be out of business by Oct 1--thank goodness!

From Sunday until Thursday morning we were on the go, showing Brad around the area (he loved going to the local Wisconsin cheese store!), hosting a barbecue for Tessa and her Menomonie friends, and getting Lily prepared to fly home to Maine on Saturday, the 29th--yesterday.  On Wednesday, Tessa and Brad drove to Milwaukee to take part in the pre-wedding festivities, leaving Lily and me to get her things packed up and ready to go home. Wednesday night, younger daughter Jo arrived after work to get mani-pedi's done on her and Lily, and on Thursday morning, the four of us--including Don--piled into the car to drive to Milwaukee.

What wedding, you say?  Well, my oldest child and only son was getting married to a beautiful young lady on Friday the 28th! It was a wonderful and joyous celebration of love!  Don and I agree, we've never been to a wedding with such happiness so evident. Nearly everything went off without a hitch, and the few errors were not bothersome to either the bride or the groom.  Don and I love Erin like a 3rd daughter and we are confident that Dan has chosen well.  Much happiness to the two of you in the years to come!

This is Jo, me, Lily and Tessa, goofing off in the bridal dressing room at the church.  Already the fun was beginning!

Today, Don and I have a very quiet house.  Lily, Tessa and Brad arrived home in Portland Maine last night without any hiccups and this morning's phone call assured me that both Lily and Tessa are very happy to be there.

So, what do I do now?  I've spent much of the past 10.5 weeks doing things with Lily and now I can do whatever I like!  Although I miss her already, I'm looking forward to spending more time in the sewing room.  In addition to the quilts I already had started and which I would like to start, I decided to do the Row by Row quilt and have been picking up row packets for all the places I've visited this summer--kind of a memory quilt.  So far I have rows from Peoria IL, Duluth MN, Mankato MN New Ulm MN, Windham ME, and Waunakee WI.  I have to get rows from Rice Lake WI (my usual hang out shop) and Tomahawk WI.  I also want to get ones from Appomattox VA (or nearby) and Nashville TN. but I'll have to try to get those two mailed to me later on.  Whew!  That's a lot of traveling around for one summer, I guess!  But I like the idea of having a summer memory quilt.

I'm also in charge of a block exchange for the guild but that doesn't begin until October, I believe. And this quilt top that Bonnie and I made for her AAUW silent auction fundraiser has to be quilted up and handed over to Bonnie for binding before the beginning of November:

And I have a couple of smaller quilt tops to be quilted up and finished, as well as the king sized quilt for Erin and Dan.  I guess I'll be busy enough in the months to come!

Today, I'm getting a few groceries, washing the guest bedding and then it's into the sewing room for the rest of the day.  Yea!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Time is flying!

I think "Time Flies" is becoming a common theme in my blog posts, but it's so true!  These past 2 weeks have been filled with so much!

We've had our kitchen torn apart for a mini-remodel--some work on the old cabinetry, a new countertop, and new lighting and outlets. So the contents of the kitchen cupboards were piled on the table and the floor of the dining room.  Until it was time to replace the chandelier in there and then we had to move everything again so the workmen could get at the ceiling! We also had a ceiling fan and light installed in the tv room and yesterday, the guys finished up installing solar tubes in the tv room and in my bathroom.  All I can say is, "Let there be light!"  Not that I'm God or anything but it's so  nice to have even semi-decent lighting in this house.  I commented to Don this morning that we'll have lower electricity usage since we won't have the electric lights on all the time like we did before.

Just as an aside, I had saved every penny I earned last winter on that temp job I had, and it's nearly the exact amount we needed for these improvements to the house.  Others will work for food, I work for remodeling!  So I can cook food!

We're also getting ready for Tessa's eminent arrival--housecleaning all week in preparation--and Lily's departure.  Trying to get in all the activities that we said we would be doing this summer and now realize we only have a few more days with her.

In the midst of all this, I've squeezed in some sewing time, working on the blue and white/neutral log cabin quilt.  I finished all 64 blocks--they went together so quickly once all the strips were cut--and yesterday got them sewn together in rows.  With luck, I'll get the rows sewn together today and the center of the quilt will be finished.  I have fabric for the borders and will get them on tomorrow, I think.  Then, it'll be put away until after Lily's gone and I have more free time on my hands.

Oh, I nearly forgot.  Green beans are ripening like crazy and besides eating a whole lot of them, yesterday I put 8 bags of them in the freezer and I have an equal amount to do up today.

Yep, it's busy around here!  Summer is flying by and I'm loving all the things I'm getting to do.  How about you?  Are your days filled with happy activity too?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I can't believe it's August already!

My summer has been wonderfully packed with activities--mostly involving 11 year old Lily, my first grandchild, who's here in Wisconsin for the summer.  Sadly, her mother is arriving in 16 days and Lily will be returning to Maine on the 29th.  Actually, I'm not sad that Tessa is arriving, I'm sad that Lily will  be leaving us way too soon.

Quilting has taken a bit of a back seat because I've wanted to spend time with Lily instead of in the basement sewing room.  Quilting can wait until September when I have a getaway planned for myself.

I have begun to work on this embroidered  Halloween runner and I have the witch on the left completed and am working my way to the right.  This is an easy project to bring with when I take Lily to her various lessons and activities.

I've also begun working on the blue and white wedding quilt for my son and his bride-to-be. The wedding is on the 28th and I've already let them know that the quilt won't be finished by that time.  Here are a couple of the blocks that I've made up---20 down, 44 to go!  That should put a dent in my stash of blues, don't you think?

Erin said her favorite color was pink, but Dan said he didn't want a pink quilt. Erin's next favorite color is blue so I decided to make a blue and neutral Log Cabin quilt but with pink centers.  I haven't decided on a layout yet but however I put it together, I hope they like it.

I think I'm going to do quilt-as-you-go on this king sized quilt. I have quilted a king on my sewing machine before but it was difficult.  I think I'll be okay if I stitch the blocks together in smaller units--maybe 4 across and 4 down which would be 48 by 48 inches--and quilt up that section. Then I could join the sections into the final large quilt.  I'm not sure--will have to ponder this for a bit before deciding.  At any rate, I'll make all the blocks and lay them out in the pattern I decide on before I begin any of the quilting.

I'm leaning toward doing a simple buttonhole stitch in the seams of the log cabins, kind of like stitch in the ditch, and doing feathers in the borders.  Feathers is the design that I have yet to conquer and I think that with some practice I'll be ready to begin them on this quilt and by the end of the quilting, I should be a master feather stitcher!

I also have been pondering the idea of the Row by Row Experience which I only learned of a few weeks ago when I went to my local quilt shop and saw the winner's quilt on display.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of getting rows from the quilt shops I've visited in my travels this summer.  I stopped at shops out East before I knew of the RBRX and I think I'll call them after the event has finished to see if they can mail me a packet then. I know they aren't allowed to mail any while the event is going on, but maybe after it's finished.  I hope so.  I explained the idea to my husband and he likes it--to have a memory quilt of this summer's travels.

So, last weekend, when we were in Peoria, IL, I stopped at this shop,  Prairie Points Quilt Shop, and picked up a kit for their row:  

It's called Jumping Fish and it refers to the Asian carp in the Illinois River which flows through Peoria.  It's made of purple and blue batiks and looks much brighter in reality than in the picture.

This weekend I'm going on a shop hop with 3 friends to southern MN and will get a row from one of the shops we visit, and tomorrow I'll be in Duluth and will pick up a kit from a shop there. And of course, I have to return to the Busy Bobbin in Rice Lake where I saw the first RBRX quilt and get their kit.  I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I'll have a unique quilt for my home when it's finished.  

Well, my day is waiting for me to begin, and no one is going to clean the bathroom except me so off I go. I hope you have something a little more exciting planned for your day!