Friday, September 30, 2016

I have a clean house!

My attitude exactly!

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Yes, I finally have a clean house. Well, almost. There are two rooms that need some attention but the main areas of the house are finally cleaned up after a summer of spending time with Lily instead of the dust cloth, and an autumn of quilting instead of vacuuming. But now I can relax and enjoy being in a clean and neat home.  Between you and me, I absolutely HATE doing housework!  And I absolutely LOVE having a clean house.  So it's quite a dilemma at times.  The solution would be to hire a housekeeper but then I'd have to clean the house before she/he arrived!  So I don't think that would really solve the problem. 

Actually, I have made a housework schedule for myself which involves cleaning one or two rooms for an hour or so every morning and if I stuck to the schedule, I'd never get overwhelmed as I have been recently. The problem is self-discipline. I actually have a lot of self-discipline as evident by spending hours making half square triangles or flying geese units.  ;0)  But where is that self-discipline when it comes to picking up the broom and sweeping?  Ah, human beings are so interesting!

Yesterday, after finishing the mopping, I spent some time in the sewing room and managed to make half of a dress.  Just the bodice and I was able to begin with the skirt before it was time to get ready for the meeting of the Festival committee.  BTW, the meeting went very well--all the plans have been made and executed. Now we just have to get people to sign up for the various events that we're offering. My husband, who used to coordinated running races, says they'll be coming in closer to the actual date.

Last night after the meeting, I sewed together 3 of the doll sweaters that I'd finished knitting, shown here. Today, I'll sew on their buttons and work on making their coordinating dresses.  

This is what I woke up to this morning. Fog. Beautiful, hazy fog.

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  I immediately thought of Carl Sandburg's poem:  

The fog comes 
on little cat feet. 

It sits looking 
over harbor and city 
on silent haunches 
and then moves on.

By now, the fog has moved on and we're going to have a beautiful sunny day. Maybe I'll take some time to begin planting my spring bulbs. In between sewing doll dresses.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Autumn in Wisconsin

I don't have pix of what I did yesterday. I actually accomplished a lot but I don't think you want to see my clean bathroom or the buttons sewn on a sweater or the box of things I'm accumulating to donate to Goodwill. I had planned on making some doll clothes but instead I spent my afternoon finishing doll clothes that needed the final touches and not starting anything new. I did these things yesterday by staying indoors as it was cold and cloudy all day and finally, rainy late in the afternoon. I did make a pot of chili and it was the perfect supper on such a day.

When I look out my window today, I see more gray skies and rain threatening weather--and it continues to be cold!  I thought I'd grab some photos off the internet to show you what Autumn in Wisconsin is supposed to be like. :)  

I grew up in neighboring Minnesota near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul. However, I chose to head up North to Bemidji for college and my first job was in Duluth. All I can say is my heart is in the Northland and I never wanted to return to the metro area. (My husband, however, has a different viewpoint of the North and its long cold winters!) I love the clear and pristine lakes of northern MN and WI--the two states are quite similar in geography I think--so the first picture is of one of these lakes showing it's fall foliage a bit. I would love to be sitting under these trees on a warm Indian Summer day, with a good book, or a bit of embroidery to pass the time.

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Since I lived about 12 years in Duluth/Superior, I fell in love with Lake Superior.  This looks like part of the North Shore, with the waves crashing against the rock cliffs.  This amazing body of water is never the same from one day to the next.  It's as large as the sea and I'm always amazed that Mother Nature has created such an awesome body of water.

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This is an image of Lake Superior's South Shore, or as we refer to it here in Wisconsin, the "North Coast."  I love going to the towns of Bayfield, Ashland, Washburn and Cornucopia as I did in the days when I was self employed and made many road trips to these charming little towns on the South Shore. 

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I had to include this picture of the caves of Sand Island in Lake Superior. I took my first kayaking trip to these caves along with my son when he was 15 or 16 years old.  It was just amazing to be able to bring our kayaks right into the caves!  In the winter, if the lake ice is strong enough,, people can hike the two miles from shore and go into the caves.  As for me, I'd rather paddle out there on a warm summer day!

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Wisconsin is still known as the Dairy State and wherever you travel, you'll find these kinds of farms and barns.  More and more of them are sporting brightly painted barn quilts and I'm always trying to spot them. This barn could use a bright barn quilt!  

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I tried to get a picture of a couple of black and white Holsteins in an autumn field but couldn't find any that were any good, so we'll have to make do with these brown cows.  They may be Jerseys or Brown Swiss--I'm not that good at identifying cows other than the prevalent Holsteins.  But I like the picture of the farm at sunrise. Or is it sunset?

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Of course, there have to be corn fields in harvest time. Usually the corn plants look like they've been sheared off about a foot above the ground after the combine has gone through, but in this field, the farmer has gathered the corn stalks the old fashioned way into shocks.

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Wisconsin isn't all rural areas.  Madison and Milwaukee are the two largest cities and Milwaukee is a wonderful city in my opinion. I love going there for the parks, museums, theater, terrific restaurants, and just browsing through the old ethnic neighborhoods. When we lived in the southern part of the state, I spent quite a bit of time there including 2 years of graduate school at UW--Milwaukee.  Now we usually go to spend time with my son and his family.  I still love this city on the shore of Lake Michigan.

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That's my little travelogue of Wisconsin in Autumn.  I hope you enjoyed it.  In case you haven't guessed, this is my favorite time of year.  I think I'll spend a bit more time today gazing at these beautiful warm and sunny pictures instead of looking out my own window. And later I will definitely make some doll clothes!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Now let's talk some dirt

Yesterday was a dirty day for me--literally!  It had stopped raining long enough for me to get into the flower gardens and transplant the iris, day lily and monarda from the back yard to the new circular bed in the front yard.  Don also planted some grass seed in the bare spots on the outside of the planting bed and hopefully both the seeds and the transplants will do well. I also received my box of tulips, daffys, and crocuses yesterday and had plans to plant them today, but it's cloudy and cold and we're supposed to have rain again this afternoon so I think I'll put that off for another day.

I spent some time at the hairdresser getting my monthly do.  Always feel good when my hair is trimmed and not so shaggy looking.

And I made up a box to send to my DIL and son.  For 2 years, she's been struggling with a progressively worsening medical condition (fortunately it's not life threatening) to the point where she's unable to keep a job.  She's an excellent knitter, however, and she's knitting up hats and scarves and mittens to sell through her Etsy shop.  I have a ton of yarn that I'll never get around to knitting up so I boxed it all up and mailed it off to her.

I also sent her the pattern for the hat I made for Lily when she was a year old.  It's a head band knitted in ribbing out of worsted yarn and then the hat is made of that fun fantasy yarn.  We got so many compliments the year that she wore that hat!  My DIL knows lots of people with young children and I know she would be able to sell these hats.

Since we had a little sun yesterday, I snuck outside and took a few pix of the quilt my guild is donating for the Quilt Tour raffle in November.  It's part of the fundraiser for the local domestic abuse program.  

Last October at the guild retreat, everyone brought a couple of 2.5" by WOF strips of yellow fabric--anything from pastel to dark gold.  There are several kinds of prints of bumblebees and of course, some green and gold Packers fabric! We sewed the strips, cut them, sewed them again, etc (as a quilter, you know the drill!) and made enough blocks for 2 throw sized quilts.  One was given to a guild member who was in treatment for cancer and the other is the one shown above.  

I also made a few bars of soap yesterday.  This is called Autumn Orange Spice and it's a combination of orange and clove essential oils with some bay rum fragrance.  Smells heavenly!  I added orange coloring and some bits of dried orange peel.  I'll wrap these bars later today and set them aside for the country store sale in November.  For this soap, I used a product I found in the local craft store, kind of a glycerin soap base, I think. I've made soap the old fashioned way using lard and lye and I like that kind better than the glycerin kind but it takes so long to cure! Last week, my daughter sent me a recipe for making soap in a crock pot using olive and coconut oils.  Takes about 1 1/2 hours and the soap is cured and ready to use in a few days!  Making this crock pot soap is near the top of the list of things I must do!

No sewing for me yesterday.  After the pressure to make the two throw quilts, I decided to take a day off. But today, I have to get back at it.  I have to prepare the batting for the Quilt of Valor and then probably make up some doll clothes.  Chili for supper so it goes in the crock pot early and will be ready when dinner time rolls around.  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My quilt of valor

Today, I finished piecing the Quilt of Valor and also prepared the backing. Fortunately, I had enough of one fabric that all I needed to do was measure, cut, and sew one seam.  Tomorrow I'll cut a chunk of batting and it'll be ready to go to Laurie, an excellent long arm quilter who volunteered to quilt it up for me.  

After I got all that done, I decided to take a break from the sewing room and just relax with some TV before getting dinner started.  I feel a little frenzied from all the pressure sewing I've done lately. From now on, I'll be working on items for the country store and for my Etsy store and what gets finished is what gets finished. 


Saturday, September 24, 2016

One quilt finished and on it's way!

Yea!  I finished my part of the geometry quilt--or to use it's official quilt name, "Saucy and Snappy"--and it's been handed over to it's other creator, Bonnie, to do the hand stitching and offer it to her AAUW group's fundraiser in November.

I even remembered to take a couple of pictures before I gave it to her yesterday.

Here I just tossed it over the futon on the sun porch.  You can see that I used the leftover strips from the jelly roll of fabrics to make the binding--and I still have 2 additional strips!  And this is pretty close to the true color--not the orange that was showing up in the other photos.

A close up of the swirly, loopy meander I did over the quilt center in lieu of the Baptist Fans I'd wanted to do.  But, all is not lost--I discovered a use for the circular ruler after all, but that comes later in the post. I used a variegated thread from Sulky since there were so many colors in the quilt. In some places it blends in perfectly and in others, it really stands out.

And in this pic, you can see the free-hand loop and curve design that I used in the narrow first border, and the straight line stitching in the wider, outer border.  If you look closely, you can see that I alternated  a double stitch line with a single line of stitching all along the border, and Miracles of Miracles!  the pattern wrapped around each corner perfectly!  Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the corners, which were stitched in a miter fashion which I liked very much.

So, that one is done for me.  Bonnie and I met yesterday for lunch and a visit in Spooner, which is a halfway point between Duluth where she lives and Menomonie where I live and I confessed to her that as we were making the Saucy and Snappy quilt I really didn't like it much at all, but since we were committed to it, I sucked it up and kept working on it. But as the quilting stitches went in, it seemed that the quilt kind of came to life and by the time I was finished with it, it had become a beautiful swan.  As usual, I finally liked it so much that I didn't want to give it away.  Does that ever happen to you--in the end, you kind of fall in love with a quilt that you weren't sure of in the process?

About that circular ruler that I agonized last week over ever arriving:  I had the idea of making some coasters for wine glasses--like a mug rug kind of--so Bonnie and I went to Thimbles, a terrific quilt shop in Spooner WI, which you can check out here, to find some fabric that would be suitable for these coasters and also for a couple of wine bottle totes.  You can figure out that we're going to have a little wine corner in the fundraiser country store. I think it should have a big sign saying, "Whining allowed HERE!"  But I digress.

We found a fabric--ON SALE!--that has dark purple and dark blue grape clusters on it, along with a coordinating purple and oatmeal fabric that will work very well for these coasters.

When I got home, I found this pattern from Pokey's Ponderings for these coasters and I thought they would be just the thing.  Each coaster is different so guests can remember which glass is theirs. And the little flaps cover the base of the wine glass so the coaster stays with the glass as it's moved around.  

quilted wine coasters

So then I realized that I'd have to add some additional colors to the fabric I bought in Spooner to make a set of 4 different coasters, and I'm pretty sure I can find some in my personal stash. These coasters require 5" diameter circles and I'll use my new ruler for cutting them out.  Well, I'll try anyway! 

After I'd finished stitching on the binding and label to Saucy and Snappy, I saw a "squirrel" and made up 4 of these holiday potholders to put up for sale in the store. I have lots of Christmas fabric that I want to use up, so I'll probably make a few more potholders when I can.

I'd seen the aqua/green fabric at the Busy Bobbin booth at the Amery Quilt show and fell in love with the cartoon forest animals. I think they're perfect in these Christmas package blocks and in addition to the potholders, I'll be making up more to work into a table runner or two.  If they don't sell at the country store, I'll put them in my Etsy Store afterward.

And when I finished stitching the potholders, I forced myself to return to the Quilt of Valor. My friend who offered to do the long arm quilting asked me the other day when I thought it would be ready for her, and I told her by the end of next week, so I have to get a move on.

In case you can't tell, I'm having a ball making all sorts of things for the country store!  I keep getting more and more ideas, and not enough time, of course. But that's life, right? When the ideas stop coming, I think it'll be time to throw in the towel and call it quits!  Hopefully not for awhile--too many quilts yet to make!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's Autumn!

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My favorite time of the year!  I love the warm but dry days of Fall and the chilly nights that mean I get to sleep under a quilt and not on top of it.  I love the changing colors of the leaves--but not so much the raking of said leaves.  I love the bright colors of the Fall flowers.  I love the vegetables of Fall--squash, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, parsnips.  And I love cooking wonderful, warming dishes with these foods from the garden.  Yeah, Autumn has to be just about my favorite season.  

And how did Mother Nature welcome Autumn to my neighborhood yesterday?  With rain. Lots of rain. Lots and lots!  We had drizzle all day with intermittent downpours of rain.  Flash flood warnings out all day and night.  So when it rains all day, what would any respectable quilter do?  I'm not too sure about the respectable part, but I made quilts! 

I managed to quilt up 3 sides of the final border of the geometry quilt and will get the last side finished today. Then I'll make up the label and stitch on the binding.  Plans changed yesterday and I need to have this ready to go tomorrow instead of Oct 1 as planned.  I'm so glad I was able to get as far as I did!  Bonnie and I  are meeting in Spooner for lunch and a chat and I'll turn it over to her then. As soon as I've finished with my part of this quilt, I'll continue working on the Quilt of Valor--I got a message from a friend of mine who's a long arm quilter, offering to quilt it up for me when I have it finished.  So that's the next one to get finished.

In between downpours yesterday I managed to step outside and take a couple of pictures of the planting bed we created in the front yard the other day.  Below is the side we can see from inside the house.  Along with the neighbor's garbage, ready for pick up!

And below is the side that's seen from the street.  The large rock was already in place when the tree came down and the other 3 were scattered around so we had the guy with his big back hoe lift them and place then alongside the large rock for a grouping. 

I'll be filling in all that bare ground with some day lilies, irises and monarda that I have in the back yard. And we'll plan bright annuals next spring to complete it all. And when my order of spring bulbs arrives, I'll get them in the ground as well. Can you imagine this planting bed filled with tulips, daffodils and crocuses next spring?  I think it will pretty up the neighborhood a little bit.  

Well, I'm off to finish the border quilting and then to take a decent picture so you can see what I've been slaving over this week.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Quilting progress, finally

After waiting how many days for my circular ruler to arrive from Craftsy, I wanted to put it to use yesterday and begin marking the Baptist Fans in my quilt. Not gonna happen, my friends. The ruler isn't the right size!  So, no Baptist Fans in this quilt.  What to do? What to do?

Go to plan B of course. Except I had no plan B.  So, I simply began stitching a loopy meander across the center of the quilt with my variegated thread and I like it a lot!  Yesterday, I stitched the entire center before I had to stop and ice my wrist.  (Even with the brace on, it still was pretty sore after a couple of hours.)  

Today, I stitched in all the ditches of the borders and managed to get the first border finished in another free motion design.

As usual, pics taken in my sewing room. even right under the sewing machine light, get a very red/pink hue.  When I'm finished quilting it, I'll bring it upstairs and take pics of it in natural light so you can see that it really is a brick/rust color with a variety of  Civil War fabrics and a black inner border.

And I had to share a picture of the doll dress I made the other day. The jeans I made are nothing special--they have no pockets and they have an elastic waist--Mom jeans, I guess.  :O)

After I'd finished stitching for the day, I went outside and planted the Winterberry bushes and fall mum plants that I got the other day and as I'm typing, Don is continuing to work on shaping the new planting bed with edging all around.  Tomorrow, I'll try to move a day lily or two and some gorgeous yellow iris that I have in the back yard. When my order of spring bulbs arrives, I'll be out there, filling all the spaces with tulips and daffodils. and hoping the squirrels don't decide to plant them somewhere else.  I'm thinking a generous dusting of dried blood might be the thing to keep them away.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Thank goodness, it's Monday!

I had a super busy weekend and I'm so glad it's Monday and I'm going to spend the entire day in the house, in my sewing room--except for a trip to to the grocery store for a few necessities.

I already posted that Saturday was a work day for the Guild, and I have pics to share with you as to what all we got accomplished. These are all things that will  be for sale in our Country Store at the Quilt Tour in November. It's a split fundraiser for the domestic abuse program and the guild.

Card making! All year, Barb, Patti, Jo and Carolyn have been taking beautiful pictures of our quilts. Now Barb is cutting them to size . . .

 and Carolyn and Patti are gluing and assembling them.  They made up 60 packets of 5 cards per packet--in about 3 hours!  What an amazing crew!  Actually, they had additional help from a couple of pre-teen grandsons who wanted hang out with us Grannies!  Go figure!

Jo and Becky had made up several "Diva Ironing Tables."  These are wooden TV tables that are covered with Insulbrite and fabric. They are perfect to keep by the side of your sewing station to press those half squares and not have to walk halfway across the house to the ironing board.  When you have one of these, you truly feel like a Quilting Diva!

One of our members (I don't know who) brought in a couple of jeans pocket potholders, bound with Indian corn fabric.  So cute!

And these are the strangest looking things. Can you guess?  Okay, I'll explain.  These are Jennie's numbered pins.  She, with help from Cindy and the 2 grandsons, made sets of long beaded pins, numbered 0 to 9.  The beads are glued onto the pins and then stuck in the paper cup to dry.  When they're dry, they get pinned into a length of ribbon and will go on sale. I have a set of these and love them. I use them when I have a quilt laid out on the floor to mark the blocks and then rows so I know which is row (or block) is number 1, 2, 3, and so forth.  Before I got my pins, I used masking tape with numbers written on them--and sometimes I mistakenly sewed the tape into the quilt.  That's not a good thing. Believe me.

This is another Barb--we have 3 Barbs in the guild--holding up a sewing mat that she's binding.  These are quilted mats that go on the table under your sewing machine. There are pockets in the part that hangs over the edge of the table in front of the machine where you can put your seam ripper, clippers, and so forth.  And never have to hunt for them again!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I made one doll dress and a pair of doll jeans, but I have no photo of them yet.  

And yesterday was quilt show day.  I love and hate going to quilt shows and I seldom go.  This one was in Amery WI and I'd never been there.  I had to bring Festival bookmarks for people to take and my friend Pat and I decided to go together and take in the show.  The reason I don't like going to quilt shows is because I see how much more I need learn to go to be a really good quilter, and the reason I like going is because I get to see all these fabulous quilts made by quilters who are so good at this craft.  And the Amery show was exceptionally wonderful!  Of course, I took very few pictures.  Just a couple of pics of things I wanted to remember, like this Log Cabin quilt that incorporates several smallish printed panels around the center log blocks.

I have a set of panels that I bought a year or so ago and I have a ton of Civil War fabrics and I think they would work together very will in a setting like this.  Later on, I'll play with them and see what I can do with them.

I also liked this "Recipe for a Quilt" and will embroider it on something, some time, whenever.  Maybe a throw pillow for the couch in the sewing room--if I ever get the fabric cleared off the couch!

So, it was a great weekend, but now I'm ready to put my circular ruler to work and get to marking the geometry quilt. I promise to take pics as I go along so I have proof that I'm actually making progress.  I only have 11 days to get it to the point of hand sewing the binding, so I have to put everything else aside and get 'r dun!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Guess what arrived yesterday!

Yes, my package from Craftsy came in the mail yesterday!  Yea!  I now have the ruler I need to mark the Baptist Fans on my geometry quilt but I have no time to do it!  Isn't that always the way it goes?

Yesterday was spent at a workday for the guild where we gathered to work on items for the country store we're having at the Quilt Tour in November.  I loved being with the other quilters but I did so much chatting that I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped to. Just made one pair of jeans and one dress. Still, that's 2 items more than I had when I began.

Today, I'm spending the day at a quilt show and have to sell tickets for the Quilt Tour so I'll be there most if not all of the day.  I'm sure that when I get home, I'll be exhausted just as I was yesterday when I got home.  So, I'm giving myself permission to relax tonight and simply work on my knitting and then tomorrow, it's full steam ahead on quilting up the geometry quilt.

Oh, yes, I want to add that I only have about 5 more blocks to make for the Quilt of Valor but I ran out of red fabric. I'm hoping to find some at one of the vendors at the quilt show today and then I can finish that project after the geometry quilt is done.

More later--with pictures too!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Still no package

Well, it's Thursday night, 12 days after I placed my order for fabric and a specialty ruler that I need to begin quilting a donation quilt.  And no package in sight.  Sigh.  I sent an email to "customer service" so now let's see what kind of service this customer gets.

While I'm waiting to get the ruler, I made some nightgowns for the little dollies and I made 2 of the four shoulder heat wraps that I need to do, and then I decided to begin making the Quilt of Valor that I need to get finished in time for the Festival (and Veterans Day) in November.  I've made nearly all the blocks with red squares and I have almost half of the blue star blocks finished.  I've liked each of the blocks as I made it, especially the blue stars, but I really like it laid out on the floor.

I got the pattern on line at Mary Quilts Of course, I made it scrappy but I still had to buy a couple of yards to complete it. Of course, I made it scrappy but I still had to buy a couple of yards to complete it. Mary's quilt finishes a little shy of the size the QOV organization prefers, so I had to decide between adding borders or making more blocks.  This time, I chose to add more blocks so there won't be any borders on this quilt. I plan on making a scrappy blue binding and I have some red and blue fabrics that I can use for the backing.  

So, that's more pressure on me!  I think I'll go to my neighbor who's a long arm quilter and ask her to do the quilting since I think I'll just not have time.  

I was at a meeting this morning with the two Veterans Service Officers to plan out how we'll present the quilts and between the three of us, we came up with a pretty good plan, I think.  They have no shortage of veterans who would benefit from and who would appreciate getting a quilt so I suggested that whether or not we have another Festival, that we should present QOV every year to the veterans.  I'll work on that idea when I have time--after the Festival!

Sadly, I've neglected my gardening chores but I hope to have some time tomorrow to get back at that weeding job.  We'll see. I'd rather be making a quilt top!  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Yesterday . . .

Well, yesterday flew by me and I only realized this morning that I hadn't posted.  I'm trying to post something every day. When  I have to think about my days, it makes me appreciate the good things that have happen and that's the way I want to live.

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But yesterday wasn't the best of days for me. Excuse me if I rant a little.  Just have to get this off my chest.  I went to a planning meeting last night about the upcoming Quilt Tour, part of the Festival. I've been to many of these meetings over the years and usually with the same people involved.  Last night, one of the members there returned after having missed the last 2 or 3 meetings.  I'd noticed in the past that she seemed to single me out for criticism of one thing or the other every time the group met. Last night was no different. She latched onto me like a leech and wouldn't let up until I finally had to be forceful.  Ugh!  I hate that!  She had questions about the Festival Facebook group and wouldn't accept the decisions that had been made by the Festival group. (She's not part of the Festival planning group, only one of the events of the Festival so she had no input in the Facebook decisions.) She kept questioning and questioning the decisions that had been made and wouldn't accept my responses until I finally looked her straight in the eye and told her the decision had been made and that was that!  As I was walking out at the end of the meeting, one of the other members told me she was about ready to slap that woman's face!  So I guess it's not just me that thought she was out of line!  Oh, I just hate it when people are so nit picky!

Enough of that rant and on to other things. No, my craftsy order didn't arrive.  I browsed the customer service part of their website and discovered that they expect shipping to be up to 10 days after the order's "processed," not placed. What's with that!  Usually when I order off the internet, which I admit isn't that often, my purchase arrives in 5 days or less.  So I continue to wait.  If there's a place where I can review this experience with Craftsy, believe me, I will.  As you can tell, I have mastered the art of ranting!

Other than these things, which really are as my Peace Corps daughter says, "Third World Problems,"  the day was very fine. I got another section of my flower garden weeded and when I finish with this I'll go out there for another hour or so.  I'd post pictures of my progress but I'm too ashamed at how I've neglected the garden this summer.

I also finished another flannel dolly nightgown, the blue one this time, and began making a second shoulder heating pad.  Today, my goal is to finish up that project so I have all four finished.

So, this is how today is going to be for me--whether or not I get a package in the mail!  I hope you have a grin this big yourself!

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Sunday, September 11, 2016


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Are you  remembering where you were on Sept. 11, 2001?  I remember every year and it doesn't get any easier.  Today we remember and mourn the loss of our friends.

This  picture of the Sept. 11 memorial looks beautiful, a fitting way to honor and remember.  

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Today will be nothing extraordinary, just like yesterday. Before you ask, no, the package from Craftsy didn't arrive as I'd hoped.  I placed the order on Saturday, Sept 3 and it has yet to arrive.  Just checked the tracking and it's been sitting somewhere in Illinois since the 8th. I am not happy.  Not happy.  I've purchased on-line classes from Craftsy before and really like them, but this is the first time I've ordered merchandise, and I'm not happy.  Have any of you had experience like this with Craftsy?  Well, I'll keep you posted on the continuing wait, wait, wait for my order.  

Yesterday I did a little laundry, a little housework, a little cooking, and a little sewing. Since I can't begin quilting the Saucy and Snappy (Geometry) quilt, I covered 2 wooden TV tray tables and turned them into portable ironing tables.  Tah Dah!  They are door prizes for the upcoming Fall Retreat that my guild puts on. One is covered with a butterfly print shown below and the other one is covered with fabric printed with birds. Quilters place these tables next to their sewing area and then don't have to get up to press, just turn to the little table.  Personally, I like to get up and walk across the room to the ironing board--I get a little exercise and stretching while sitting and sewing.

I sewed up a pretty and soft flannel nightgown for an 18" doll, shown below. Trust me, it really is pink but there's a yellow tinted light bulb in the area where I took this picture.

And I cut out the pieces for a second nightgown out of this aqua/blue flannel and I hope to get it sewn up today.

In the evening, I almost finished knitting the pale blue cardigan sweater for the dolls. As luck would have it, I ran out of yarn near the finish.  Bummer for sure!  My first thought was to take it all apart and remake the sweater with fewer rows of ribbing on it but I thought I'd leave it for today. When I woke up, I decided to leave it as is, place it all on a holder and get another skein of yarn the next time I get to the store where I bought it.  Don't know when that will be since the store is about 50 miles from here so I can't just "run to the store."

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Today I'll work on making shoulder wraps similar to the one above that we will give to each person who attends the retreat.  Do you know about the rice-filled tubes that you heat and put on your neck to relieve strain and pain?  Well, we're making one of these for each retreat attendee. I have to make 4 of them as my share of the work, so I want to get them done and off my mind.  

Here in NW WI, the sun is shining, it's cool and dry outside, and a typical early Autumn day. I may try to fit in some time outdoors, doing some gardening chores that I've neglected due to my wrist/thumb injury. I think it's healed enough that I can pull weeds and so forth and I will feel good to get some of that done as well.  

Can I get all this done?  Wish me luck!  :)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Yesterday was a nothing day and I think today is too.

Not much going on around here. All I did yesterday was get the geometry quilt pinned and ready for quilting but my special ruler/template didn't arrive. Well, I took it easy and finished a lavender doll sweater and  began a pale blue one, thinking, "I'm sure the ruler will arrive tomorrow."

Well, tomorrow has arrived . . . but not the ruler!  I checked the tracking email and it's sitting somewhere in Illinois having been sent from Kentucky. What's with the delay! In the time it's taking to be shipped here to WI, I could have driven to Kentucky and back--and had the quilt half done by now!  So, I wait.

Not that I don't have lots of other things to work on, I do, and I'll get on with something else as soon as I finish this post. But that quilt has to be ready for hand stitching the binding by Oct 1 when I turn it over to Bonnie to finish up.  I'm starting to feel the pressure and I don't like that!

On the bright side of things, I sent Bonnie an email with pics of the front and back of the quilt so she could see how it's coming along.  I sent it from my cell phone which has that auto correct spell checker feature.  Instead of saying "AAUW quilt" as I had typed, the phone changed it to "Sauce quilt."  Personally, I hate that function on my phone, but I'll not rant on that today.  Bonnie and I agreed that we'll name the quilt "Saucy and Snappy." We think that name fits with the spikes scattered over the quilt top.  So it has an official name. I can go ahead and make up a label for it.

Lets all hope together that my order arrives tomorrow so I can get started on the Saucy and Snappy quilt, okay?  I need all the help I can get with this project. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Let the quilting begin!

This morning, I woke up to a return of nasty head cold symptoms!  I was so sure it was gone for good!  Well, I'd already reserved the room at the recreation center for 9 am so I had to get there to pin the geometry quit.  Here it is laid out on the floor after I had it all pinned together. While I was stretching to get the center pinned--being 5'2" makes it a little difficult to reach the center of anything, believe me.  lol--I began just sticking in the safety pins and not closing them. (If you already know this tip, you have permission to skip to the next paragraph. :)  )  When I had a row pinned, I went back with my stylus and closed all the pins in the row.  Why haven't I done this before!  (Hand slap to forehead!) I discovered that my left hand, not holding the stylus, could keep smoothing the quilt as I pinned across the row.  I hope I've done a better pinning job on this quilt than I've had in the past.

And here's the back that I struggled with the other day.  I think it looks pretty good and it's a good contrast to the dark colored top.  I even used most of the pinwheel blocks across the center, and still had enough left over to make into a little doll blanket.  

Yesterday, I made it to my LQS and bought thread for both the geometry quilt and the embroidered bee quilt, so I'm ready for that when the time comes. I even found 2 1/2 yards of fabric on sale that  I can use for the back of the bee quilt along with leftovers of the fabrics I used for framing, sashing, and bordering the embroidered blocks.  I'll make up the back another time.  I want to get the quilting started on the geometry quilt first.  I'm still waiting for the circular ruler to arrive--maybe today--so I can begin.  If it doesn't come today, I have lots of other things to do while I wait.  

Since I traveled as far as Rice Lake, I went a little further north to one of my favorite garden nurseries to see if they had the bushes I want to plant, replacing the old maple tree we had removed earlier this summer. Lucky me!  They had many Winterberry bushes in stock and I came home with one guy and two ladies.  They should be very pretty with their red berries all winter.  These are photos I got off the web:

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Winterberry bush with berries not yet ripe

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Winterberry as I expect it to look in our WI winters
When I went to the register to pay for the three bushes, I questioned the total price and the clerk said they were 40% off!  Win/win for me! On the way home, I saw signs advertising mums at the Mennonite Farmer's Market so I had to stop by. I got 3 HUGE mums for less than $10 each!  Triple win for me!  

Yesterday was a very good day for me, in so many ways. I have the bushes and the flowers sitting on the front walkway and am waiting for the dirt guy to come and deliver topsoil for the planting bed and to reposition the large rocks that were moved. Then I can get in there and get my planting done before my spring bulb order arrives in a few days.

I just have to get over this nasty cold so I can get outdoors and do some fall cleanup and planting. I love gardening all summer but especially enjoy working outdoors in the cool, dry days of fall.  I hope you're having a wonderful day yourself!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

More rain

There are flash flood warnings out for my area because we've had so much rain. This is the second day of pretty much steady rain with thunderstorms and intermittent downpours.  Gloomy, gloomy days.

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Substitute "Saturday Sew In" for "bridge game"

But great days for sewing!  Yesterday I spent all afternoon figuring out and constructing the backing for the Geometry quilt. What a chore!  It seems I never have enough of any one fabric to make a backing and then have to cut and piece, trusting that my never-have-been-very-good math skills will be correct. And as usual, my calculations were off.  I was about 5" too narrow and about 15" too long!  How can that be when I measure, add, subtract, and so forth, not once but multiple times, to make sure I'm doing it right?  So frustrating!  Well, I added a couple of strips on both sides of the backing to make it just wide enough and today I'll measure (15 or 20 times!) the length and make some cuts.  Then get the batting cut to size and I'm off to the Rec Center to lay it all out and make myself a sandwich.

After that, I'll be going to the LQS to get the thread I need to begin the quilting.  Making the backing took way more time than I thought so I didn't make the trip yesterday as planned.  With any luck, the circular ruler will arrive today and I'll be all set to start quilting when I get home.

Last night was my first guild meeting as president and I think it went well. I'm always unsure about when to let people talk and when to get them back on topic but it was okay last night.  Got all the business taken care of, had a terrific Show and Tell, and a short demo on how to correctly cut fabric.  We also made our annual charity donation--this year it was quilts, pillows and pillow cases for area kids in foster care.  As usual, I neglected to take any picture, but I will proudly tell you the table was piled high with items that will be used by the kids. The women in the guild are so giving, it makes me proud!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Be gone, Head Cold, be gone!

And just like that, the nasty head cold is gone!  Well, almost gone.  I'm feeling 3000 times better this morning than I did a couple of days ago. Just a bit of a cough left. I'm so happy I didn't have to force myself to go to work as I used to before I retired.

Labor Day.  Ahh. a day of rest for me, for the most part.  I spent time in the sewing room and attached two borders to the AAUW quilt. I have to find a name for that quilt--I'm thinking of "Arcs and Angles" or "Geometry"  since the pieces are all rectangles and right angles, and the quilting will be Baptist Fans, or arcs.  So, lets call it the Geometry quilt for now until I come up with something better.

I couldn't take a picture of the finished top due to lack of floor space, and this morning it's pouring rain outside.  Suffice it to say, I think it's looking lovely and I know the quilting will set it off.  I'm thinking of something fairly elaborate for quilting the 4.5" outer border but I'm not sure what. Feathers for sure, but something else as well.  I think I may make a trip to my favorite LQS today to get thread but first I should check to see if I need to get fabric for the backing. Then I can get it sandwiched this week and begin the quilting. Shouldn't take too long since it's only a throw sized quilt--well, maybe a little larger, I'm not sure.

Here are the final two blocks of my Bee-utiful quilt along that I've been working on all summer.

I really like this barn block with the corn in the field. I added some weeds grass on the left side to give it a little balance. Besides, I've never seen a working barn that didn't have weeds growing along the foundation, have you?  I also chose to forgo the satin stitched pinwheel barn quilt and filled my triangles in with blue and yellow French knots.  They don't show up too well in the photo but I like how they look in person.

And lastly, this cute bunny block.  The bunny appeared earlier in the quilt along as did the cat a few times.  I outlined the fluffy tail as instructed and then filled it in with tiny straight stitches (I think it's called Seed Stitch but I'm not sure) and then a few French knots as well to give it texture and dimension.  The tail is in white while the body is outlined in gray.  I saw on FaceBook where one stitcher had done the tail in "Turkey Work," something I'd not heard of.  It's a stitch where you leave loops above your work and then trim them, leaving a fluffy, chenille-like effect.  

Here's a video if you want to take a look at how it's done. I definitely will be using this stitch in future projects, I'm sure.

Other than the road trip to the LQS, I'll be preparing for tonight's guild meeting, my first as president. Wish me luck, but wait!  No need for luck--this group of quilters is so outstanding that I know they will be forgiving as well as helpful if I stumble or make a left turn or something.  What's on your agenda on this first day after the weekend?  School or work?  Or more play?  That's my choice.