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Monday, May 25, 2020

Just In Time

Hello again, dear friends.  After being on layoff for 2 months, they've asked me to start back up tomorrow.  I really hope I remember how!  I thought I'd have another month before the tuxedo industry kicked back in but apparently not.  Before all this happened we had planned to replace the floor in my studio/ office.  Luckily, Rich had a long weekend and Hunter was able to come install my new floor ahead of schedule.  I knew scheduling it while I was using the room for my office was going to be a disaster.  This is my cutting/ ironing and painting station.

Every art studio needs a big screen TV.
This was what was under the carpet all these years.  Ew.  The crazy thing is that they had this butting up to actual hardwood floors.  I bet it was spectacular when they also had the mirrored tiles on the walls...
Bookshelf, fabric yardage, thread, ribbon, bead storage.  The boxes at the bottoms hold my kits and templates.
Here's my sewing table and office space.  A realistic, messy view...
Truman's bed... he was so freaked out with the house being torn apart for the last few weeks that he's refusing to leave the bed now that it's all back together!  Honesty, Rich and Melissa are almost as freaked out.  Nobody likes change around here but me.  Rich is thrilled I'm going back to work, only because I won't have time to think of more house renovations.
A good look at the floor.  It's a luxury vinyl plank.  I'd only been using this room for a week when I dumped BBQ pulled pork and chocolate cake onto the old carpet.  Here's hoping this is a little more Heather proof...  It was a HUGE job that took a solid 2 days but they did a great job!  I'm super happy to finally have the studio just the way I wanted it!
During the last month, I didn't do a whole lot of stitching since I was busy with the kitchen cabinets and then the floors.  I did start a Quilt of Valor that I've had in the kit bin for almost 10 years...

Last year, I bought these embroidered blocks at a quilt show.  The stitching on them is exquisite.  But, she stitched through the fabric and batting.  So, I have a quilt as you go situation.  I butted the blocks together and stitched them in place.  Pinned the border & batting together and attached it.  Then, instead of making an applique sashing, I decided to use rick rack.  Big mistake.  I've been stitching rick rack down for weeks... It'll be cute in the end but it's a lot more work than I planned on.  Literally, the story of my life...
I did finally finish my Ireland crazy quilt book.

I was super gung ho on this in the beginning.  I thought I had plenty of ideas to fill the 5" blocks but as I went along, the ideas dried up.

So, I went on to Etsy and bought a bunch of charms that reminded my of my trip.  I re-did the flowers on the block below.  I like the more mellow color scheme a lot better than what I had originally.

I don't think I made any changes to this one.  I liked it the first time out.

This is a re-do as well.  I changed out the clover button in the top left corner.  Rich had given it to me for our anniversary several years ago, I knew I'd get to use it some day.  The cross in the bottom left was my mom's.  I've been saving the tiny clover beads forever as well.  The rose is a broken piece of jewelry.

That fairy door opens up.  Now I need to find the right picture to put in there.  It turns out that the Ireland island was printed on both sides.  I made it dangly with the airplane, passport and rainbow.
Other than that, I've still been working on Sue Spargo's Toned Down Sampler.  I'm about a week behind on that due to the renovations but I don't think I'll have too much trouble catching up.  Hope you're all safe and healthy!  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Is DIYing a Disease? Can It Be Treated?

Honestly, I'm DIYing my house to death.  Not to mention my hair...  Poor, unfortunate, Rich is exhausted from all the changes.  I made some strawberry jam a couple weeks ago and made a huge mess.  It set up well though and it doesn't always, so that was good.  Then I made something called Monkey Butter that tastes like baby food but the kids seem to like it.  The name intrigued me.  It's bananas, pineapple, & coconut.  It would make a decent cupcake filling.  IF ONLY I HAD A WORKING OVEN....
Digging through my stuff, I had a lot of strip fabric made.  Remember when that was popular?  It's been there for YEARS!  I had always intended to make Edyta Sitar's Coral Bells pattern.  Holy Y-seams, Batman.  I had enough pre-made strips to make 15 blocks before I ran out of off-white fabric.  Once I order more, I'll add alternating solid fabric blocks and a solid cream outer border so the flowers just kind of float around.
Then, I decided to start a red and green project.  This is from Jeana Kimball's book, Red and Green, An Applique Tradition.  Those cutout seeds were a real booger to do.
And, that's about when I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets.  I was washing them down and realized how terrible the oak looked after 17 years of Mantz torture.  Rich and I have disagreed about painting them white since we moved in.  So, we compromised by letting me get what I wanted.
I think it looks great with the island that Hunter made for me last year.  Now, I'd like to change out the back splash and counter top to match the island better.
We also changed the light bulbs to "day light" bulbs and the brightness nearly blinded us after so many years in a cave!  It's also really crazy how the paint changed the acoustics in the room.  Last, but not least, I added chalkboard paint to the tall cupboard for lists and what not.
If I'd known how much work that was going to be, I would have hired it out.  I kept telling myself how much $$ I was saving by doing it myself.  Hunter and Carmen got an estimate for their kitchen cabinets at about $1200-$1500 and our kitchens are about the same size. My paint and supplies came in about $150.  But, I'm going to be 49 next week and I have literally spent the last 2 months sitting on the couch stitching and watching tv.  Let's just say, my fitness level does not meet the requirements of ladders, sanding, squats, and bending over to paint for 5 days straight in our nasty, moldy, basement during monsoon season.  I told Rich, it's the first and last time that I'll ever be glad to have a small kitchen.  With any luck, we'll be ordering a new stove next week.  I CAN NOT WAIT!!  I'm going through baking withdrawals like you wouldn't believe.  There's only so much you can do in an air fryer...

Monday, April 27, 2020

Irish Memories

As I've said before, while doing the big room change, I've been confronted with how many unfinished projects I have.  Don't get me wrong, most quilters would think nothing of having 10 or so UFOs lying around.  I don't either really, but I kind of think of myself as a finisher.  Not to mention having to downsize.

Something that I started right before the room change was this crazy quilt tribute to my Ireland trip.  The blocks are small, 6" and there's only 5, so I figured it would be a quick and easy project.  A lot of it was already in my head but now that I've done them, I'm struggling for a few more ideas.  I don't love the multi colored sequin flowers on this block.  But, I love the beaded Celtic symbol and I thought the swirly lace screamed Celtic as well.  Someone pointed out to me that the charm of Ireland is backwards.  Love my beaded triangle symbol.  I'm sure it has a name...
I'm going to have to redo the satin stitching of the heart, it looks terrible.  But, the cottage is adorable!  I got the little bird charm for Christmas from one of my Crazy pals.  Perfect.
I love the sheep and his pal.  Actually, I like most of this block.  I bought the shamrock thinking it was a button.  Nope.  Luckily it had the grooves between the leaves so I could tack it down with something.
I've had that swan broach for a couple of years just waiting for the right moment.  The Celtic braided seam is a favorite.  As is the spoon and tea cup.  One of my absolute favorite memories of Ireland is the flowers there.  They're huge and EVERYWHERE!
And, here's where all the ideas ran out.  I was trying to go off of my personal experiences there rather than random Irish stuff but I may have to adjust my thinking.  I should add some Heather.  I wonder if I could find a ferry charm to remind me of the ride out to Inisheer, or the dog we met while we were there.  I'd like to find a cute little fairy.  Not that I actually saw one on the trip.  I did look, but no luck.
This is rather embarrassing.  I'm not sure how many years ago, but I got 2 Comfort Quilt kits from the guild to finish for donation.  I must have "put them away" and forgot all about them.  These blocks were already made and the borders were pre-cut for me.  Literally just had to assemble and quilt.  
They are both absolutely adorable and whomever made the kits did an amazing job.  This was a panel and it was as square as I've ever seen!  They had to have sized it before cutting.  Her cutting was spot on.  Seriously, I was amazed.  They each took a day to make.  So quick and simple.
I've been doing other things as well, so I'll be back soon with another update.  Stay healthy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Rollie Pollies or Alien Pods, You Be The Judge

Hello friends, I hope you're all healthy and happy.  I know social distancing is probably hard for a lot of you.  Not so much for me.  It's me, being me, only a little more hard core than usual.  I've been laid off now for 3 full weeks and have kept myself very, very busy.  
One thing that I've been having fun with is Sue Spargo's stitch along.  You can find it on her FB group Sue Spargo Folk Art Quilts.  They are doing her Toned-Down Sampler.  It consists of 1" circles in wool.  Every day they are posting a new design with instructions.  So, basically, 90 days of stitching.  Is this snail, not the cutest!?
I don't know if this whole lay off thing is going to last the full 90 days but hopefully, it's something I will continue even when life goes back to normal.
I'm up to 16 now, and have learned a few new stitches.  The frame around my daisy circle is the Crested Chain Stitch.  Had never heard of it before.
I think I'd done a Double Cast On Stitch before but I needed a refresher.  Tete de Bouf was a new one for me as well.  Basically, a fly stitch that ends in a chain.  My Double Cast On Stitches look like little bugs trying to crawl off my circle.
I used what ever scraps of wool I had left over from previous projects.  Then, I decided I would use whatever color was next, chronologically.  So, the Easter Basket arrived on a red circle... I should have made an exception.  The ones done on light wool were so much cuter than mine.  I think I'd done an Open Button Hole for the basket weave before but needed the tutorial for this one as well.
They love a Bullion Stitch.  These are all fabulous to do while you're solving crimes with NCIS and Miss Marple.
And, Cast On Stitches.
Needed a refresher on the Pekenese Stitch.
I thought this was so sweet.  One of the first circles on the list.  It was good to start off simple.  I might not have kept going otherwise.
Rosette Chain was new for me.  I struggle with the Double Cast On.  I think it looks like a Rollie Pollie bug or Silver Fish and I'm not comfortable with it at all.  Maybe if I changed the color?
I'd done a Palestrina Knot before but didn't remember it being so simple.

This one is very sweet, but I feel a very alien pod vibe from the Double Cast On flowers.  Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the pod thing that Ego was growing on Earth.  Just saying...
Some of the designs are more abstract than my usual taste.  This is a seed pod.  The non-symmetrical design has me a bit twitchy.   It's good to stretch my interests now and then.  
During the Great Room Swap of 2020, I've had to make some heavy decisions.  I'm not good at letting go of my things.  As quilters go, I am in NO WAY considered a hoarder.  I have a stash but I know many, many quilters with TONS more stuff than I have.   That being said, my stuff now dwarfs my space in some uncomfortable ways.  I have some really cool things and I don't want to get rid of any of it.  The struggle is real.

Solving that problem has taken up 80% of the last 3 weeks of my life.  That's a lot, right?  One solution is to finish my UFOs.  Generally speaking, I only have a few projects going at once.  This won't solve all my problems but it will help.  So, I finished the top to Bonny Hunter's Provence.  No idea why I thought doing this would be a good idea for me.  I am NOT a great piecer.  The long armer that I send this to for quilting is going to be cussing me 6 ways to Sunday.
This has been sitting for a few years.  At one point, I had the main blocks made.  I miss laid them and then forgot they existed.  So, I started making more HST, thinking I must have skipped a step.  Then, it sat some more and I found the missing blocks.  These are all my "extras".
Then, I finally get it all pieced, putting on the last pieced border...only to discover I was missing 2 of the 4 square cream blocks.  There was NO WAY in Heaven or Hell that I was making more blocks for this darn thing, so I added some random HSTs to the corner and told myself I was creating a mystery for future generations.  You know, when the ladies are all gathered around my quilt, 100 years from now, they'll be all "WTH?"
One of the first things I finished was this Broderie Perse wall hanging.  Which, I spell differently every time.  My apologies to anyone I've freaked out over that.  I'll save you the whole sob story on this one.  I think I went through it all in a previous post.  The important thing is that it's done and hanging on Melissa's wall.  She's happy with it, so I guess I will be too.  I do love the colors.  I'll have to remember them in the future.

We've painted my room.  I've put up tons of shelves.  I dare say, my new set up might end up better than the old.  Smaller, but I'm trying for a better use of space.  More on that later.

Stay safe my lovelies.  I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Definitely Not a Natural

My poor, long suffering husband.  Part of the deal when we decided to swap rooms was that I got new paint in the bedroom and bathroom.  Well, that led to replacing some damaged drywall.  Since we're at it, why not add another vent fan... and then you end up with a man who wonders why he ever met you.
Rich doesn't want me near house paint.  One time, back in CA, I was shaking a can of paint that slipped out of my hands... it was the perfect spot for a hallway rug, anyways...  Then there was the time that we painted the living room and I got paint all over the carpet and a recliner.  In my defense, the carpet was being replaced in a week and the new recliner was already on order.  He's never forgiven me, though.  So, imagine his horror when I announced my new hobby would be painting.

He doesn't appreciate abstract art, either.  Thinks I need to work on my blending techniques.  He's not wrong, but still.  This was another tutorial from Elle Byers on YouTube.
I did this Still Life following a Will Kemper Art School tutorial.  My best by far.
I think this was a Pinterest picture that I copied.  I bought a set of acrylic paints from Hobby Lobby that has a really high gloss to it.  I'm not a fan, I'll be going forward with something else when these are gone.
I also broke out the Donna Dewberry One Stroke books.  I used to be much better at that.
Here's a landscape that I did during a Hobby Lobby class.  That's not a waterfall in the distance... it's mist.  Rich is like, "why do you suppose you're so bad at that?"  "You're definitely not a natural."   Thanks, babe.  Wouldn't want to get a big head or anything.
Another YouTube tutorial.  We were working on blending the sky.  Again with the super glossy paint.  Eh.
Last, but certainly not least, my terrible lily pad.  I was liking the water, I even liked the pad.  I could live with the flower but then I put the leaves on the lily and it was suddenly transformed into a child's art project.
But, it's fun.  So I continue on.  Maybe, in a year, a won't be so bad.  Besides, we already need new carpet.

Stay safe my lovelies!