A weekend of finishes

Hello and welcome to the eclipse post...not really.  I'm sure we will all hear all we want to about eclipses today...and probably more than we want to about Afghanistan.

It was a busy three day weekend for us.  Rob and I both took Friday off.  We didn't do anything, except relax and enjoy being together.  We spent the cool part of all three days in the yard, cleaning up and watering.  That's August for you.  I think we've had nearly 40 days where the temperature was over 100* this summer, so dealing with dieback and keeping things watered is about all we can do.

During the hot parts of the day, I was inside.  Relaxing.  And, working with needles. 

I got the quilting finished on this little quilt.  And, I learned something.  It was something I ran into on the last quilt I was binding and I tested it on this quilt and it was true.  I guess it's true that an old dog can still learn new tricks. 

The trick I learned is going to be most relevant to left handed quilters.  I am left handed, but sewing machines are right handed.  Or at least right hand oriented.  I have struggled with bindings as long as I've been quilting.  And, this weekend, I learned a better way.

I bind my quilts the traditional way, with the traditional fold at the corners.  You know the one that's supposed to guarantee a perfect miter.  Well, it rarely ended in a perfect miter for me, but I'd tug and pull and stretch and make it look like a miter.  This weekend, I figured out that I'm folding it the wrong way for the way I sew.  A right hander would sew the binding to the front, then turn it over and sew it down on the back by hand, from right to left.  But, I sew by hand from left to right.  That meant those corners were turned the wrong way when I'd fold it to the back.  This time, as I approached the corner, I folded it the other way, folding the side I was approaching over and pinning it down, then folding the side I was working on over and pinning a perfect miter in the corner, then sewing it all down.  That gave me a perfect miter in all four corners.  It's something about the way the fabric is folded that it can't fold over the bulk if I sew it down from left to right. 

Sorry, that was kind of complicated to describe, so you might have to close your eyes to envision what I'm talking about.  What I'm trying to say is that those folded corners that Eleanor Burns showed me how to make work best if you sew the back down from right to left.  And, if you sew it from left to right, there's an easy way to make the fabric act like you're sewing it down the other way that works better.

I also finished the needlepoint piece I've been working on.  Yes, it is a parallelogram instead of a rectangle.  That's going to need some major blocking.  But, I am not going to feel bad, considering this is only the second piece I've done.  I am pretty darn happy with it. 

Ok, that's it for me this eclipse Monday.  Tomorrow, I'm off to New Orleans for one night of business.  I'm not even taking a hand work project.  I'm just not going to be there that long.  But, I have to make sure I pick a book to take with me. 
Everybody have a great day and a great week!  Enjoy the eclipse if you can see it.  We're going to get about 65% and we have our glasses.  I expect to walk outside after lunch for a little while with them to see what I can see.  It's the last one here til 2024.


what happens next

I'm reminded of a poem;

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

--Martin Niemoller

I've always wanted to ask a racist what happens when the mob decides you're not white enough?  Or your children?  Or your grandchildren? 

The one thing they can't say is "it will never happen" because history has shown us, it will.  It always does. 


The dining table

I hope your dining table is as integral to your family is ours is to us.

This weekend, I made a new tablecloth for the dining table.  I'm way too cheap to buy really nice table cloths and they don't last forever, so I make them when I can.  I've made some really fun ones.  I machine embroidered one a couple years ago that we dropped gravy on the first time we used it.  So, that kind of explains why I won't spend a lot on them.  And, don't let me fool you, I'm the worst.  I dropped blackberry jelly on the edge of the last one...but fortunately, Rob got it out, so that one isn't a loss. 

It looks like a solid blue, but it's not.  There's a pattern of light and dark in it.  I bought a piece of extra wide quilt backing and it worked out perfect.  I plan to try that again.  I need a cloth that's 60" wide, so I bought 1 2/3 yard or 60" of backing, thinking I wouldn't care about the few inches I lost to a hem, but I didn't think about the fact the cutter at the fabric store couldn't possibly cut four layers of fabric in a perfectly straight line.  I had a hard enough time doing it with a rotary cutter and she was having to use scissors.  Next time, I'll buy 1 3/4 yards.  And, from one end, I got a nice piece of quilt fabric to add to the stash that's about 26x60".

Before Sydney came, Rob and I ate at TV trays in the living room.  It was our habit.  But, when we got Sydney, we started eating all our meals at the dining table.  We laughed and argued and taught and talked and discussed school and work.  In the mornings, Sydney and I would eat breakfast there.  At dinner it was the three of us.  Now, when Sydney is gone, Rob and I still eat there out of habit.  He sets the table, I bring the food.  I'm glad we picked up that tradition.  And, I hope we keep it. 

Sydney has been out of school all summer.  You can't convince her it's a mistake.  But, that means she doesn't have anything to do during the day.  So, on one day a week, when she isn't working, she has to cook dinner.  Now, you'd think that would be easy, right?  But, no.  It took a couple weeks to convince her it was really a thing and that she was actually expected to cook.  And, then, she cooked one week and thought she was done and didn't add anything to the grocery list, so she had to cook something I chose the next week.  She really didn't like that, but despite the argument, the food was good.  But, this week, she was back with a vengeance and made some grilled chicken breasts with a stick of rosemary, wrapped in bacon.  It was delicious!

This is a repeated behavior with Syd, bless her li'l pea pickin' heart.  She thinks if she doesn't participate in things that she doesn't want to do, they'll go away.  I don't know where she got that.  I mean, twice, we've dragged her weeping butt through an art museum because she thought refusing to participate would mean we would give up.  I just stood far enough away that people didn't know I was with that crying child.  And, that's not the only time we've shown her that she's not the only person that gets to control the situation. 

Of course, that has meant that when we've made a plan to do something she wanted, we've had to make dang sure it actually happened like it was supposed to.  Because there are two sides to teaching that lesson and I don't think we would have made much impact if we'd only taught her that she had to do what we wanted and not the other way around. 

Unfortunately, we all know someone that went too far the other way and now they have a kid that controls EVERYTHING! 

Anyway, now, like every time it's ever happened, once she finally buckles down and accepts that she's not in control, she finds her place in the interaction and has fun with it.  We sat the other night and talked about recipes that she's thinking of making and flavors and learning to cook more complex dishes, and practicing on her dads.  The other night, Rob asked why she was making something complex?  why couldn't it just be something simple?  And, I couldn't fault her for that.  I'd have wanted to spread my wings too, if I was in her position. 

In fact, I did, making unusual things out of unused cookbooks that my family had to eat.  And, now, I'm a really good cook. 

Life goes on around the dining table. 

Everybody have a great Thursday!  Lane


Plugging away

I'm torn today between talking about what I did this weekend and what I thought about this weekend.  

First, you all blew me away over the weekend with all the beautiful encouraging feedback.  It was much appreciated.  I don't plan to stop blogging and after that, I'm hoping I can blog a little more often.  So, I'm spreading my weekend projects out a little.

I really needed a relaxing weekend.  I'm not quite sure why I was so on edge last week at work.  But, when I would get home, I was exhausted and stressed.  I planned a mix of cleaning and gardening and sewing and needlepoint.  Sounds great, right?

I did get a lot done.  Mostly the stuff other than cleaning.  Oh, well. 

One of my projects was getting the binding on the analogous green quilt.  I got the last hand stitches in last night.  I'm a little worried about that wavy border.  I'm worried that blocking isn't going to make that go away. 

It's wavy because the quilt isn't evenly quilted all over.  It's very densely quilted in the center and more loosely quilted around the edges.  The idea was to quilt it densely in the center, where the piecing is small, then more loosely as the pieces got bigger.  But, there's a reason that judges feedback sheets have a place where they can just put a check mark next to "evenly quilted all over"...it's important.  The only real fix is to go back and add more quilting.  Just not sure if that's what I want to do.  I might have to try blocking it first and see how flat it gets. 

I really didn't mean to build a yarn stash for needlepoint.  I really only want to do one project and needed a little practice before tackling it.  But, end up with a stash I did.  So, I decided to make a project with it.  Rob and I talked about it and we decided on two pillows.  So, this weekend, I drew out the pattern and did a small test square to see how much canvas a piece of yarn would cover. 

Okay, so now I'm a pattern designer, right?  So, I sat down and figured out how much of each color I'd need.  And, then subtracted the yarn I have. 

And, these two pillows were going to cost an additional $50.


But, boy did I have fun drawing and coloring.  Like being a kid again.  I guess I see why adult coloring books are so popular now. 

We watched the news from Charlottesville this weekend.  I am shocked and horrified.  I grew up in the south.  I've seen institutionalized racism.  I've heard the jokes.  I even told a few when I was really young.  And, I can remember talking to my parents about racism when I was a young man.  (I was such a dumbass...I remember judging my Dad for saying he had black friends instead of just saying he had friends, in a time and place where just having black friends was remarkable.)  A family member recently told me a racist joke and then acted like there was something wrong with me because I didn't think it was funny.  I was so sure that the U.S. was beyond such a display of public bigotry tho.  That we were ready to accept one another as people.  Equals.  That the struggle for trans rights would be one of the last struggles. 

But, I was clearly so wrong. 

So, it's my responsibility to speak out for acceptance because I am part of a minority group that has received our share of bigotry.  And, all bigotry hurts at least two people; the one that receives it, and the one that believes it. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  And, practice acceptance. 



blog, blogger, blogging

Is it just me, or are there fewer people posting?  And, also, fewer people reading. 

I thought it was just me.  That my political views caused me to lose some followers.  But, then I noticed that some of the only bloggers posting regularly were the professionals.  And, one day I checked my views and I was only receiving half as many views. 

My many thanks to my stalwart readers that have stuck with me! 

And, I do believe the reduction is probably politics.  I know that some days, I'm just too shocked by what is going on in the world to be able to write something cheerful and entertaining.  And, honestly, I'm torn about posting about what I'm feeling because when the wrong people get wind of that, they retaliate horribly and threateningly.  And, I'm just not up for that crapful of hate that has been unleashed and allowed to flourish.  All because civility has died an spiteful orange death. 

So, I sew.  And, I quilt.  And, I garden.  And, I try to cook and clean.  And, I make sure I get out of bed every morning and face the world, no matter how bad I don't want to sometimes.  And, I make sure that at least once a week, I check in with you all.  The other people out there that accept me for who I am.  Whether they agree or not.  And, we treat one another with civility.  Whether we agree or not.  And, nobody has said I'm crazy for the extremes I'm willing to go to for a beautiful piece of fabric art in a really long time. 

My connection with what I have to believe is the real world. 

So, I'll just keep doing my best to dull every needle in the world by using it to death.  And, tinkering with sewing machines and risking my life through electrocution as I use the ones I've worked on.  And, trying to use up this stash of fabric and yarn that I accidentally ended up with.  And, sitting still in the air conditioning because honestly, that's what we do in August in the south (climate change is real, y'all!).  And, walking through the office with a smile on my face because I see how people react to that, and it makes me happy.  And, doing my best to be a good man, because good men might be in danger of going extinct. 

Here's looking forward to some cool fall days and some cooler heads in the near future. 

This little quilt always reminds me of fall. 

Everybody have a great Friday.  Rob has the day off, but I have to go to the office...this has been the busiest week!  Way too many things going on and I am exhausted.  I'm looking forward to some nice pieceful quilting this weekend. 



A little overkill is a really good thing

On Saturday, I was trying to figure out what to work on.  My guild is having a miniature quilt challenge and I'm trying to figure out if I want to enter something.  I picked this little basket quilt up. 

This is from a Sally Collins pattern.  It used to have another border, a dark green.  But, it never looked like it belonged there, so I took it off and while I was trying to decide what to replace it with, I decided not to replace it.  Without the border, it comes out at the maximum qualifying size.  I've been struggling with a backing for a 24" quilt.  That small, there were plenty of possibilities.  So many that I couldn't pick one.  I was sitting on the floor of the stash closet with fabrics strewn all around me.  This one was too small; this one was too bright; too modern; too large scale...too something. 

And, then it hit me and in 5 minutes, I had my fabrics pulled. 

Next, I had to draft it...it took a lot longer than I expected to go from a 3" block to a 15" block.  I had to draw it more than once.  The original seems to be in 16ths of an inch and that's not fun math to try to increase.  Anyway, it's not exact, but it made a perfect back. 

I haven't done this in a long time.  But, on a small quilt, repeating block quilt, I love to blow up the block and use it as a back.  It's a nice surprise. 

And, the quilting is going well.  After it was pieced, I added the yellow border and then the white one.  They were supposed to be a half inch wide.  But, then the points all fell off the quilt and would have been cut away.  So, I picked out a little bit at the corners and re-sewed a seam and trimmed off some extra fabric and reduced the borders to a quarter inch wide.  And, now it all fits.  When I initially saw the error and pointed it out to Rob, we talked about cutting the points off to keep from completely de-assembling the borders and setting triangles.  Then, it hit me I could adjust it without picking it all out, and that changed everything.  I did the little bit of required picking out on the way to JoAnn's on Saturday.

We went to JoAnn's to pick up a binding for the analogous green quilt.  I found the perfect one.  And, I picked up some 108" wide backing fabric for a new tablecloth.  When it came time to check out, there were two women at the registers.  They were there together.  They both had a bunch of stuff.  One of them questioned everything nearly everything on her bill, comparing it to the advertisement mailing (she had a new cashier and she knew it).  I don't quite know what the other one was doing, but she needed the cashier to go get her a chair so she could sit and rest after it was done.  Both cashiers looked frazzled.  And, when it was over, Rob and I walked up, all smiles.  The cashier thanked us for our patience and Rob thanked her for hers, which took her aback for a second til she realized we were commiserating.  She was so grateful for our patience and smiles and understanding that she pulled up extra coupons so that everything I bought was either 40 or 50 percent off.  That was cool.

Course, she didn't hear us grumbling from a distance while we waited.  We were probably not as patient as the cashier thought we were. 

But, it sure wasn't the cashier's fault. 

The weather broke last week.  There were a couple days where the late afternoon temperatures dropped into the 80's as rain fell all around our house...but not at our house.  This morning, it's making up for it.  It's pouring out there.  That will water all the corners that the sprinklers just can't get to.  And, it's a good thing.  The garden was looking a little sunburned. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  It's off to work for me.  Lane


No, that really is too hot

The temperature was 106*F both weekend days. 

Whoa!  That's just too hot.  All the blinds and curtains are closed so it feels like we're living in a cave. 

On Saturday, I got a little quilting on the analogous green quilt.  And, we went to see our friend LD.  She is doing well and moving well.  That's always good.  We had lunch and talked needlepoint and had a nice visit.  And, when we got home, I sat in the sofa in the studio and didn't move much.  We didn't even go out for dinner.  We stayed in and had cold chicken salad sandwiches. 

On Sunday, I needed to water flower pots and knew I wasn't going to want to do it in the afternoon.  While I was out there, it was nice and cool and there was a breeze.  Next we went to the grocery and when we got back, it was already hot and steamy.  It's the humidity that makes it so miserable. 

I cooked dinners for all week before it got too hot out and did dishes.  But, after that, it was all about sitting still under an air conditioning vent.  But, it's supposed to be cooler this week...97.  Ninety-seven shouldn't be a break from the heat, right?  But that's how we think of it as here, now. 

But August starts tomorrow and after that, it's over. 

Say it three times. 

And, click your heels together.  Something.  Anything.  There's no place like October, there's no place like October...

I did get the analogous feathered star quilt finished yesterday. 

It took a couple hours to tear off the paper, but now it's done.  And, I realized I didn't leave any of these fabrics out for a binding.  And, they're so specific that I really wish I still had a piece of one of them.  Where did the rest of the fabrics go? 

A cute as the dickens pieced quilt back, that's where.  I wanted to use it up.  And, I did, darn it. 

I'll have to carry the quilt somewhere and show it off...uhm, I mean match a binding fabric to it. 

I'm pretty sure I saw one of the darker fabrics in JoAnn's the other day.  (he says hopefully)

My needlepoint got high praise from LD.  She has done a lot of needlepoint and I'm hoping she'll do some more.  Everybody needs something to look forward to, right?  (hint, hint)

Anyway, she especially complimented my tension.  She said many new needlepointers pull their stitches too tight, and I don't. 

As I was unrolling it, she was talking to Rob about tension distorting the canvas.  And, then we both pointed to the place my stitches were too tight and distorted the canvas.  But, she felt like I could block that out.  I'm about 65% done.  Maybe more.  Looking forward to a finish.

And, I'm thinking about the next quilt to pin baste.  What will it be???  (something to look forward to)

Everybody have a great Monday.  I hope something good happens to you. 

And, if it doesn't, pick something and decide to see it that way.



The angry deer

He's not really angry.  It's just too dang hot to iron. 

He has a heavy eyebrow ridge that should go away when he is ironed.  I hope. 

This is the latest block from the Have a Jolly Little Christmas BOM by Sew Fresh Quilts.  Rob says he wants a quilt with nine of them, one with a red nose.  Sew Fresh made hers with a black nose but I couldn't resist the red nose. 

I sure hope that brow ridge irons out.

I spent some time in the garden this weekend.  Early hours.  Wee early hours.  Just to get a few plants in pots and do some watering and some weeding and a little trimming.  But, I can only do a little at a time this time of year.  I'm really good at waiting til winter and doing my hard work then.  I'm already planning my fall and winter garden projects. 

I heard a small scratching sound in the attic the other day.  Can't have that.  Turns out something had pulled the steel wool out of the small hole in the siding.  Pretty sure that's how it got in.  Don't know if it was squirrels or something more sinister.  But, we made a loud racket and banged around on Saturday and then Rob covered the hole with something more permanent.  No more sounds since then. 

While we were up there, we noticed that the screen over the eave vent was torn, so we decided to replace that.  We were up doing that before sunrise yesterday morning before the attic could heat up.  We warned Sydney, we're going to be in the attic really early, so don't stay up late the night before.  Course, we didn't set the house on fire or set off the tornado siren, so she didn't get up. 

While we were at the hardware store, we decided to check front porch lights.  We found this one.  We've been looking for about 18 months, so no one was more surprised that we actually found one we agreed on. 

I knew it would happen that way...the right day, the right mood, the right light.  That's how we roll.  It's kind of industrial and reminds us both of the lights that would have hung on the front of a barn.  We tried it in a larger size and went with the smaller because in a larger size, it looked a little too much like a light that would hang on the front of a barn. 

Yesterday afternoon, I turned the small fan on my legs and quilted another side of the bubble border on the analogous green quilt. 

One more side and this one will be done.  I'm hoping to get the last tissue pinned on today so I can get started with the quilting tomorrow.  It only takes about an hour and a half do to a side, so I don't quite know what I'm procrastinating about. 

I guess it gives me something to look forward to, right?  Always a job to be done.

If it just wasn't so dang hot. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  The start to another new week.  Anything could happen.  I hope it's something good. 



Painting done

I would love to write a post about some beautiful quilting I did over the weekend.  But, honestly, I didn't.  I put the bubbles in one border of the green quilt, but that was the extent of my quilting.  I was not into it.  I didn't even finish the binding on Simply Delicious.  I hope to get back to it this week, but we will have to see.  I'm distracted right now. 

Instead, I have pictures of the bathroom that I painted. 

Rob built all the cabinet doors for me.  They're solid wood.  The vanity had doors, but these three cabinets were just an open set of shelves when I moved in.  I wasn't much on that because I didn't want to have to keep my shelves neat and organized all the time.  They're solid wood and heavy, made from narrow strips of wood glued together and braced on the inside.  He made new vanity doors to match. 

When I moved into the house, this bathroom was papered with a black and white stripe with brightly colored flowers.  It was very versatile, any color worked in there.  But, it was hideous paper with a flowery border along the ceiling. 

Oops, should have lowered the toilet seat before I took that one.  Oh, well.  We all open the toilet, right?  

We went on Saturday and bought new towels.  We replace our towels a lot because the space is so small that thick fluffy towels don't dry well.  So, of course, we keep buying thick fluffy towels. 

I hate those drop down lights.  They are a pain.  But, they were "da bomb" when the house was built and I'm way too lazy to replace them.  I'm going to need to look for something brown and green to fill that big empty wall.  Maybe a quilt??

The bathroom was green.  Olive and a light pea green.  In 2002, I painted the olive first and then sponged for days and days and days with several lighter shades of paint.  It was beautiful.  Like being in a forest.  And, then something happened and we had to paint a section and I knew I'd never imitate that effect again as a patch and didn't have time to do the whole room, so we painted over it with just the olive.  I can't even remember what happened.   But, I can tell from the below when it happened. 

That's our notes from behind the mirror.  2002, when we'd only been together for 2 years.  Then, in 2006 we went just the olive.  And, now, the khaki color. 

A history of us. 

I also built a scroll frame for my needlepoint.  I studied them and looked at how they are made, but I was too cheap to buy one.  I don't want to spend a lot of money on another hobby.  So, I built one.  $5 at the hardware store and some scrap lumber and dowels from the garage.  And, it's working great!  I just hope it's not too late.  My work was getting pretty pulled out of shape from me thinking I wouldn't need one.  It was becoming a parallelogram instead of a rectangle.

Everybody have a great Monday!  It's a new week.  Anything could happen.  Make it be something good. 



Just words

No beautiful quilt pictures today.  Just thoughts and words and deeds. 

I've been a bachelor all week.  Rob was out of town on a road trip, leaving me, the dogs, the cats and a surly teen to survive without the calming effect that he brings to our lives.  And, as funny as it would be to say it all went to crap in his absence, it didn't. 

I painted the bathroom.  And, walked dogs and paid attention to all the animals and watched a whole season of Doctor Who and did a whole bunch of needlepoint because after a full day of reaching and stretching and painting, I was tired and sore and needed to sit relatively still.  One thing I didn't do was cook.  I bought a frozen lasagna and a frozen Chinese meal and package of sandwich meat and a loaf of bread.  And, that's what we ate.  And, it was good. 

But, boy was Sydney surprised.  I'm not sure whether she thought we weren't going to eat at all or whether she thought she would be on her own, but she wasn't.  There was food at the ready.  It just wasn't what we were used to.

Sometimes it's good to be unpredictable. 

And, speaking of Syd, I'm not sure what was wrong with her, but she was nice and friendly and said please and thank you.  I'm pretty sure it was really her martian substitute and not really her.  I think mostly it was because I didn't ask her to help me paint.  All I needed help with was taking down the mirror and that's all the help I asked for.  The rest of the time I left her to her own, as long as she didn't create a burden for me.  And, she didn't. 

I've been anxious to blog about going to the "sewing with strangers" meeting at guild on Monday.  I went.  And, I'm very glad I did.  There were other men there!  When I went up for my show and tell, I started by saying "I'd like to welcome all the men in attendance tonight.,  I am not alone." and everyone applauded.  It was great! 

When we got there, we signed into the hospitality table and drew a number from a box.  I found my table and dropped my stuff off and was surprised at how many people at the meeting I actually knew.  I know more than the fraction that I said last week.  I don't remember all the names.  I'm terrible at names.  But, I knew the faces and I knew where we knew one another from, so I was able to converse...without using names.  And, I'm pretty sure everyone else was the same.  The event was so popular that they had more people than they had set up tables and had to bring other tables in to accommodate everyone. 

I was at a table of people, most of whom I knew but there were a few unfamiliar faces.  But, I spent most of my time visiting with a man that was there for the first time.  He just showed up for his first meeting, and didn't know what the theme was so didn't bring any hand work.  We spent most of the hour and a half visiting and talking about the quilts we'd made.  He was watching me bind and we talked about how I get such a narrow binding.  He's doing the Bonnie Hunter quilts now, so we laughed about 5000 piece quilts.  And, I shared a story about a mystery of hers I did and how it was ugly so I didn't put the blocks together like Bonnie did and ended up making several Linus quilts out of the sections.  I shared that I have to make quilts in the colors I have in my stash (my favorite colors) rather than trying to match someone else's colors in a mystery quilt.  We laughed a lot and he got the chance to hear the other quilters at the table talk about what they do and enjoy as well. 

On Tuesday, the roofer came.  I'm not real happy with the shingles he used.  "As close as we can match the existing shingles" didn't turn out to be very close.  Like brown is not very close to dark gray.  But, it is what it is.  He was here all day and I couldn't resist the urge to take him out ice water every so often.  The rest of the day, he was on the roof, working in the heat, and I was in the bathroom, working in the cool.  Life ain't fair, is it?

Okay, my hands hurt up to the elbows.  And, I'm not quite sure why I didn't take today off.  There's nothing on my calendar.  But, it will give Rob some time at home alone to re-acclimate.  And, I think I'll try to knock some things out and maybe leave at noon.  Me and my co-worker from my three person team are off this week and my boss has been alone.  I'm hoping that made him appreciate me more. 

Everybody have a great Friday and a great weekend.  I hope to get back to quilting in the morning.  I'm missing it. 



Back and forth

I keep switching between two projects; Simply Delicious, which doesn't have a name and the green quilt, that has a bad name...I've got to do better if it's going to be shown. 

I've been quilting bubbles in the green quilt's outer border, but I need a quilting hand project.  Monday night's guild is bring hand work, get assigned a random table, and get to meet some new people in the guild.  It's a great idea and one I would normally run from like it was on fire.  But, I'm hoping I don't talk myself out of it.  I'd really like to get to meet some more guild members.  I know quite a few, but it's a 500 member guild and about 120 people come to meetings.  And, I know a fraction of them.  So, knowing more members is a good thing for me.  I plan to be hand sewing the binding on Simply Delicious. 

For a short time, I considered adding another border after quilting.  I know...hardly ever done, but do-able.  I've done it.  I thought about adding a narrow dark inner border and then a wider border to finish it off.  But, when the quilting was done and it was laid flat, it didn't need it. 

I got Rob to go out in the back yard with me for pictures last weekend.  It's not been washed and blocked, but most of the blue ink is washed out. 

All that quilting and you can hardly see it, just like I intended. 

But, when it's hung on the wall in the living room, and the lamp shines from below and to the left, all those orange peel curves are going to POP! 

This is the back.  You can't see any quilting there.  The back was in the box I had been keeping the UFO in, neatly folded up.  I've been working on this quilt so long, I thought it came with the kit.  But, I don't think so.  This was a blue and white sheet.  And, when I saw it, I vaguely remembered stumbling up on sheets being sold individually and picking this one up because I thought it would be perfect.  And, I was so right!  I used a pale blue cotton thread on the top and a white thread in the bobbin and got the tension just right so neither shows on the other side. 

I have the binding fabric.  I don't know if it came with the kit or not.  Probably.  But, now I'm off to cut it into strips and sew them back together. 

Everybody have a great Friday!  The weekend is upon us.  I've taken some days off next week to paint the bathroom.  Woo-hoo!  My life is so exciting. 




No, not Bubbles Malone, the famous stripper.  Bubbles in my quilting. 

I know what you're thinking...a very unconventional choice with all those feathers.  But, look two borders above the bubbles at the fabric I used  And, it's in the points below the bubbles, but you can't see it very clearly.  It's sort of bubbles.  I had really been sweating what to do in this border and I was doing some finishing up outlining and looked to my left, and there was that bubble fabric. 

So, I cut a piece of paper the exact size of the borders and I used my Dad's 60ish year old drafting compass to draw circles.  I wanted a variety of sizes and they had to touch one another so that I didn't have starts and stops. 

And, then I needle punched that into four strips of tissue paper that I pinned to the quilt and I quilted along the lines. 


I think it's going to work okay.  We will have to see.  It is an unconventional combination because one implies formality to me (the feathers) and one is whimsical (the bubbles).  There is a wide outer border of that same print and I plan to do the exact same thing out there...except I plan to use bigger bubbles so it doesn't take so long to fill.  From 3" moving down by half inch increments to 1/2" diameter so there is a good variety of size. 

I also caught up on some piecing.  I had this holly block from Have a Jolly Little Christmas  cut and the piecing was started.  So, I finished it up and I made the most recent block, the ribbon wreath. 

The holly is a little abstract for me, but it will be great in the rest of the quilt. 

And, because I don't quite have enough projects going on, I have taken up a new one...needlepoint.  Not that I wanted to learn needlepoint, but I have inherited the most beautiful UFO that needs to be finished.  It's just too pretty not to finish it.  But, I didn't know the first thing about needlepoint, so I decided to learn.  I'm not showing my first project.  Nobody needs to see that.  But, I've started my second project. 

I bought a cheap pre-owned kit off ebay.  That really is the best way to practice, right?  You probly can't see it, but I've finished the house and have moved out into the trees.  I'm trying to master tension.  I'm thinking about watching a video and seeing if I can pick up any tips.  Everything I've tried from the book I have is either too loose or too tight. 
And, this must have come out over the weekend; Paducah winner.  I've been getting a lot of traffic from that.  Thanks so much to KathyS for letting everybody know that not all quilters are women and for mentioning my blog!!!  It is a beautiful quilt and I'm so glad to have been a part of it.  There's a video about it somewhere where the winner of the raffle that entered it in the Paducah show talks about it.  In that video, she mentions me by name.  I'm famous!  Well, sort of. 
Everybody have a great July 3rd.  I have the day off and am headed out to water the flowerpots.  It was too hot yesterday afternoon, when I normally would have watered, so since I had today off, I procrastinated.  Don't tell Syd.  She doesn't need any encouragement or reinforcement about procrastinating.
Later this week, I'll post pics of the Simply Delicious quilt.  It's finished and I've spritzed out the blue marking ink.  Next is attaching the binding.  Woo-hoo!!
BTW, I saw a Simply Delicious kit on ebay a couple days ago.  If you wanted to make that quilt, you might check it out.  I just checked and its still there.  And, there are a few random blocks, too. 
A finish.


Random thoughts on Thursday

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.  92* feels like 101*.  What's up with that???

Rob and I go to a sandwich shop where you fill out your order on one side of a brown bag.  They hang the bag on a line and it moves down the line as they build the sandwich.  When it's done, they wrap it and stuff it into the bag.  It's fun to draw something on your bag so you can keep track of it as it works its way down the line.  The last time we were there, Rob and I were standing with our backs to one another as we filled out our bags.  This is what we drew on the backs of our bags. 

If you're psychically linked to your spouse or partner, clap your hands!

Clap, clap!

Yesterday, I worked from home so a roofer could come give us an estimate on a  repair.  We have an 18" square where water has gotten under the shingles and damaged the underlayer.  I guessed between one exorbitant and ridiculously high number and another.  It came in at the lower of those exorbitant and ridiculously high numbers. 

Rob took the dogs to the veterinarian yesterday for their annual shots.  The bill was half of the cost of the exorbitant and ridiculously high repair on the roof.  Maybe I should just staple a dog over the leak.

Not really.

But, maybe.

Independence Day weekend is nearly here.  I have a four day weekend.  And, it's going to feel like 104*.  I should take all my time off in the winter and work all summer, in an office where I don't pay for the air conditioning.

I'm taking out a flower bed of Aspidistra, commonly known as cast iron plant.  It's very popular here because it's dang near invasive and thrives in drought and poor soil.  I dig up a section about 2'x3' and put the bare root plants in a box and put them out on the street with a sign that says free and tells a little about the plant, and asks the person to leave the sign when they take the plants.  Both boxes have been gone within a few hours.  I love sharing like that. 

We've started to see purple leaf cannas in the neighborhood.  They must have come from us.  I've never seen them anywhere else.  Plants we shared just like this that have sprouted up everywhere.

We don't tell folks this stuff is nearly invasive. 

Surely they realize that's why we're giving it away. 

When I saw both my doctors in May, they both commented on the fact I had gained 10# in a year.  And, 10 more the year before that.  They both said the same thing...don't do it again.  The first 10 was muscle from walking and working out.  But, I stopped doing that a little before the election...too much depression to exercise.  The last 10# was not muscle and was all in one place.  I was eating three big meals a day and three snacks.  And, holding my breath to button my pants.  All I changed was walking a bit more...not like I was before, and not eating the snacks.  And, I've lost 6#.  My only treat is a small handful of nuts in the afternoon.  And, maybe one small cookie before bed.  It's working. 

Everybody have a great Thursday!  Yesterday was busy as all heck.  Today promises more of the same.  Tomorrow, too.  Then four days off!  Woo-hoo!



Nine of Twelve

It was a very quiet quilting weekend here.  That was what I needed after last week.  On Saturday, it was miserably hot and the humidity was high and I stayed inside.  It rained in the afternoon and cooled off some and we went on a thread run and to dinner.  But, other than quilting supplies, there was just no point in going out in that.  I quilted.  A lot.  I enjoyed some really nice working in the yard time yesterday morning and late yesterday afternoon, just cleaning things up and watering.  Summer work.   
I ended up doing the background in 9 of the 12 blocks of the Simply Delicious quilt.  I've been trying to come up with a name and the best I've got so far is Nothing Simple About It.  But, it's not sticking to me like the really good names do. 

I liked the background filler in one block.  But, I'm loving it as a common theme in all the blocks.  I love the texture it's giving the quilt.  And, when you look full on at it, the quilting disappears.  It's only with side lighting and shadow that the quilting really shows. 

It's our 1st second anniversary today.  Two years ago, the Supreme Court announced it's decision and unplanned, we took the afternoon off and went to the county registrar's office and got married.  A marriage with some restrictions, but officially married.  And, a week later, we were fully married in a group ceremony at the state capital.  Not to get too political, but we're still married.  And, the world has not come to a fiery ending, much to the disappointment of so many people.  Now, if we can just stay married. 

I know I have the right man because of a look he gives me when I've just done or said something awful that says it will all be okay in a few minutes.  And, he can wait it out.  That look has caused me to do and say fewer awful somethings. 

Everybody have a wonderful Monday!  It's a new week.  Anything could happen. 



Cowboy quilt

I made this quilt long ago for Rob.  Before I was even keeping good records, and I can't find a picture of it so we don't know quite when.  And, yes, it is extra long.  He asked for that.

Remember that we met c/w dancing and we had the attire for it, so a cowboy quilt was a perfect choice.  And, I had inherited a large stack of cowboy fabric from my mentor, so I had the reason and the resource. 

I found cowboy themed patterns.  And, stars work in a cowboy themed quilt, of course.  When I couldn't find a pattern, I drafted one. 

The boot above was one I drafted, the more traditionally shaped one below came from the internet.  We wore the style of boots above. 

I did a lot of what I think is called broderie perse style applique where I cut an image from one fabric and set it on a different background.  There are at least three blocks in this quilt where I did that, except I used fusible web instead of needle turn. 

And, the perfect backing was this cowboy sketch.  This was way before I started all the background filler, and it was designed to cuddle up with on a cold day for a nap, so it's loose and comfy. 

Mornings before work, I've been quilting the background of the Simply Delicious quilt and finished a block.  I've started drawing the lines on the next block.  It's not the fastest background filler I've ever done.  But, it's surely not the slowest either.  I'd like to get back to the green quilt, but I can't stop on this one yet.  I'm still excited by it.  I figure I'll get bored soon and it will be easy to move to a different project. 

And, I know how quilters are.  What does it look like from the back???

and a lighter picture.  I really do have lights.  But, background filler doesn't show well in the light.  It takes shadow. 

This week has been crazy.  I work in insurance and tropical storm Cindy put us all in a tizzy of gut reaction versus meteorological prediction...and which one is right more often.  And, when they all settled down and realized it was 50/50 and let themselves off the hook and let our best be good enough, the week got easier.  Rob had a huge project at work too, so he and I have both been focused on our own jobs, but still finding time together to talk and share.  I think we're both looking forward to the weekend and being focused on ourselves. 

And, frankly, I'm tired of smiling and telling people it's gonna be okay. 

Everybody have a great weekend!!  Stay cool, stay dry, stay safe. 

Stay calm.



Another weekend in paradise

Oh, my it is hot outside.  99-103*.  Nice nights.  But, hot days.  I spent some early time, like 6:30-9:30 out in the garden.  And, it was nice.  But, then I came in and sat still for a while.  Of course, even when it's a hundred all around, it's never that hot in my back garden.  I went out at 5pm to water yesterday afternoon and it was pleasant.  Of course, I wasn't doing much but standing there with the hose, but it was pleasant. 

We took our friend LD out for lunch yesterday.  That was nice.  It's always good to see her and we go to a cafĂ© that specializes in comfort food, so you know we enjoyed it.  Even Sydney went with us.  I was knitting in the car on the drive home and dozed off midway through a purl stitch.  I woke up with a start.  It was hot and I was tired.  And, that's all the excuse I have. 

I pulled out my applique needle on Saturday and fixed all the spots in Simply Delicious that needed help and even fixed Rob's cowboy quilt and then I did some background quilting.  I finished all the outlining and then started to mark.  And, I was right the other day, it is fast and I do enjoy it.  For now anyway. 

I got bored with all my hand work, so had actually started to lounge and watch TV in the evenings.  No more of that.  I wouldn't let myself start anything til I finished something (I had three projects stacked on the end table that I was avoiding, but don't tell anybody).  So, I knuckled under and finished the scarf that I started in January.  Course, it never got cold enough here to need a scarf.  It goes really good with that green coat I made myself a couple years ago. 

And, to show you how close I was on that one and on this one, I also finished a sock.  Granted, it's just one sock and one sock isn't much good.  But, I finished it. 

Imagine some evil doctor in a spy movie, heels of my hand pressed together, tapping my fingertips together in front of a devious grin as I try to figure out what to start next.  Because what the heck, don't I just need another project? 

That was not actually a question.  Of course, I do.

It keeps me out of the nuthouse.

I did something stupid this weekend.  So, I'll tell everybody, right?  I spilled coffee in the sewing room.  I bumped it with my hand and it toppled to the floor.  And, I thought I'll just bring in the steam cleaner and clean that up lickety split.  NOT!  That just made it bigger.  So, I thought I must have done something wrong and I brought in the steam cleaner again.  And, it got bigger!!!  I ended up pouring water on the stain and then blotting it out with towels.  Which is what I should have done in the first place.  And, thank goodness, it came out and dried.  But, I was worried about it a little bit. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  My boss is back from his week of vacation.  Darn it.  We'll have a fun couple of days bringing him up to speed because a lot happened last week. 

More than would have happened if he had been there.