Time and weather permitting

I spent a lot of the weekend in the yard, cleaning up and moving things.  I don't think we're going to have much of a winter here this year, and this is my favorite time to do the hard and heavy work...while it's cool and I don't need to be done and back in the house by 10 am.  I got a lot done, just cleaning things out and digging up and potting the volunteers so I can give them away.  There's a lady coming soon to take part of it and there are new neighbors across the street who don't have an established flower bed that I hope to share with.  And, I have so much of some of it that I just put it on the street with a "free" sign and it disappears. 

I did get some quilting in.  I've been working on my borders.  I laid out half the quilt, just to see how it was going to go together.  And, I found a mistake I made when I altered the length of the borders.  None of the corners I've made so far are "right", but now that I know what the problem is, it won't take long to re-make them.  It doesn't really show up in this picture, but when you get really close, you can see that I messed up, but look how it's coming out!!!!  Anytime I lose my excitement, I have to remember to lay it out and look at it.  I'm also going to have to remember to stay stitch both sides of the border because that's ALL bias and it would love to stretch.  Taking a half inch out to correct my pattern error is not a problem.  I'll bind it in black so that whatever it's on, the borders won't wash out like they do against the carpet in this picture. 

We took down the holiday quilts a couple weeks ago and hung work we haven't hung in a while.  I let Rob choose and he chose on workmanship and color. 

Over the sofa, there's the Row Houses quilt.  I love this quilt and made it a long time ago.  To make sure I could make it, I used solids and made a smaller version that came out just as nice. 

Here's a close-up.  It's all log cabin blocks made from half inch strips. 

And, this one.  This is from the first quilting class I took.  I wanted a red and brown quilt.  This didn't quite do it for me and I don't think it's a very pretty quilt, but the quilting in it is very beautiful; baskets and vines of apples and blossoms.  But, you can't see it because I was too timid to do it in a thread that would show.  I was afraid every mistake would show up, so I quilted it in threads that match the fabric I was quilting on.  Lesson learned.

And, in the dining room, there's this sampler.  The pattern was for a queen size quilt and the maker did it as a block of the month.  I didn't need a queen sized quilt, but loved the pattern, so I made it in half size, which comes out a quarter of the size because I was cutting it in half in both directions.  It's so densely quilted, it practically stands up. 

And, finally, the last bloom from the Mr Lincoln rose for the year.  One of the things I did this weekend was cut all the roses back.  I wore leather gloves, but my hands are all torn up anyway. 

Syd came last week for a refrigerator raid.  Everybody talks about their kids coming home to do laundry, but for us, it's food.  She washes and returns her containers so she can leave with them full again.  She left with goulash, a quarter of a roast, some baked apples, half the hamburger I made for dinner that night and our old Keurig.  She made out like a bandit!  And, me too.  I hate to waste food and cooking for two has been hard to adjust to for me. 

So, I'm very excited about my garden and I'm very excited about the arc quilt and I'm so excited that we are getting quotes to replace our HVAC system.  I'm even excited about a couple new projects I got at work.  And, I got another great performance evaluation the other day from my new boss.  There is no time leftover to feel bad about the news.  Too busy out there getting stuff done. 

Everybody have a great week!  I hope there's something in your life to feel excited about, too! 



Background projects

I keep showing off the projects that I'm most proudly working on, but I'm never working on just one thing.  There are always background projects. 

As I've been working on pointy arcs and borders, I've also been running a leader/ender through.  This was the first one.  The squares were a gift from a  friend who ordered sample squares from two full lines of solid fabrics.  She gave them to me and I used all but 6 of the 1.5" squares.  While I've been working on points, I've made about half the 9-patches and then paired them with the white scrappy squares, then sewed those into quartets and then eights and then rows.  I tried sewing a row as a l/e, but at that point, it's not a leader/ender anymore.  It's something else, so I put it with my other UFOs and moved on to something else. 

I won't run out things to do on my next leader/ender before all the points are made.  Diane Gaudynski made a log cabin quilt with half inch logs out of hand dyes several years ago.  I love it.  But, I'm too cheap to buy that many hand dyed fabrics, so I decided to make mine with what I have; two bins of 1" wide strings that I've been saving for years and years.  I didn't know what I'd use them for, then this idea came to me.  I made a few blocks a couple years ago and they were fine.  But, it wasn't exciting me, so I set it aside and kept collecting.  It's perfect for a leader/ender that I'm working in conjunction with another paper piecing project.  I go back and forth between the two, using all the same tools.

I have enough strings to make a large quilt.  We'll see if I have the stamina.

Replacing my boxers continues.  I've tried to keep quiet because showing my underwear to the world shouldn't be something I want to do, but I do because it's making me happy.  I've been mostly pulling yardage from my stash.  If I think it would be fun to wear, I'm using it.  I think these are one of the most fun pair I've made.  That took some careful cutting. 

I'm also taking the studio drapes apart to remake them.  I'm starting to think I won't need to take them completely apart.  I think the problem all along was the side seams.  There were two rows and they were tiny, tight stitches and I think they drew up the sides of both panels and that's why they would not hang right.  They're on square.  They should be right.  But, the center of the panel hangs longer than the edges.  To be fair, they were made 12 years ago and my skills are improved greatly. 

And, a green thumb update.  I've never been able to get an orchid to re-bloom.  I've tried and tried to start with tiny ones and get them to grow, but they always rot.  I stopped buying them because I couldn't stand to watch them die.  But, last year, I decided to buy myself one for my birthday.  It was in full bloom and the blooms lasted for about three months, then they all fell off in a week.  This time, I read several articles about how to grow orchids and I picked from them what I wanted to try and the plant thrived.  A few weeks ago, we noticed active growth and bloom formation and last week, the first two flowers opened.  There are more than a dozen other tiny blossoms forming. 

Okay, that's it for me today.  I spent a lot of last week looking at my boss like 'one of us is crazy, dude...and I think it's you'.  He is young and is not a good explainer.  I am a very good explainer and can pick the relevant details and tell a succinct story, then expand on that with details.  I shall be trying to pass that skill on to him.  Because when he explains something, he doesn't start with the forest, or the trees.  He tells a story by starting with the leaves on the ground.  And, after explaining each one, then he starts to describe the trees.  I've never been able to stand it long enough to see if he ever gets to the forest.  I've usually dashed out the room, head spinning.

Everybody have a great week!!  Lane


A quieter week

Last week was a much quieter week with no big finishes. 

My sewing time was spent making more pointy border sections.  These take a lot of time, but I think if I really focus, I could have this one finished and the last pair made by first week of February. 

I wish I'd broken that yellow up a little bit more, but I keep reminding myself that this quilt is going to be so bright, you aren't going to notice small places like that where a single color is concentrated, so I'm trying not to focus too much on what I wish I'd done differently.. 
Most of my week was spent focused on work.  And, food...as in trying to eat less of it.  Finally the tempting sweets that I could not throw away are gone and it's just me and my healthy snacks.  Work was busy, with new projects and updates on old projects and everybody in a great mood.  The manager that is retiring has 11 more days to go and I'm starting to get to know his replacement.  He's new to the company, so there will be lots of opportunity to train him right and also to learn what he brings to the job.  He will be here the first week of February and I will get to meet him face to face.  Looking forward to that. 
This Christmas cactus bloomed just a little bit late, but we brought it in so we could enjoy it.  Look at all that sunshine!  We had rain and hail one night, but both days of the weekend were gorgeous.  Unfortunately, the rain meant I couldn't dig in the dirt like I would have liked to.  After the foundation repair, we still need to empty the beds along the back of the house and start over with a new plan that includes new soil and better drainage away from the house.  It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm sure we are up to it. 
And, finally a dog picture.  She's so cute!  This is Syd's dog that is living with us.  She's gotten used to us and every night, she lays next to my pillows, waiting for me to get in bed, even though she knows that when I get in bed, she'll have to move out of the way.  She watches and waits. 
Everybody have a great week!  I'm sure mine will be focused on work again.  But, there will be some fun time as well.  There always is, if I can get out of the way and make room for it.  Lane


First finishes of 2020

But, really.  Only one should count because the other one was started in early November.

I finished my jacket on Thursday.  It took a lot of days to make, but only about 20 hours.  I kept having to stop and like, do normal things like eat and chores.  The time was well spent though because I learned more about garment sewing and also got to practice what I've learned about pattern alteration.  I think that was my second or third zipper to ever put in, so when I got to that step, there was a long break while I avoided that.  Then, early one morning, when I was fresh and alert, I just did it.  And, it went in perfect on the first try. 


It couldn't have come out a better fit.  And, then, I messed up a buttonhole on one of the cuffs, so eventually, I'll want to take that cuff off and replace it...easy enough.  Just not right now.  You can't see it and nobody will know.  Would I make it again?  Yes, I just might.  I love this style of jacket.  Casual enough for the grocery and nice enough for the office.  But next time, something more exciting than brown...

I also finished this afghan for Project Linus.  I had a baggie full of grey yarn and was going to make a solid grey afghan, but half of it was a different weight, so I combined the worsted with a bag of blue and white yarn and this is what came out of it.  Lesson learned...don't underestimate the amount of yarn it takes to make an afghan.  My yarn is mostly "inherited" so it's balled and it's hard to tell just how much yarn is in a ball that someone else made.  Rob says this afghan should go to a Dallas Cowboys fan.  Last night, I started a pair of socks for my TV project. 

And, finally, some outside pics.  It was a beautiful weekend here, so I took the opportunity to work in the yard.  I was cutting back winter dead growth and started my annual dig and divide.  I ended up with about 6 pots of things I dug up that are being moved to other places or given away.  But, the yard is already looking good.  Maybe too good.  It is January, you know. 

The camelia hit its peak.

And, there was a lot of shrimp plant still in bloom.  I made the mistake of planting this too near a plumbago and that became a tangle, so I've dug up the shrimp and will move it to another sunny spot where it will do well and the plumbago won't have to compete and maybe it will bloom next year. 

Technically, this was in the green house.  But, it's still a January bloom.  This is a Chinese Lantern or Parlor Maple.  I've finally learned to propagate it from a cutting and have my first small plant.  I plan to do more of that in the near future. 

Okay, that's it for me.  First day back at the office in two weeks (I did work from home some days, tho so I'm not behind).  Not looking forward to that.  But, it'll be fine and everybody will be wearing their new clothes and will be happy and feeling good.  So, here's to the fewest possible number of end of year crises that need to be resolved by 10 am.  Because I am not in that mood.  I got a bell for Christmas...the ones like hotels have on their desks.  It says "Nope, not today" on the outside.  Don't make me ring my bell.