They call her Sydney-rella

Okay, don't really call her that cuz she hates it, so I only use it when I ask her to help and she's a butthead about it. And, she's certainly NOT being a butthead today. She's pitched in and is working like a trooper like the rest of us.

We decided to clean carpets today and oil all the furniture in the living and dining room. I ran to get the oil changed in the car and they emptied the rooms, then we vaccumed and steam cleaned. It's a gorgeous sunny low humidity day today so the carpet should dry quick. Okay, that's the end of my break. Have a great day. Lane


Finally Friday and a new book

Well, it's finally Friday and I've taken a half day for mental health, just to be alone and sew. I ran all my errands and am back home. Now what??? Not sure I know what to do by myself. I can sew or read or nap or watch TV.

In yesterday's mail, I got my copy of Bonnie Hunter's Leaders and Enders book. It's left me inspired to stop what I'm working on and start working on the LE quilt I've been working on for a year. And, sure enough, there's a picture of the quilt I'm making. The Triple Irish Chain on page 85 named Happily Scrappily Irish. But, I'm going to be good and keep working on quilting the log cabin. Can't wait to show it off. Maybe next week. I'm hoping to make significant progress this weekend.

Okay, so my NY resolution update.

Lose 15 pounds - and this week, I didn't lose any weight. But, I'm still trying. And, I'm down 5 pounds total so far this year. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Spend more time with the family - done, done and DONE! And, today I'm spending some time alone. Nuff said.

Finish projects - the log cabin is proceeding nicely, 5 of 11 blocks quilted (yes, an 11 block square quilt. intrigued?). And, this weekend, I need to start something new, but I have a really good excuse. I need to make a baby quilt. Not due until April, but I hate to be rushed, so I'll start now and piece a little along until it's done. No progress on Sydney's bed skirt except that I now have a pattern. Found it in a very old sewing book. Does planning count as part of producing?

Okay, I'm off to the sewing machine. I have good TV and 2 hours. See ya! Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday!

Welcome back to VTT sponsored by my friend Suzanne (Coloradolady) who is having computer problems this week, poor thing.

Anyway, we went antiquing last weekend and I have posts to last several weeks just from what we picked up. So, taking it slow, here's my favorite purchase. This is the Battleship game I grew up with. Sydney's attitude was "big deal. it's not even electronic". When asked what was so great about the electronic version? "it makes sounds". Probably much like the sounds she was making when she was trouncing me at my own game on Saturday night. But, it turned out she could see my board in the mirror, so I'm still feeling pretty superior because I sank a few of her ships blind. Even the box is in good shape. It had a piece of masking tape that ran across the top and I managed to peel that off without taking any of the print. Notice how much the Mom and Dad on the box look like Dick and Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke show. At $4 and with all the pieces inside and the box in good shape, this was a real bargain.

Now, this next pic is my most embarassing purchase in a long time. I've needed a new fan to sit in the sewing room door and pull air from the rest of the house for a long time. We've looked at a lot of vintage fans and this one was by far the most expensive we'd seen. But, it looked in immaculate shape with just a little dust around the fan blades. Where most vintage fans have a blade cage that has big holes that a pet can stick a paw in, this one has a very tight wire cage and I saw that as a definite plus. Because it looked so good and the price was so high, we assumed it worked fine and didn't plug it in at the store. (that word you're thinking right now is spelled I-D-I-O-T) When we plugged it in, it made a horrible noise and wouldn't oscillate. It clicked and ground and buzzed and I almost cried because I'd paid $30 for it on 30% off sale. The store was a long drive from home, so on Sunday, when I was taking my sewing machines apart and cleaning and oiling them, I took this little jewel apart as well, found all the rattles and gave it a good oiling, tightened everything up and cleaned the oscillating mechanism and guess what? It runs like a charm now. I even got the last little bit of oily gunk off the fan blades and turned the S on the cage upright (S is for Superior Electric Products) So far, I've been able to find out that the fan is was made before 1969 because the company was sold in 1968 and changed names. I've been able to find a few of these on the internet for sale and looks like they're going for about $65 including shipping, so I feel better about the price I paid, especially now that I know the motor is sound. The model number is 1074. And, I love that turquoise color. Goes great with the vintage things I've been buying for my sewing room.

Take care and have a great day. If you haven't cruised over to Suzanne's to see her black bears, you should check them out and from there you can link to all the other vintage items that her followers are showing.



We got straight A's!

But only Sydney got a certificate. Something's wrong with that. Even the teacher that checked us in asked if Rob and I also got straight A's. We answered with certainty that we did. Those A's represent an average of 2 hours of homework every night. Rob is helping with language arts (english), spelling and science which lets me focus on math and new ways to show her the connections that make math easier.

(Boy, am I glad I made her change her shirt. Course, we had to go through two unacceptables before we got to one I'm not ashamed to show you a picture of.)

So, through the frustration and the arguing (yes, she is willing to argue that every math answer is right, so I have to prove they are not) she ended up on stage with a huge group of other 6th graders receiving awards for perfect attendance, A/B honor roll, and all A's honor roll. Not many 7th and 8th graders showed up to get their awards. I guess by that age they're too cool to go on stage and receive a certificate.
They also had performances of the cheerleaders and two of the four steel drum bands. The cheerleaders were good, but were pretty loud in the school theater. The steel drum bands were FANTASTIC! Who'd have thought two old men would have gotten so into steel drum music, but we really enjoyed it. The two bands we saw are large groups of kids. I'm surprised they found that many kids willing to play the steel drums on stage.
Okay, so that's all our good news for the day. I've been quilting that log cabin in 30 minute chunks and can't wait until the weekend when I can sit and sew till my heart is content. Too bad I can't multi-task math homework and quilting. But alas, I can only focus on one of those things at a time.
Take care and have a great Wednesday! Lane


My perfect Needle case

Wow, we made a VERY busy weekend. On Saturday, we got up and decided to go antiquing after therapy. We went to some of my favorite places for bargains, little towns that are off the beaten track. We got a lot of stuff for future VTT posts and didn't spend much money, which is always a good thing and I got some really nice hand quilting done on the drive. Then, Sunday afternoon, I spent about 6 hours oiling and cleaning my machines. I got to everything except the Serger. That meant taking them apart, oiling, cleaning under the needle plate, cleaning the tension disks, adjusting the tension and a new needle (my fingers are sore today!) And, I took a few minutes to practice on the treadle. I'm still working to be able to hold the needle in a stopped position without the weight of the treadle making an extra stitch and getting it to start with the wheel turning in the right direction, but I'm getting better. Hopefully I'll be able to make a quilt on it someday soon. And, I finished the evening burning music for my MP3 player. I had to replace my laptop a few months back and that meant starting over and making a new playlist of favorites. I lost the old playlist trying to transfer it back to the laptop, which frustrated me, but then I got a good start and was on my way. If you're a Glee fan like we are, I strongly recommend the two CD set of their songs. It's soooo worth it to get to hear those great songs again.

But, I wanted to share my needle case with you. First, you need to know that I've been in search of the perfect needle case for a while. I do a lot of hand work in the truck while Rob drives. It keeps me from making comments about safety, which is another good thing. I looked at professionally made needle cases and antique needle cases and I made needle cases, but I could never find the right one. Then, we were at an estate sale and there was a "free" box and this little ladies wallet was in it. Something said take it...you'll find a use for it.

First, I cut out the plastic cover for the drivers license and replaced it with an old credit card covered in two layers of batting and a pretty fabric. I bought a pair of inexpensive stork scissors that fit perfectly in one of the credit card slots and my leather thimbles flatten and fit in another. It will fit a bobbin of thread or I can wind enough thread on a piece of cardboard to get me through as much sewing as I can do in one ride and I bought some tiny plastic spools this weekend at an antique store that are about a half inch tall and wide that should fit perfectly into the fold with the help of some elastic to be added later. Next I'll be looking out for one of these that's maybe leather? But, it has to be cheap! BTW, that's that log cabin quilt that I started quilting this weekend in the background. I only got to two blocks, but they're looking great!

And, this is us with our faces washed on the way to the dinner Friday night. I think you can tell that we really don't like to spend time away from the kiddo. We look so sad about leaving, don't we?

Well? Don't we?

Y'all have a great Monday. I'll be earning the daily bread and dreaming I was quilting, especially now that all my machines are running near silent. Lane


Making my own stencils

So, I've decided to make my own stencils. I saw someone do it on TV or in a magazine article and am just sure I can do it too. The person I saw do it used a simple U-shaped wood carving tool to cut the plastic along the lines she drew. That was a couple years ago. If I'd looked online for updated instructions, I'd have found that Olfa makes a stencil cutter now with replaceable blades that's pretty cheap. I'd have probably ended up with that, but instead, I took the family to Hobby Lobby to look for wood carving tools. I found exactly the tool I was looking for, but above it was this electric carving kit and after a long discussion in the store, Rob talked me into buying it. Okay, please don't tell him, but he was right. It's like a soldering iron, but with lots of fancy tips.

I gave it a try this morning. My first stencil is going to be the spine of the feathers I'm putting on that log cabin quilt I blogged about last Friday. I've got the back and the batting cut and am ready to pin baste it tomorrow morning, bright and early. If I'm going to use a stencil, I'm going to need it quick to satisfy my manic need to get working on a quilt. If the feathers here go like the last two sets of feathers I've made, I should have this quilt finished lickety-split.

In researching how to cut stencils, I learned that the thinner template plastic is easiest to cut, but tends to warp from the heat of the tool. This thicker sheet that I had on hand worked perfectly, tho. You can see my doodles where I drew a line with an extra find sharpie and then cut it out. I tried almost every tool that came in the kit before I found the combination of tools that worked best. First, I used the blunt tip tool that looks like a little piece of copper to the left of the black iron unit. That gave me a good first pass in the plastic and was very easy to control, much like writing with a pencil. But, because the tip is slightly rounded, the first pass was like a rounded trench instead of a perfect cut. The actual cut through the plastic was only the width of a hair and not thick enough for a pencil lead. So, I took the hot craft knife blade and ran along the edges to clean it up and I came up with a perfectly smooth cut and the original trench shaped cut gave a boundary that kept the hot knife from slipping. I'm looking forward to getting more plastic this afternoon and making the real template tomorrow and am feeling really confident that I can make just about any shape stencil I want.

NYresolution update...

Spend more time with the family - Okay, I spent time with them, but they probably wish I hadn't. I was in the most foul mood all week and am not sure why. Maybe it's because there were no behavior events and I could afford to be in a bad mood because there was nothing to really be in a bad mood about. So, I stomped around with a frown on my face and did my best to keep my mouth shut.

Work on unfinished projects - This quilt I'm getting ready to start is an unfinished project. And, I'm working on an afghan to donate to project Linus that I started...oh, two years ago???

Lose 15 pounds - Okay, I'm down a total of 5. And, really hoping that's not what contributed to my foul mood. It was extremely hard to be in a bad mood and not turn to food for comfort. But, I did it. If I can keep that up, the next 5 pounds should be a breeze. The 5 after that are basically vanity pounds and from what I hear, they're gonna be heck to lose. Good thing I didn't give myself a time limit :-).

Take care and have a great Friday. My work team end of year event is tonight and Rob and I are gonna pull out our cowboy clothes and have dinner with all my co-workers and their significant others. No kids allowed (whoohooo! we do not spend enough time kidless).


Vintage Thingies Thursday - Hall coffe and teapots

Hello and welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady.

Today I'm featuring my Hall coffee pot and teapot collection. This is one of those collections that just happened. I found a custard cup and bought it, then I found a teapot and more and more and more until I ended up with this collection. There's more. I use two of the custard cups as salt and pepper holders on my stove so I can just reach in and take out a pinch while I'm cooking. We also use them when each of us wants a different kind of tea. The set goes well with two sets of dishes we have, so when we use those for dinner parties, I serve coffee in the coffeepot because I don't have the pots that matche the sets of dishes.

This was all restaurant ware and it is sturdy and heavy. It is very resistant to chipping and breakage. And, it's common as leaves down here at any antique store. I love the way the outside is so dark and the inside is white. Next time you're at an antique store and see one of these, think of me!
Now, cruise on over to Suzanne's blog to check out her figurines.
Take care and have a great VTT. Lane


I got a squishy

And, it could not have come on a better day. As my Papaw used to say, I was lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut. And, when I got home, there was a squishy from Day Style Designs! The stuff I ordered on Friday (and got free shipping on) was delivered on Tuesday! Way to go, Leah Day!

Anyway, I ordered the three item special. I got the Supreme Slider, Magic Genie Bobbin Washers and a pair of extra large quilting gloves.

The supreme slider is rubber on one side and sticky...believe me, it stuck to everything that I got it close to this morning, from fabric to plastic to paper. The other side is teflon. We have such humid weather in Texas and I've found that I have to grip the quilt in my right fist so I can pull, and can only use my left hand flat on the quilt for control. On the cold days we had this year, it was very dry and I found I could lay both hands flat on the quilt and had much more control. I'll give a review after I've used it, but we really won't know if it does what I hope until quilting season starts about mid-July (when it gets too hot and humid to go outside).

I got the bobbin washers because it seems that when I'm quilting at a consistent speed and the bobbin is just spinning along and then I slow down, it takes the bobbin an extra second to slow down and I sometimes get a little birdsnest on the back of my quilt. I'm hoping that this thin plastic washer that goes between the bobbin and the bobbin case will regulate the speed at which the bobbin spins just a little bit more and eliminate that.

And, I got the gloves because the only ones I've found have been made for tiny hands. I wear the extra large F/P gloves and still get cramps across my hands until I can get them good and stretched out, which point, the seams start to give out :-(. These extra large gloves are man-sized and fit me perfectly.

That fabric you see in the background didn't come in the squishy. It's the back for the log cabin quilt that I blogged about last Friday. It was spread across the ironing board. I bought it before I knew about John Flynn's method of piecing a quilt back on the diagonal, so I bought twice as much as I needed. I've been ironing and ironing...it feels like I've ironed a mile.
Take care and have a great Wednesday. We're half way to a quilting weekend. Lane


Change is good!

I had a heck of a long list of stuff to do this weekend and I got to all but one thing. Oh, well. Maybe next weekend???

One of the things I got done was to get stuff rearranged on our mantle. What was up there before was very symmetrical and balanced and had been that way for years and I needed something different. I started two weeks before cmas when I found a picture in a magazine of a mantle I loved. That got me started dropping hints. And, I dropped hints until the floor was littered with them. And, I finally got Rob to try this arrangment out. Once he got started and had the picture, he went to town and I think it looks terrific.

And, I finally finished the curtains for Sydney's room. First, here are the quilt and the shams on the bed. The only thing left for me to make in there is a new bed skirt.

And, here are the curtains and valance. Had a hard time convincing them to hang the valance at the ceiling, but there were sooo many reasons, including a big crack in the wall that the valance now covers up. We took her to JoAnn's on Saturday to pick out purple beaded trim to go along the edge of the valance and the ties, but the little rat had changed her mind again and picked blue. When I reminded her that she was the one upset that there was no purple, she gave me a really sheepish smile and said she really liked this better.

While I had the side hems out to add the extra fabric to the top and bottom, I decided to line them, not knowing that was going to double the time they took to finish, but it was worth it. They look better and they block almost all the light so she can sleep late on weekends (and I can quilt uninterrupted).

While we were at JoAnn's, we used a coupon and I bought 10 yards of 104" wide batting. That should do me for a year. I estimate that it will make 10 or more wall hangings and there just wasn't a reason not to get it...well, until I got it home and remembered I had to store it. Fortunately, they gave me a cardboard roll and Rob and Sydney put it in a really large plastic bag and it has found a place in the garage. Hope I don't forget it's there!

Take care and have a great Monday. Now that those curtains are done, I'm ready to pin baste one of those quilts I posted on Friday. Anybody wanna guess which one got the most votes? You'll have to go check it out. And, if you didn't vote, go ahead. My mind can still be changed.



Quilt labels.

Hmmm. How should I think of this? Either I keep getting sidetracked and am not getting anywhere or my progress is slow because I'm doing such good work.

I was going to just use an off white tone on tone for my labels. But, yesterday, I stumbled up on the labels at http://www.quilterscache.com/Q/QuiltLabels.html and I fell in love with one. I'm using number 16, the log cabin block. I did copy her picture and take it to word and resize it so I could get 4 per page, but that's because I'm cheap and I spent too much time working to prep the fabric to throw away a half page.

I use bubble jet set for the fabric and I got it from Dharma Trading Company, where I found the lowest price, but when you see how expensive it is, you'll know why I wouldn't waste a half page. The only suggestion I can add to their instructions is to put a piece of masking tape along the top edge of the page before feeding it into the printer. My printer tended to peel the fabric off of the freezer paper it is ironed to and the piece of masking tape solved that. And, what isn't absorbed into the fabric can be poured back into the bottle. My bottles have made at least thirty 8 1/2x11 sheets and are still half full.

Okay, well, our list of chores is long, so I guess I better stop playing and get busy doing something. Have a great weekend. Lane

Post script:
Tee-hee. Finished my first one.

For this quilt

And, thanks to a blog friend who challenged me to learn how to use the zoom on my camera so the label picture isn't blurry. lw


Power to the People!!

One of my NY resolutions was to finish projects. I've just about got the last sleeve on the living room quilts and have the finish dates on them so I can make labels and get them on. But, what am I going to work on next??? I haven't been able to decide. It's between these two tops.

First is a modified log cabin quilt. I have a great half-feather quilting plan for it. The "fronds" will only be on one side of the stem, but because the stem will curve, the fronds will alternate sides of the stem to fill in the space. The stems will follow the square shape of the strips.

Or, it will be this storm at sea quilt. This is mostly a brown and green quilt, not the traditional blue and white of a storm at sea quilt. One of the brown fabrics has touches of yellow, blue and pink, so I added blocks in those colors to keep the eye moving. It isn't assembled, so I'll probably move some blocks around to spread the brights a little more evenly. Here's the inspiration for how I plan to quilt it. My blocks are a little smaller, so I might not be able to include all the details this quilter did, but, mine will be close. (pay no attention to the knucklehead with the crazy smile in this picture. She is a camera hog)
So, what do you guys think? Which one do you think I should tackle next?

My other resolutions? They're progressing nicely. I didn't lose any weight this week, but I did move enough belly around to get me into another pair of jeans, and I'm calling that a win. I can see where the weight went...my upper arms and shoulders look FANTASTIC!
And, for spending more time with the family and out of the sewing room, between helping with homework and supper and sitting in the family room hand sewing, the only alone time I'm getting is washing dishes and there's something VERY WRONG with that. But, it is what it is, I guess and I don't really mind washing dishes. After all these labels are done, I'm going to try to finish an afghan that I started last year for Project Linus, so there's another family room project already lined up.
Next stop today? I'm headed over to Leah Day's blog. She's running a big sale on the tools she uses to get that fabulous quilting - and there's free shipping this weekend! You know, da man loves his tools, right?
Take care and have a great day. It's friday and we're having a quick supper so I can participate in the Friday night sew along. Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday

Good morning and welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday, sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady. Today, I'm featuring some items that are a follow-up from yesterday's post. Yesterday I talked about my Grandmother, who we all called Nanny, and one night I spent at her house. Today, I'm following that with a couple of vintage items that came from her house.

My Mom gave me the little vase a couple of years ago. I don't remember it from my grandparent's house, but was very glad to receive it. The horse is a very fragile little statue that says Texas in the green area between the legs. It always sat in her barrister bookcase along with a wonderful collection of old books. My parents got the book case, but I don't know what happened to the collection of Charles Dickens books. I can remember sitting on their back porch and reading those books. And, that's where I borrowed a copy of Ivanhoe that I used for a book report in middle school. Now, these things sit in my bookcase, along with a picture of Nanny that I've had for a very long time. I cut it to fit a small oval frame, but I saved the corners in case I ever wanted to have the picture copied. That small frame broke and the closest I could find to replace it was this much larger and gaudier frame, but hey, the picture fit perfectly!

Take care and have a great Thursday. Pop on over to Suzanne's blog and check out her glass towel rods and follow the links to all the other great vintage items people have posted.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Lane


Waxing nostalgic

Not sure what's got me thinking about the past this morning. Maybe it's redecorating Sydney's room (I remember when my Mom did my sister's room when my sister was about the same age). Or maybe it was thinking about my history with dogs yesterday, all the dogs and cats and fish I've had. Or, maybe it was because someone brought me an old picture that was taken at the office about 10 years ago. Or, maybe it's just making these curtains. Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn't quilt and my sewing was limited to home decorating.

There was not a time when I didn't love quilts, tho.

I can remember when I was about Sydney's age. I used to spend consderable time helping my grandparents work in their large garden, which was not in town. It was out in the country where my great grandmother lived; the same great grandmother that made so many quilts. In order to get a really early start, I spent the night at my grandparent's house. I can still remember the feel of the stiff pink cotton sheets that felt much like the fabric I quilt with today after I've starched and ironed the heck out of it. We watched Hee-Haw and went to bed early so we could be up early the next day. While I was taking a bath, Nanny, my grandmother, folded the sheets back on the guest bed so I could just slip into them. The bed was old and very firm. The sheets smelled of the outside and sunshine and being line dried. The shades were all pulled down on the huge windows and the room was cool and dark. At some point, a train went by on the tracks down the street. And, I slept a peaceful sleep until before dawn when they woke me to the smell of a large and full country breakfast. There were eggs and old fashioned thick sliced bacon (remember bacon when there was more meat than fat?) and home made biscuits and cold milk.

We dressed and were on the road before the sun came up and I fell asleep in the back seat of their car. It was a 40's model Oldsmobile, turquiose and white, huge and round. I woke up when we got to my great grandmother's place and the sun was up and we hit the ground working. I can't remember what we were doing that day, but as always when we went there, the work was hard and rewarding and it was peaceful and quiet, the kind of quiet that we don't get in the city.

Just one night, undoubtedly fantasized way beyond what it was really like, but how wonderful it is to have such a peaceful memory. What will Sydney's peaceful memories be about?

Okay, enough thinking about the past. Now, it's time to work out because we don't work in the fields anymore to avoid excess weight. Then, to a job that is stressful and loud. And, back to homework and food that has been chemically treated until it lacks flavor. And sheets that don't smell like anything but are wrinkle free because of the man made fibers that have been added to the cotton.


Take care and have a great Wednesday. I'll be trying to pull myself into the present. But it's going to be hard to let go of that memory; like a dream that you remember after waking.



Somebody messed up...

Now, nothing would make me happier than to say that it was the person that cut me 2 1/4 yards of the curtain fabric instead of 2 1/2 yards, but I'm just not all that sure. I think I asked for 2 1/2 yards. I hope so. But, when I held it up this morning, I realized I didn't get 2 1/2 yards. I'm short by exactly 1/4 yard. Crud, CRUD, K-RUD! Now, it's back to get another 1/3 yard, launder it and cut it into strips that can be sewn to the top and bottom of both curtain panels to give me the length I need. At least what I have is long enough that what I add will be folded to the back and no one but you and I will ever know it's there.

Got a couple of questions yesterday about my Willy dog. Both our dogs are Llasa Apsos. Like all our animals, they were dogs that no one wanted. A friend of mine died about 10 years ago and he had these two little dogs that were going to end up tied to a tree in S. Texas if someone didn't do something. And, with all that long hair, they wouldn't have lasted long in the heat. I took them and they have added much joy to my life. Both dogs had been abused some and it affected one more than the other.

Willy is a show quality dog and when he was younger, he had all the attitude that goes with great beauty. But, he'd gotten kind of mean. He bit and if you touched him, he'd bear his teeth and growl. So, we left him alone. I can still remember the first time he crawled in my lap. I was sitting in the floor, playing ball with another dog I had at the time. I'd had the Llasa's for about 6 months and just about my only interaction with Willy had been to feed and bathe him. Then, that day, he just crawled into my lap and we've had a great relationship ever since. So long as I leave him alone and let him give affection when and how he wants to, we get along fine. But, he and Rob bonded and became great friends.

Kenny is a black and white and he looks more like a pickinese (sp?). Kenny will always be a puppy. He still does puppy things and will lick and love as long as any person will sit still. He's been my favorite friend for many years.

Now, the dogs are about 17 years old. Both are practically blind and are deaf enough to be able to fake complete deafness when we try to give any command. It's sad to watch them wander around looking for their destination, moving to the left until they smell something familiar and then to the right until they smell something familiar, slowly progressing toward their destination based solely on their remaining sense, that of smell, which allows them to find any and every treat that falls to the floor while we're cooking. They have arthritis and skin troubles and take a lot of extra care and mostly they sleep. But, every day they still give us tail wags and they can still get up and down the steps on the porch to do their business outside. They're still little lover dogs and we'll keep getting the every little bit of love we can from them until it's time to say good bye.

Then, we'll start thinking about a puppy? Isn't that the way it goes?

Take care and have a great day. If you have a dog, give them a good belly rub from us. Lane


Brrrrr! Quilting weather.

Well, I spent the weekend diligently sewing sleeves on quilts. I have the last one made and can start attaching it tonight. I know, you really can't see them, right? That's exactly what I intended. These are quilts that hang in the living room and after the sleeves are attached, we'll wash and block them all before hanging them again. Right now, we've still got that cmas quilt up. Hey, it took so long to make it, we might as well get to enjoy it, right?
And, I got Sydney's shams finished. Here they are drying and blocking. I'll take a pic when we get the pillows in them and get them on her bed. They look terrific! We took a sneak peek before the wash. The curtains and valance are cut and the sides are hemmed. Of course, they're going really fast.
And, this is our little dustmop who will lay on anything we put on the floor. This time it was a quilt I was trying to pin the sleeve to. If only he'd do something this cute after he'd been brushed.
Okay, that's going to do it for today. It was a full weekend. Too cold to get out. We had a frozen water pipe on Saturday morning when we woke up, but it thawed without a rupture. Temps in the teens at night and not much warmer in the days. Thank goodness, that seems to be passed and we'll be above freezing for the rest of the week.
We made great progress with the therapist on Saturday. I promise that we've been taking your advice. We are picking our battles and tempering those selections with the fact that she is a straight A student. We're focused on two really bad behaviors that break the law, but are carry overs from her past. Our consequences are original and fit the situation and are intended to build a bond within our family as much as to punish for the offense...things like the 5 foot rule where she isn't allowed to get more than 5 feet away from a parent, except to take a shower. Sounds horrible but after a few days of that close monitoring, she's always ready to get back to normal, which for a teen is pretending that we aren't a constant source of embarassment.
Only time will tell how successful we are. But, in the spirit of also taking care of myself, I been quilting as much as I can. I've just been watching Eleanor Burns try to alter the grandmother's flower garden pattern to make it a one day quilt. I'm not sure you're supposed to be able to make that quilt in a day. Isn't the process as important as the finished product?
Take care and have a great Monday. I'm helping train a new co-worker starting today. It's always nice to see the old job through a new person's eyes and I never fail to learn some new and easier way of doing things by sharing what I know and then listening to how they interpret that.


Resolution update

So, I'm thinking that Friday is a good day to review my resolutions. It's the last day of the work week and the schedule gets kind of wonky on the weekends

1. Lose 15 pounds. Down 2 pounds in the first week. Doesn't sound like a lot, but since I'm also working out, I'm moving weight around so the weight tends to come off slowly while the belly comes off pretty fast. And, that's a good thing because I was down to two pair of jeans that would button on New Year's eve.

2. Finish unfinished projects. I am ashamed of how many unfinished projects there were, including things that were finished enough to be in use. I started with the quilts that go on the living room walls. I had never put sleeves or labels on them. I've made three sleeves and gotten one on the quilt. Course, I had to put that one on twice, and think I should get credit for two. The instructions I was using for the sleeves would be perfect for the substantial dowels they use in quilt shows, but on my pencil thin rods, the sleeve stuck up an inch above the quilt. So, off it came and back on, better. I've also just about finished Sydney's pillow shams. Everything after that for her room should go pretty quickly until I get to the bedskirt.

3. Spend more time with the family. We're back full speed on math homework, so while I get dinner ready every night, Sydney practices her critical thinking on math problems. There's been quite a bit of playing while we do that, and last night I had to explain that even though we were playing, we were still learning, so don't take it too far. After dishes, instead of going into the sewing room, I'm in the living room handsewing sleeves on quilts.

We're still having trouble with trust and rules. Something has got to break because we thought we'd gotten through to her over the holidays, but I discovered this morning that we still haven't. I don't know if this child will ever be trustworthy. So, we're faced with the dilemma of total crackdown such that there is no opportunity to get away with anything, or just letting it slide. It's so hard for us to know where to draw the line. I mean, for cryin' out loud she's only 12. If we can't trust her now, what will we do when she's 16?????

And, it's so unfair. She gets caught doing something and gets consequence, then uses the fact that we gave her consequences as an excuse for lying about whatever else she's up to. This would have been so much easier if we'd had her since birth.

Rule breaking, consequences, crying, anger; that's how I gained so much weight in the first place and it's why I was spending so much time in the sewing room. Those two resolutions are going to be harder to keep than I thought.

Have a great Friday. I have a pile of work that is as frightful as the weather outside. But, next on the todo list is to spend $45k of the company's money. Spending money always makes me happy.



Vintage Thingies Thursday - pitcher

Hi, all and welcome to my Vintage Thingies Thursday post. VTT is sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady.

Today, I'm featuring this great white hobnail milk glass pitcher. This is definitely vintage. It was a wedding gift from my paternal grandmother to my parents. My Mom gave it to me a couple years ago. I love this pitcher and remember many a glass of iced tea being poured out of it. I can remember it sat in our fridge when I was a kid with one of those plastic shower cap thingies on it.

The background for the picture is one of Sydney's quilted pillow shams in progress. She's letting me proceed with the blue and I'll be loaning her my purple quilt to hang in her room and we'll be adding some purple accessories, which was in the plan all along. Her walls are a light lavender color and it's going to be great, I just need the chance to finish with the background before we can start to layer other colors on top of it. She wasn't seeing my vision and now I feel like I have not only a concession, but real buy in on the project again. And she got 2 sets of purple sheets for cmas to go in there, so she should be okay on the color front.

And, a big shout out to all my new followers. I'm starting to get comments from folks all over the world. I hope I can keep this blog interesting under that kind of pressure.

Take care and have a great Thursday. We'll be huddling around the fire down here in Texas. It's blue cold and the wind chill is in the 20's. Tonight's low is supposed to be in the upper teens. I know. For most of you, that sounds like spring, but we all have our heaviest coats pulled out of the back of the closet.

Oh, and head on over to Suzanne's blog and check out all the other vintage items you can link to from there.



My favorite quilting tool

I love tools. I have drawers and drawers of tools that either did not do what I thought they would do or only do one thing and I had to have them for that, but won't need them again unless I do that specific thing again. Often, my favorite quilting tools are not quilting tools at all, like this one. This is a pen shaped awl. Push the button at the top and the point comes out. Push the button just above the pocket clip and it retracts into the case, which is handy for taking it with me wherever I go to sew. It makes the handiest stiletto you ever saw. It's sharp enough that I can use it as a pin to hold several layers as they go under the presser foot. And the point is tiny enough that I can put it places where my finger won't go. I can get very close to the machine needle without having to worry about hurting myself.

I'd never thought of using a stiletto in my sewing until I watched Eleanor Burns TV show. She uses a stiletto to match seams without pinning. Now, I haven't been able to use it to replace pinning for accuracy, but what it does allow me to do is push the fabric so the little hump of fabric that naturally forms between the presser foot and the pin can't build up. That little hump was keeping my points from matching, no matter how carefully I pinned. I didn't even know what was causing that. When I stopped letting that hump go under the presser foot, my seams immediately started to match...okay, match more often.

It also lets me keep the right edges of my fabric aligned between pins. I don't know if you run into this, but as I sew, the top piece of fabric tends to pull to the left and get out of alignment with the bottom piece of fabric unless I put a ton of pins in it. I can stick the tip of this awl into both fabric edges between any pins I do use and it will stay aligned as it passes into the presser foot.

Okay, that's enough about my favorite tool. It came from Hobby Lobby. If you've found a tool that really works, I'd love to hear about it, especially if it's a tool that is not traditionally a quilting tool. Like all men, I guess I am a tool collector. Lane


Too Blue or not too blue

I thought I'd be far enough along on Sydney's pillow shams to post something about them, but yesterday, in therapy, it came out that she is not happy about what I'm doing in her room. Her favorite color is purple and she doesn't understand why I'm not making everything purple...quilt, shams, skirt, curtains and valance.

I tried to explain to her that I'd asked and asked what she wanted to do and she didn't have any ideas and her old set had just finally worn out.

I tried to explain that I'd brought these fabrics in and asked if she wanted them and she'd said yes.

I tried to explain that the blue I'd chosen would go with purple and whatever her favorite color was next week.

But she wasn't having anything to do with it. Then, Rob started about how he also didn't understand why there was no purple. Okay, it takes me three hours of work to pay for one hour of therapy and we're talking about the color of Sydney's curtains. Grrrrrrrrrrr! I know, I know. It's the process and not the content. But really! I would have changed the subject, but just as they got started on me good, time was up (I think that's the therapist's way of saying she's bored ;-) )

I tried to be big about it, but really, I was cut to the bone. I thought about what Sydney said, and when we got home, I told her that I'd make whatever she wanted for her room in whatever color and I wouldn't do anything until she told me what she wanted.

Rob came in to explain that he and Sydney are both afraid of change and that I crave it. I lived in a total of two houses from birth to adulthood and they moved every year or more. Change for them was rarely a good thing.

But, it's not that I crave change. After a while, everything either goes out of style or wears out or just gets boring! Nothing can stay the same forever just because it's comfortable. In fact, the more comfortable it is, the faster it wears out, right?

(Okay, for that to make sense, you probably need to know that I dyed the dining room curtains eggplant last week, just to see what it would look like. We've been trying to pick new fabric for 2 years and Rob wants eggplant and I want green, so I thought I'd show him what eggplant would look like in there before I spent that much on fabric. Yes, I'm the impulsive one. He likes it, I don't, so we're no closer to a decision than we were before.)

Then, just before bed, Sydney said she'd changed her mind and it was okay for me to go with the blue. I guess that before I thread the machine back to blue thread, I should ask if she's changed her mind again yet.

Change is good. Change is real good. You may as well enjoy it, because you sure can't stop it. Especially around me.

Still haven't heard from the school. Rob and I are on pins and needles waiting to see what they have to say. I guess if it's good news, we can wait for it and if it's bad news, we can really wait for it.

Have a great Tuesday! I'm back in the office and it's a good thing. Not sure how many more days I could have stayed home with those purple curtains. Lane


Submit to my will

I've talked often about blocking my quilts and making them submit to the shape I have in mind. And, I never tire of sharing information. Many of my quilts are wallhangings and now I've made two quilted table toppers. I want these quilts to be square and all the edges be straight. Often, there's a shape in a quilt that doesn't want to come out perfectly square and wouldn't if I left them alone. The binding on the round quilt was not stretched and caused the edge to fold up like a bowl. But, by blocking, I can make the quilt come out exactly like I want. I can even make a single block that isn't exactly square come out square.

Here's a picture of the two most recent finishes being blocked. They'd been washed and then were pinned to the floor on top of towels. This morning, when they were dry, they were pretty stiff and perfectly shaped. I even pinned down all the points on the medallion to make sure they were straight and fanned out. Now that they've dried how I want them to, they'll lay like that until/unless they get wet again or wadded/folded up.

Now, I wonder how many pins it would take to get Sydney to bend to my will?????

Well, it's back to work for me today and Sydney gets to enjoy her last day out of school. I'm currently composing an email to the school about the trouble on the last day and hope that I can straighten that out with a minimum of having to deal with authority figures. But, at the same time, I want her to have to face her own music. There's only so much we can do and for the rest, we rely on our village to help out.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Jan 4. I think the next thing I'll be posting is the quilted pillow shams I'm working on for Sydney's bed. They're coming along fine, although a little slow. Nothing like working without a pattern. Take care. Lane


Already the 3rd

I cannot believe it is already the 3rd. We've been so busy around here. There's been lots of really good family time. We've eaten out a couple of times and gotten all the cmas decorations boxed up and ready to haul back into the attic. And, now it's time for regular Sunday chores and preparing for the first week of the year. Sydney has one more day out of school tomorrow and I'm working from home, then normalcy after that.
Here are a couple of pictures that I didn't get posted during the holidays. This is Rob's ceramic tree. He shopped and shopped in antique stores and on ebay for one and was just about resolved that it was going to be an expensive purchase. Then, we stumbled up on this one at a garage sale for $2. We gave the lady 5.
This is the second quilted item I ever made. I didn't think of it as quilting until we pulled it out this year with the cmas quilts. I have one more of these panels and would love to do it up too. I love the vintage look of the Santa. All the lines are hand quilted around in white quilting thread. BTW, the first quited thing I ever made was a tree skirt, but my definition of quilting was so narrow that I never thought that's what it was or that I'd be doing so much of it later.
Post holiday, and every thing is back in it's box. We've gone nuts for the bins and invest in a few more every year. We love how well the uniform sizes stack and they're so much easier to pass up into the attic than cardboard boxes. And, they keep the dust out. Gotta love that.
So, now I'm looking out into the new year. I see our old dogs and know that they won't be in our lives for another cmas. And, I look at Sydney, growing up and pushing us away, while at the same time pulling us near. I look at Rob and I and at our relationship. We just keep finding out more and more about one another. It's funny that we've been together for 10 years and there's so much we've never told one another...family therapy works in many ways.
And, I look at myself. What do I want to do in the upcoming year. I don't usually save my resolutions for new year's. But, this seems a convenient time to make some decisions. First, I want to lose 15 pounds. That means handling stress in better ways. And, I'm resolved not to start any new quilting projects until I finish some of what I have started (two days ago, that was finish ALL of what I've started). Okay. Anyway. Finish some quilts. I have some beautiful stuff started that just needs me to sit and finish it. And, I resolve to spend a little less time in the quilting room. I tend to retreat in here. More hand projects and stuff out with the family.
Okay, so that's the end of the holidays and my view of the new year, all rolled up in a nice little ball. Maybe I'll celebrate by locking myself in the quilting room with a bag of chips and a new project! Lane