Prepping for the holidays

After all the painting we've done the last few weeks, this week it was time to relax and do some chores. 

One of my jobs was to finish the repairs on a quilt for my niece.  This is the quilt. 

It's really cute.  I'm not sure how old it is, but I recognize several of the fabrics.  She sat too close to the fireplace and an ember sparked out and hit the quilt and burned a hole the size of a silver dollar  all the way through.  When they were here in September, she asked me to repair it and I brought it home and studied it and procrastinated and then found matching, and procrastinated, and then I finally worked up the nerve to take a pair of scissors to it and try to fix it...because what if I couldn't and made it worse?
Here's the repair on the back.  You may have to blow the picture up to find it. 

After that was done, I cut the pieces out of the front and replaced the hole in the batting with a patch and put new pieces in.  Can you see the new pieces?

I put pins on them.  The only way I can find them is to find the repair in the back and flip it over.

I also finished the drapes for the living room.

Yes, the stripes connect.  And, I only got upset one time when I was making them.  That was at the first hanging when the stripes did NOT match up.  These tie our brown wood furniture in with the gray paint and they're masculine.  Both goals met. 

And, we started hanging quilts.  These went up in the studio and there are two others hanging in the living room.  Oh, and there are curtains in the window.  That's new, but they're old...they're the old living room curtains.  They will need to be taken apart and put back together so they will hang straight.  One day.  But, for today, they're just fine the way they are. 

This was a kit quilt.  The fabric had all four gradations of each of the three colors and the pattern was written to use them and get this result.  Then, I did some great quilting in it and it's hung in the studio since then. 

Everybody have a great Monday!!  My boss is back after a bereavement leave and I'm sure he's going to forward me all his emails from last week.  I can hardly wait.  But, it keeps life interesting, I guess. 



Big finishes

This weekend, we finished painting the living and dining rooms.  It's been a long process and we are both exhausted.  But, it's done.  We haven't completely moved back in.  There are still boxes we packed for the foundation repair in June that haven't been unpacked.  But, this is the basics. 

It took a little time to find the perfect accent color, but we took the time and went back to the store multiple times until we had found it.  And, we love it on the accent wall, which I forgot to take a picture of.  The only thing we didn't paint was the doors. That's a job for another day.  Maybe when we paint the foyer and the hall.  Those two small rooms, the hall bath, and our bedroom are all that's left and they will have to wait until after the holidays.  It feels so nice and fresh, and we are loving it and can't wait to see the Christmas decorations against it. 

I also finished my sweater.  The whole time I was making it, it seemed like it was going to be huge.  But, after it was blocked and assembled, it fits just perfect!  (btw, you can see why we need to get to this bathroom!!!  pretty sure that paper was hung in 1978 when the house was built.)
And, I finished a pair of socks I'd been working on during TV time.  My next TV time project is repairing a quilt for my niece, who burned a small hole in it, cuddled in front of a fire.  (that could have gone bad quickly, right?)   

For my next tricks, I'm making a curtain for the living room that will pull the gray and our brown furniture together.  Yesterday, it was the table cloth on the dining table.  Today, it's pinned together as lined curtains for the living room.  (okay, that made me think of Scarlett's green velvet dress)  It's hard to get Rob and I to commit to curtains.  We usually end up with something that one of us voted "I don't hate it".  I had suggested a large plaid that had gray and brown.  I threw the table cloth on the window as an example and he said he loved it.  And, it became curtains before either of us could change our mind.  They really are perfect.  Except for that little bit of aqua, but I'll get over that. 

And, I'm still plugging away at the arc quilt.  For some reason, my blocks came out the wrong size.  They are each a quarter inch too small, all around.  I disassembled and re-assembled a block and it came out the same size, so I took the pattern pieces and laid them out and traced them on paper and they made a block a quarter inch too small.  It has to be the printer, printing the paper patterns a little bit too small.  That's all fine by me, I can certainly adapt, but I'm curious to know how that border is going to fit and how much its size was affected.  There might be some really creative sewing to attach it.  Anyway, the blocks needed to be squared and repaired.  I got a little overanxious when I was making them.  When I finished the arcs, I was so excited to move forward and make the blocks that I wasn't really careful enough about how I put the blocks together, so now I'm picking out a few seams, especially on the first dozen I made and putting them back together, more carefully.  And, once that's done, I can iron them really good and trim them.  But, once in a while, there's one that won't square and I have to "cheat" a little.  I drew squares the size I needed on this practice quilt and I'm spritzing the block really good and then pinning it to the shape I need it to be.  The fabric is there, but because of some bias mistake I made, it needs to be moved around to where I need it, and this works.  This is a trick I learned from Sally Collins.  They'll hold that shape while I assemble the quilt and, hopefully, the quilt will come out square.  Hopefully...

Everybody have a great Monday!  Next week is Thanksgiving.  Can you believe it?  We needed a few things out this weekend and there were shoppers everywhere.  Rob mentioned the traffic and we realized that people are already Christmas shopping.  Eek!!!


Where there's a will...

there's work to be done.

I've spent most of the weekend in the yard, but there are also a lot of other things going on around here.  I'm finishing up a sweater I started in the spring.  And, I'm working on a pair of socks.  And, I know it always sounds like I don't get anything finished.  But, that's only because it takes me forever to finish something. 

These strips are taking two forevers, and I need to make 4 pair, so that's an estimated 8 forevers total.  I've spent as much time as I can sewing tiny pieces together.  And, I'm around piece 180 out of 250.  I sew a point on each section, use part of a 9-patch as a leader/ender, iron the points, fold back the papers, trim the points, sew another point on, yawn, and once in a while, stretch and walk around the house.  It takes 8 seams to make a 9-patch and I've sewn 180 seams, so with the mistakes I've had to pick out and replace...yes, there have been some, I'm guessing I've made about 25 9-patches to use in something.  Someday. 

It took me three weeks to weave in the ends of the Linus afghan.  That's boring work! Now, it's done and can go in the stack of finished Linus projects.  I need something to alternate with the sock I'm knitting during TV time, so I'll probably start another one soon.  I have 4 or five kitted up and ready to go, and when I'm done, I won't have any acrylic yarn left and I'll have a large bin to use for something else.  Something just as creative as yarn!

We're painting the living room.  It's a very nice shade of grey.  Before we would commit to it, we bought a gallon and painted it in 4' squares on different walls of the room to see how it was going to look in different light.  We'd already used a sampler to give us smaller patches to look at.  On one side of the room, it's very bright and kind of cheerful (considering it's grey).  On the other side of the room, it's a dark, dark grey.  The amount of light makes a big difference!  It's not as light as we had planned, but we had trouble finding lighter shades that looked grey; once we got to a certain lightness, it started to look silver.  Yesterday, Rob did sheetrock repair.  Not the final repairs, but enough to get us through the holidays.  We expect to have the foundation adjusted as the soil under the house moves due to winter rain, so there's no need to hire someone to fix sheetrock now and in the spring.  He did a really good job and I'm anxious to see it after it's painted. 

We're also preparing for first freeze.  It won't be a hard freeze, but it was time to get the tender plants moved into the greenhouse.  I don't have greenhouse space for everything, so some plants had to go in the ground.  While I was out there, I saw this beautiful Cinco de Mayo rose.  There are several more blooms that I hope will open today. 

Everybody have a great day!  Enjoy Veteran's day and try to spend a couple minutes thinking about the veterans in our lives and what they've given in service to our Country. 



Yard work season

It gets so hot here in the summer that I pretty much leave the plants to fend for themselves.  I give water and a little pruning, but that's about it.  Then comes Autumn and I'm out there, shovel in hand, moving things, digging out invaders and soon, dividing and hopefully sharing...I'm finding it's hard to give plants away.  But, I keep trying. 

I spent all week working on the border for the arc quilt.  And, this is all I got done.  So, how did I only get that far in a whole week? 

I spent a lot of time playing with fabric until I had sorted all the color groups from dark to light.  I'm using 9 colors groups, the six primaries plus olive, turquoise, and red-violet.  Then, I had to make shaded groups of 10-20 fabrics, sorted from dark to light. 

After I had made my paper template, I laid the fabrics out the way I'd like them to look in the border sections.  Sorry for the mess, but this was messy work.  You can see my stacks of color groups at the top.  I can pull two groups and lay them out in a planful way, adding new ones as one runs out and trying to contrast the lights and darks.  Once that was done, then I could sit at the sewing machine.  I finally got to sew yesterday morning for my extra hour (daylight savings time).  Even with the hour, I still ended up late for the grocery, which was packed with both people that did set their clocks back and the regular people that we usually see in the store. 

We had our first early freeze last week.  It didn't seem to get below freezing in the back yard, except I lost the tops of some cannas that grow taller than the fence.  But, it got some things in the front yard and Rob had to spend some time cutting things back.  I thought we'd lost this closet plant that we got from Linda.  It was very wilted, and I talked to it and talked to it and then finally overwatered it and sat it in some dappled sun and it came back like gangbusters.  I guess the soil at the bottom of the pot had dried out.  I'm so glad I didn't kill this...I have managed to kill a few of the plants we got from her, but others are thriving.  She said she got this plant after having a surgery.  I knew her for 10 years and she's been gone a year, and I never knew her to have a surgery, so this is a pretty old plant. 

A lot of what I do to prep for winter is re-work my flower pots.  Some things make it, others don't.  We had a real problem with squirrels eating anything they could find that had a watery leaf or stem or digging other plants up and eating the roots.  They wiped out many plants, which left me with some pots that were only half full.  I took what survived and consolidated some pots, because there's no room in the greenhouse for half empty pots.  One of the prettiest pots I made up was this one. 

The squirrels really did a number on my needle-less succulents, but they left me enough to make a couple really nice pots that should thrive through the winter in the heated greenhouse and be beautiful next spring.  I don't remember how I broke the side out of this pot, but I sure have used it a lot to make community pots of succulents. 

Tip of the day: 

I needed a light at my sewing machine.  In the new setup, I didn't have one.  The sewing machine bed was lit, but the area I sit and work in was not.  And, there's no room for a lamp.  I've broken one lamp and one bulb trying to make different lamps fit the space, but I keep knocking them off.  So, I tried this little ott light that I got when JoAnn's had it on half off.  I think it cost around $15.  It uses batteries or has a USB plug.  I'm using the USB plug. 

Most people use an adhesive strip to attach the light to a machine.  I've had one before and tried that and the adhesive left a mark.  Plus, I own a lot of machines and try to use them all, at least once a year, so I needed the light to be portable.  I needed a base to secure it to.  So, I took an Altoids tin (those are the most re-usable packaging I've ever seen for quilters and I have them all over with little things in them) and I filled it with coins and secured the light to it and it can sit just about anywhere.  I think I could even get it to stand up, if I was careful.  Anyway, it's working perfectly to brighten the work area.  If it keeps working out, I'll work on making it "pretty" with some fabric.

Everybody have a great week!  I worked from home all week last week and am spoiled and don't want to go to the office today.  But, I'm going to.  Last week I had a project to keep me busy and that kept me away from the sewing machine.  This week, my projects are less exciting and I will need to be in a more controlled environment to stay focused. 

Be well!!!!  Lane