Sunday, March 5, 2017

Are You Going To Eat All That?

Well, here we are.  Prom Season is so close I can almost smell it.  **heavy sigh**. This was my last weekend off until sometime in May.  I tried really hard to enjoy it but reality has a way of forcing it's way into my brain constantly.  I did catch up on laundry, so that's something.

My Caron Collection threads got their own holder this week.  And, now I've almost completely sold out of the threads.  Good problem to have!  The next shipment is already on it's way & I can't wait to get my hands on it.

 All rolled up.  Don't you love those yellow roses?  So pretty!
 I started a new project.  This is a Hungarian Folk Art quilt.  I'm using all batiks.  I've been dying to use red as a background for a long time now.  I'm really excited about the way it's turning out!  The colors are super yummy!
 
I have started a 3rd block and did a little buttonhole stitch on it but I didn't get a picture.  So far, I'm using coordinating colors and it looks pretty good.  I may need to use some interesting contrasts and see what happens.  Donna D. suggested variegated.  I'll either love that or it'll make me crazy.  I'm a little worried the variegation won't happen where I want it to.  Not that I'm a control freak but, I kind of am.  The picture above is a better look at the red.  It's a really lush cherry red. LOVE...
 This is my March CQJP block.  It looks a bit fallish but that wasn't my intention.  Sticking with the gold monochromatic theme is really challenging.  I'm struggling to come up with ideas.
 I love the bee in February's block.  It was Heidi S.'s idea.  She saw the gold vine ribbon I had and mentioned how cute it would be as bee wings.  I went straight home and made it happen.  Such a great idea!  The block looks a little naked still, so I'll probably work on it some more when I get a little more inspiration .
 
  Last but certainly not least, I made Butterfinger Cupcakes tonight.  They are SO good.  I may eat them all myself but I should not have that much peanut butter.  It's bound to kill me.  So, if I show put to work tomorrow, you'll know I didn't eat too many.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Well, That Didn't Go As Planned

Hello, hello, hello.  I'm finishing up a long weekend so I thought I'd check in and tell you all about my wild weekend... 
First things first, I finished my fan flower block.  It's so pretty!  Next is carnations and I settled on pink/ violet.  Looking forward to it but it is very detailed.  It may take me awhile.  Morning Glory Designs has since posted a new block, Fleur de Lis  and it's gorgeous.  That will be after the carnation!  And, I think the Peony will finish it off.  Very exciting.  
 On Saturday night, I stayed up WAY too late watching the end of one of my favorite series, Republic of Doyle.  It's a great show & the end made me a little emotional.  So, I decide to watch something else before I try to sleep.  I chose Hemlock Grove.  In the first episode, a teen girl is disemboweled.  Nice.  I go to sleep around 1am in Bethany's room so I don't wake Rich who has to leave for work REALLY early.  At 4am, there is scratching and banging on the bedroom door.  Someone desperately wants in.  Certain one of my children is in need of my help, I jump out of bed.  I proceed to trip on a million different things on my way to the door.  Yelling, "Hold on, I'm coming.  Hold on!"   My baby needs me.  Alas, it was just Fred the dog.  Son of a B...  Get a handle on it Heather, you should have known it was Fred.  I then decide to use the restroom.  Mostly, because I had almost peed myself in my haste to save a life. As I'm seated, trying to calm my nerves and getting my blood pressure back to normal, the toilet tank starts running  FOR NO REASON AT ALL!  I almost fainted.   OMG!  No more scary shows before bed.  And, Fred ended up in the kennel the next night.  So, that happened.

Despite my near death experience,  Sunday went pretty smoothly and  I finally started quilting my Pucker Up Buttercup quilt.  I was really happy with the lemon wedges!  I used Wonderfil 100 wt cotton thread that Donna D had given me last year some time.  It is wonderful!  My machine loved it.  Not skipped stitches, no broken threads.

 Now, I have to change thread so I decide to save it for another day.  Go back on Monday to finish the other blocks.  Using Aurifil 50 wt and I can't stitch more than 2 minutes at a time before it's skipping stitches and thread is breaking.  I change needles, clean out machine, thread and rethread the machine.  Nothing works.  I go buy a different type of needle, it doesn't work.  Then, I make a practice sandwich to see how that goes.  Everything is perfect.  I finally decide it's the spray I used to baste the quilt.  I still don't know why it worked with one thread and not the other.  Left with little choice, I threw it in the wash to see if I can get some of the sticky out.  I'm really hoping that works and that enough of it is quilted already that it won't fall apart in the wash.  I'm a little afraid to check.
 So, time to move on from that disaster & work on En Provence.  I got 11 of the 16 main blocks finished and decide I'd better download the finishing instructions before Bonnie takes them off the blog. Too late.  As I'm trying to figure out if I can put it together myself, I couldn't  figure out where the block starts and stops in the finished quilt.  Where were her 4 white 3" blocks.  And, why don't I have that much yellow in my pieces?  So, this is what my block looks like.
 
 And, this is what they're supposed to look like.   Son of a B!  Now I have to rip out 44 white 3" squares from the 11 assembled blocks and insert the yellow.  How did I get that wrong?!  I tried to convince myself that the quilt would look fine without all the yellow but I can't.  Heavy sigh.
Okay, time to take a break from that.  I know, I'll  prepare the bags of walnut shells that I plan to sell .  I spent about an hour or so of spilling crushed walnut shell on the carpet, designing and redesigning the labels.  I finally decide I'm happy with what I've got only to run out of ink and labels.  Son of a B.  Not to mention the labels don't want to stay on the bag.
Then, to top off my day, I managed to wake Rich up.  He was trying to get some sleep before a 16 hour night shift.  Damn.  I'd be super salty if it were me that got woken up.  Do I dare try to bake a cake or should I just call it a day?  I'm almost afraid to see what I do at work tomorrow.  Fun things on the horizon, though.  Guild meeting tomorrow night, Wednesday I'm taking Sandy Kane's Tatting class, Thursday is court but it's time for another Mascoutah retreat next weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have my crap together by then.  In the mean time, Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dreary February

Hello Fine Friends,
I hope all is well with you.  Things are trucking along on this end.  I'm surviving Grand Jury Duty.  It's emotionally exhausting to realize how many aweful things happen in your county on a regular basis.  I'm looking forward to the end of April when I can crawl back into my tunnel & pretend I live in Fairytale Land.  But, until then, there's butter and sugar.  And, thread and fabric.

Typically, I dislike February.  It's dreary.  It's the month my mom died some 10 years ago.  And, both my parents shared a birthday of Feb 23.  Just a whole lot of reminders of what is lost.  But, I try to keep as busy as possible so I don't fall down that rabbit hole.

Rich got impatient with me to repaint my little mini-fridge.  This was gifted to me by some lovely ladies that were done with it.  I'm so happy they thought of me before sending it to Goodwill.  On a random weekend, Rich set up a space for me to paint & told me I was getting started on it.  Normally, I'd be put out that he was telling me what to do but this time it worked in my favor.  I really LOVE my 50's pink fridge!

 Then, since we were painting, I convinced Bethany to paint a closet door in chalkboard paint.  Then, I traced an embroidery pattern onto it for the motif at the top.  The paint looks pretty good at a distance but up close it's pretty bad.  I really should have bought new brushes & made sure the paint wasn't chunky before I started but then I was too far in to stop.  Bethany is using the door for motivation & a "to do" list.
 I finished the breast cancer t-shirt quilt.  I thought I was going to make it bigger but since I had already quoted a price, I talked with the owner & she wanted to keep it small.  I really like it either way   & I loved working with pink!  I didn't know it at the time I bought the bolt but that batik was the perfect shade for the job.  I was able to keep the year on most of the blocks and the ones that I didn't, I embroidered the year so Denise will always know which one is which.

 I quilted it with wavy horizontal lines.
 All the bits are made on my En Provence quilt.  These are the main 16" (?)blocks.  I've still got several more to go but I can only stand to make about 4 at a time & then I get bored.  I will finish, though!  I keep seeing others' that are finished and it's a beautiful quilt!
 
 I did get another Art Neauveax block done.  I briefly called it Deco Gardens, like the designer, but a friend in TAS reminded me that Neauveax was the apppropriate period.  It was nice to realize I was on the right track.  So, back to trying to remember how to spell Neauveax all the time...  Isn't the daffodil so sweet?  When, I bought the pattern, apparently I was the first to purchase something with her new market software & she offered me a free pattern if I reviewed the purchasing process.  Nice, right?  She got a glowing review, by the way.  An honest one at that.  Morning Glory Designs.
 I got to 70 Granny Squares and decided to put them together.  I was hoping it would be enough but  Im told no.  It's currently a TV size and needs to be a "napping" size, according to Ethan.
I did get caught up on the BOM with my guild.  It's going to be a Quilt of Valor when I'm done.  I was just considering how difficult it might be to work with that panel in the middle.  There's going to be some strangely sized filler blocks everywhere.  2 more to go.
This one is called Crazy Ann.  Which I've always cracked up at because my mom's name was Anne.  That crazy Anne! Hehehe
 And, bear claw.
 This is Myrtle the Turtle.  She was made as part of the Under the Sea special exhibit our guild is doing at the quilt show this year.  She's the companion of the Mermaid I did earlier.
And, that brings us up to date!  Hope you are all surrounded by love this dreary February.  Happy Stitches!

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Year, Same Old Me

Well, lookie here.  I survived going back to work and jury duty.  Honestly, I wasn't positive I'd make it.  I had that terrible plague that everyone has and I really didn't think I'd have the energy to get out of the house.  Alas, I'm alive and feeling fairly healthy after the full 10 days of anti-biopics.  Now the kids are sick.  Bethany & Hunter are miserable.  Hunter sounds like he's drowning in goo.  Poor guy, but can I get him to go to the doctor?  Nope.  He's a big boy now, gotta make his own decisions. 

Well, enough about all that.  Work closed down over this last weekend because of a big ice storm.  I took advantage of the bonus days off and tried a new cake recipe.  This is Almond Cake with Almond Ruffle Frosting.  Now, the picture doesn't do the color justice.  It's actually the most obnoxious violet color...  Clearly, I need more practice making cakes that are not for a child's birthday.  I'm practicing for our Anniversary party next year.  I want to do my own cake because I know my cakes taste better than any bakery I've tried but my decorating skills are terrible!  So, I declared this the year of the cake.  My frosting was a little loose and I didn't make enough to begin with.  Big learning curve.  I'm real used to cupcakes.
On Christmas, I received a bucket of yarn from Hunter's girlfriend.  Part of their Minimalist lifestyle is getting rid of things they don't need.  Sounds like a nightmare to me, but they've got to live life their way.  Lucky me, I got lots of pretty yarn and decided to start a granny square afghan.  I've already used up 1 skein but I'm not nearly as far as I thought I was.  This might end up as a baby blanket although that wasn't my original intent.  I had hoped to give them a blanket for the school bus that they are renovating into a home (no need for baby blankets for several years, one hopes).  Plus, crocheting always makes my hands cramp.
 I made it to step 6 with Bonny Hunter's En Provence quilt along.  I was very liberal in my green choices.  I didn't want to buy more, so I did some dark and light along with the medium.  I really needed her new triangle ruler kit for this one.  I finally found a fussy cut ruler that  worked in the end.  The tri recs ruler didn't have the right angle.  Literally.  Then, I looked to see what came next and it's even more hourglass blocks!  That may wait.  Doing tons of the same block over and over gives me a rash...
 Here's the rest of my En Provence.  So close to being done!  Just 80 more hourglass blocks... feel the sarcasm.
 This is my favorite block yet from my Deco Gardens quilt!  Man, I wish I'd been using more orange the whole time!  It's just spectacular with the black background!
 So, I finished the final block, centered and cut them down to size.  Up on the design wall, ready to finalize the block placement, only to realize I think it's too small.  Ugh!  I stared at it for a week & couldn't convince myself it was done.  I don't like that it's a square.  So, luckily she designed  several additional blocks that I can buy and add 1 more row.  I'll have to choose ones that I can make orange. I had accidentally purchased too many earlier.  So, I have a gorgeous daffodil to add next.  The additional blocks she did are really elaborate and will add tones of interest to the whole.
 This is the most recent round robin from my local Crazy Quilt group.  It's my block but none of my work.  I'm so proud of our group.  Most are new to Crazy Quilting and even embroidery.  We've met for a year this January and everyone is becoming so much more confident!  Look at my little Scottie dog!  Love it!
 This is my Crazy Quilt Journal Project for 2017.  I decided on a mono-chromatic scheme.  It was much more challenging than I expected.  Now the rest of the year is looking pretty daunting.  I think it'll be key to collect more embellisments to add rather than count on my own embroidery, like I did last year.  I bought some beautiful hand dyed laces from Raviolee Dreams on Etsy.  And, I just placed an order for some more golden silk ribbon.  My dying skills don't include those shades.
 I finished my sweater.  I promise the panels aren't that uneven.  Bethany took the picture but didn't mention it in time to correct the way I was wearing it.  I love it!  I'm not a sweater person.  I wore it to work today and almost had heat stroke.  I'm always too warm.  All that extra padding, I'm sure.
And, that's all I've got.  I'm still waiting on my Pfaff to come back from he dealer.  It had to be forwarded on to headquarters and apparently they're in no hurry to get it back to me.  Thank goodness I still have my BabyLock for back up but it's not nearly as good of a machine.  I've gotten very spoiled.  Speaking of which, I had my Twisted Mystery quilt in at Jane Hair's to be quilted.  My turn came up and she realized I screwed up & she can't quilt it!  I'm sick over it.  My outer borders are super straight and flat but the center puffs up by a few inches.  Ugh!  I'm wondering if it's the difference in machines.  I started it on the BabyLock but finished on the Pfaff.  Doesn't look like that's going to make it in the quilt show this year.  Here I thought I'd have trouble deciding which ones to enter.  Now I'm wondering what's going to be done in time.  Bah.

Talk to you soon, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Warp Speed

I can't believe how fast time is flying!  Seriously, I'm in warp speed and I need to slow it down!  This is my final week of layoff and Reality is staring me down.  Reality has a serious bitch face...  

I really thought I'd be done with my Art Neuveau quilt by now.  I made a little progress.  I only have 2 more & I should just make it a priority to get it done.  The rose block turned out really pretty. So, I didn't read the directions 2 years ago when I started the quilt.  Apparently, the pattern was never intended for needle turn applique.  So, there are several parts of the patterns that I'm just skipping because they are too small a detail to do with needle turn.  I tried in the beginning and it didn't work well.  For example, I embroidered the tiny pink rose centers instead of trying to do them in appliqué.  I also discovered that it's actual name is Deco Gardens.  Don't be a putz.  Read your directions first.
 The pansies are pretty, too.    Doesn't it look like an angry flower?  Those eyebrows!  They happen to be on the edge of my design board, which is why it's folded on the corner.
This is everything so far.  Just 2 more to go!  I need to get the lead out.  At least the last 2 blocks are prepped and ready for travel.  One is the Poinsettia that was included and I bought the Poppy pattern to round it out.  Another red block and an orange block will be good additions.
I added a cream satin and lace border to my CQJP 2016.  I had also hoped to finish this.  But, I broke my good sewing machine.  Once I get the back on, I'm going to couch a thin gold braid along the seams & use that as the quilting.
I used my new mitered border ruler and I'm loving it!  The lace is a gorgeous gold metalic.  I'm all about gold right now.
Look what Santa brought me!  It matches my studio perfectly!  The robot sound it makes everytime I touch it is going to take some getting used to.  I'm trying not to think about how pissed I'll be when the robotic foot breaks.  Not that I'm a pessimist. It's cute though, right?
I finished the embroidery block from the Catherine Redford class I took.  I'm not super happy with the tulips but the rest of it is great.  All was done it the Caron embroidery thread I'm selling in my Etsy shop.  Just loving that thread!
I also started Bonnie Hunter's En Provence mystery.  It's my first year following along & I'm not keeping up at all.  Which doesn't bode well for when I start work again.  I couldn't resist the opportunity to work with the colors she chose this year!
I made a table runner for Hunter.  It was a Christmas gift but my machine putzed out on me mid-runner.  So, I sulked for a few days and finished it with my old machine yesterday.  I love that fabric! He's got a beach/ minimalist theme going in his room that this will work really well with.  Nothing fussy for my boy.
I've been commissioned to make a t-shirt quilt.  Something else I was supposed to finish.  I got this far yesterday.  I'll just do some simple borders in pink with the pink/ red picnic plaid I used on my lace cottage wall hanging for the outer border.  I think it'll be really cute.  I'll wait for my Pfaff to come home before I quilt it.  Apparently, it had to go back to the manufacturer for repair.  When I mess something up, I really mess it up.
I caught a terrible something on Christmas day.  So, my energy level is zero.  Not good for housework or machine sewing but pretty ideal for hand work.  So I decided to embellish a plain brown sweater I have with some embroidery.  Ignore the stabilizer, it'll wash away when I'm done.
I did invest in a lap stand for my embroidery frame.  Because, you know, I needed it really bad.  I swear.
I'm also following along with the Never Ending Sampler stitch along.  Pam Kellogg is posting a band, basically,  every day.  I think they're up to 12 or 13 & this is how far I got.   I love it but I get so lost in counting cross stitch.  I've had to frog WAY more stitches than I care to admit.
Bethany asked me to embroider on her dress for Christmas.  It was so much fun!  I love the solar system we decided on.  She seems really happy with it and it looks so cute on her!
 
I really wanted to do a flying saucer but I ran out of room.
The lighting on this picture is terrible but her little rocket is really fun.

So, I've been busy but no really big finishes to speak of.  Several new projects!  Lots of hand work in my future.  I'm more and more drawn to handwork as I go.  Back to work I go next Tuesday and I report for Grand Jury duty next Thursday.  I do not want to go.  Reality has a total bitch face.

Hope you have a fantastic New Year!  Stay safe.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Holy Cow, What Week Is It?

Holy Cow!  Life is super busy when you don't work and the holidays show up.  I keep thinking I've got so much time now, I should get stuff done that I wouldn't normally expect to do.  Yikes.  But, now that Christmas with my In-Laws is over, I'm hoping to slow down just a bit.

Well, first off.  I finished the cottage by framing it with charcoal grey & red plaid.  I think i made all the difference!  I'm really happy with the final product.
 I think the thin grey frame helps your eyes focus on the details.
 Since the plaid mitered corners didn't match up correctly, I added some daisy vines to distract the eye.

Oh, I can't forget to tell you about my studio, phase 2.  We took the ironing surface out of the loft.  The dressers are there temporarily until one of the kids needs them.  The tree is a decrepit old tree that we used 20 years ago in Iowa.  I put all of the ornaments that my mom brought me from her travels around the world.  I've got ornaments from Norway, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Denmark...all the places I've never been.  I also have some ornaments from her childhood.  They're precious 1950's pink and blue glass that were on my Grandma Bradley's tree.  Then, there are circa 1980's ornaments that I made mom buy when I was a kid.  I only put this tree upstairs where there is carpet because the hardwood down stairs has claimed more ornaments' lives than I care to count.  This is the first year it's been up in the 10 years since mom passed and I bawled like a baby the whole time.  But, it's time to be a big girl and revisit those precious times.  All the places my mom went and she thought of me everytime.  The paper mache Santa is from Rich & my first Christmas together.  Aaannnnnd...now I need to make a tree skirt...
The base for the old ironing surface is now cabinets in the girls' old dressing area.  Ground zero for Brighter Side Fabrics.  I unloaded the bookshelves which will soon come down.  Now that I've lived with them for a few months, the bookshelves are currently in a terrible spot...
I finished the quilting on Grandpa's Cowgirl quilt.  I just did a meandering loop & star in a khaki thread.  I was pretty happy with the result.  I hope he was too.  Yes, most of my corners got cut off, but I don't think he noticed or cared.
 Bethany told her friends, "moving back home came with some stipulations."  I was laughing so hard, I almost peed myself...  I made horse hoods as Grandma's gift and needed a model.  I'm really hoping that her horses are bigger than her grand-daughter, or I've made a serious miscalculation.
These are Sierra's Christmas stockings.  She picked out the fabric and fur and I put them together for her new place.  She was a little disappointed that I wouldn't fill them too,  but you've got to draw a line somewhere... 
Bethany, just because she's so cute and is such a good sport when I ask the ridiculous.  She was attending her boyfriend's Christmas party.  Not to mention the tree took me a whole day to decorate.  The main family tree is full of ornaments that my Mother-In-Law, Ann bought.  She's bought everyone a new ornament for the tree for as long as I've been in the family.  Sierra took hers to her new home but we still had so many, they couldn't all fit.  Grandma didn't disappoint this year, either.  I got a feather weight sewing machine ornament this year!  Score!
Ethan's first violin recital was a smashing success.  He gave a stellar performance.  And, looked so handsome doing it.
This is my offering to the Crazy Quilting International Christmas Card Swap.  With all that was going on, I missed the deadline by a day.  I'm mailing it tomorrow.  The trees are done with a cretan stitch  trunk and herring bone branches.  I tried to do a silk ribbon holly between the poinsettia beads, not  sure if it was as successful as the picture that I saw but I gave it a try.

If I'm honest, this has been my biggest time suck.  I started selling Caron embroidery threads in my store and they're so beautiful, I can't help but to sample them!  This is a pattern from the Catherine Redford class I took a few months ago.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  Mustard yellow and fall colors are a stretch for me but I've got a plan in mind.  I do need a new fall wall hanging...  The leaves are herringbone in Jade.  Damned if I didn't run out of thread before the very last leaf!  Guess I'll be ordering more in the morning! My long and short stitch tulip needs some help.  It's a new stitch for me.  The basket is chain stitch in Fiesta and looks fantastic in real life.

Well, does that look like 2 weeks worth of stuff to you?  It sure does to me.  Now, to get the Christmas cookies done by Wednesday, so I can ship them from work.  Ethan wants to go see Moana, he's learning to drive, too.  Then, maybe, just maybe, I'll get to relax and quilt my Roberta Anne with an "E" quilt.