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. 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.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Week

I'll tell you what, this has been a crazy busy week!  Thanksgiving will do that to anyone!  

I thought I was done with the mermaid but I found these adorable fish beads and knew she needed them.  For some reason, my picture won't show... The lighting was so much better than before, go figure.  You'll just have to go with the tail shot for now, I guess.

 Look how great my burning bush is!  We had tried a couple times to grow one over the years.  This one finally took and it's a slow grower but this year it was amazing!
 We had Thanksgiving on Saturday because our schedules were so crazy this year.  Rich had to work
16 hours on Thursday & I worked Friday & Saturday morning.  Thursday was really weird for me because it was so quiet.  Rich did most of the cooking on Saturday.  That was another first for us.  I guess that's going to be my new normal now that the kids are getting older and will soon be off in different directions.
 Most of the week was spent working on Grandpa's quilt.  It took a whole day to piece the alternate blocks and another whole day to set the blocks.  Damned if I didn't have to make 4 more Flying Geese blocks at the very end.  Too many, not enough.  I tell ya, it drives me crazy.

 Last but not least, I made a few needle wallets to sell in my Etsy shop.  They're hand embroidered, using satin or velvet.  They're really elegant & I'm going to have a hard time parting with the hot pink one.  And, the black one with the clover.
 I do love lavender.
 Oh, but the clover on black velvet.  So pretty.  Bethany now wants me to embroider something on a black velvet dress for her.
Well, that wraps up another week.  After work tomorrow, I'll have to concentrate on quilting Grandpa's quilt.  Also, I found those 2 missing hexies... but now I have 2 of the same hexies going in the same flower. I think I've decided to not let it bother me.  That could change.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!  Now for some Christmas decorations!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

One Week Down, Five to Go

Well, hello friends!  Week one of Lay-Off is over and it was a busy one.  Nothing like having time off to keep you SUPER busy.  I had hoped to have more finishes to share but I did get a lot of almost finishes ready... If that makes any sense.

All of my CQJP blocks are finished and sewn together.  I've made some decisions about a border.  I'm going to finish it with an ivory border and I bought some beautiful lace to use as an inner border.  I was looking in to jacquard ribbon as the inner border but the one I wanted was $25/yd.  I need 4 yards.  I'm pretty sure Rich would frown upon a $100 investment on just the border.  We won't tell him how much all the bits and pieces have cost so far.  I won't tell if you don't tell.
 Not sure what I did to my camera but it stopped taking clear photos.  Maybe I just need to hold still.  This is my one and only real finish this week.  It's part of a group project with my guild.  Hopefully, many of us will make a small quilt that will fit together with everyone else's like a puzzle.  Clearly, they've gone with an "Under The Sea" theme.  I immediately chose a mermaid.  I didn't start this project this week.  It's been on going for  awhile.
 Her tail was filled in with chain stitches and beaded on top.  The tail fins are beaded a little more heavily.
The seaweed was done with several different fibers.  Then I attached several different do dads along the seaweed.  The little snail shells are real.  They were from a necklace that I got from the Goodwill.  Let me know if you want any.  It was a big necklace.
 The hair was also done with chain stitch.  The threads were from Caron Collection.  I liked them so much that I started carrying the thread in my shop.  The variegation in their thread is really beautiful!
 The other time sucking project I've had going on is my little lace cottage.  It's been really challenging.  I've taken out almost as many stitches as I've put in on this project.
 The pathway is Oyster stitch with a thick version from Caron Collection.  The fence was some of Pat K.'s mom's lace.  I painted the base so I wouldn't have to stitch the whole thing solid.   Those green tufts are supposed to be weeds in the yard.

 I put in rose bushes, irises, daffodils, tulips, and  wisteria.  More gardening than I've ever done in real life.  I love the little red wagon.
 So, I used some artistic license with the tree.  I realize that apple trees aren't usually taller than your house but I wanted some color in the leaves.  So, it's now an apple tree.  Also, when I first stitched the tree, Rich stopped by and asked if we could plant a bacon tree at our house.  Then, all I could see in the truck was a strip of bacon.  Luckily, Caron Collection has a thread, literally called Bark.  The variegation was much more subtle and now looks a bit more like wood and less like bacon.  Rich found the little swing seat for me.
 Found some bird charms and stitched a kite to fill in the big open space that was my sky.  The puppy button was a huge find!  He's so cute.  Also, I had birdhouses stitched in where the flower arch is now.  But, they weren't filling the space properly.  The bush in the center is covering up all my birdhouse holes...

 What I should have been working on was Grandpa's quilt.  I did get all of the Flying Geese finished. There are 80 of these blocks.  Naturally, I miss counted and have enough fabric cut to make another 80...
 And, last but not least, all of the hexies for my Mosaics quilt are done.  I either have 5 extra or I'm 2 short.  Not sure which yet.  I'll let you know wen I figure it out.

In between the stitching, I mangaged to watch all of the Harry Potter and Star Wars movies.  Sierra and I went on a little adventure that included Goodwill, Joann's and the zoo.  Then, Ethan, Bethany and I went to IKEA, the London Tea Room and a gem show.  Like I said, nothing like some free time to make sure you're WAY to busy!

If I don't see you, I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving and I'll check in with you again next week.