Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pack and Stack

I tell people my stash "only" fills one bookcase. 

To me it's just my stash, but Julie called it "amazing."  I thought it would be a piece of cake to pack. Pick up the fabric, put it in a container, repeat.

Ah, no.

First I had to stack the fabrics better so they weren't wrinkled, then I put them in plastic bags to keep them clean and organized.

This was just the first bin.  I filled three more. It took all afternoon.

and I am not finished.


I decided I have way, Way, WAY too much fabric.

Well, there's only ONE fun way to get rid of it... Make more quilts!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Christmas in August

The Christmas Random Plank quilt is back from being quilted. I've got the candy-cane binding already made. It will be nice to take a break from the packing to finish this up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Blast From The Past

Way back when, before I started making quilts, I did embroidery and then I got into needlepoint and later, into Bargello. 

This is about an eight inch section of a piece I made in college. Here's the whole thing.

I originally made this to be the seat of a carved side chair, but I parted with the chair years ago. This has been kept in a drawer for close to thirty-five years.

Question is, what do I do with it? I can't seem to just toss it in the trash. Here's another needlepoint piece I made at that time. This was an original pattern I designed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Black Box @ AQS Chattanooga & Des Moines

In all the craziness I don't know if I mentioned it, but The Black Box quilt will be on exhibit at the AQS show in Chattanooga September 10 - 13. If you go, take a picture of yourself with my quilt and send it to me. Here is the list of semi-finalists.

Then The Black Box will travel to Des Moines Iowa for the AQS show there October 1 - 4. The quilt will be in good company. My friend Julie's See Rock City quilt will also be on exhibit in both shows. Here is the complete list of semi-finalists.

I'm thrilled to have my quilt on exhibit.

Like they all say about the Oscars, "It's an honor to be nominated."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Runner

My pal Julie recently emailed me about redoing her dining room. The old runner she made for it needed a new home, and was I interested?  She asked because the fabric was in my Obsolescence quilt that she made for me.

Well, like, Duh!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fee, Fie, Pho!

Obviously this post is not going to be quilt related.

This is a bowl of Pho, or Vietnamese noodle soup (this one has rare beef that is cooked when the hot broth is poured over it). It's # 25 at The Golden Bowl, a local restaurant. I love the stuff.

I've submitted all the paperwork and had an interview with the Membership Committee for the co-op I'm hoping to move into.  It's probably just a formality, but still. I've lived in my current apartment for over twenty-seven years. In that time you collect a lot of junk. Over the last couple of years I've done a lot of de-cluttering, but there's a lot of stuff that still needs to go.

When my son came back last year, he took a lot of stuff, but left some cardboard boxes and plastic storage bins, as well as a gigantic bin full of college textbooks. The basement is a bit damp, so the cardboard smells of mildew. They had to go. So I went down there and flattened out the boxes, and sorted through a couple of other boxes, filling another bin to bring to Goodwill. I also brought all the textbooks up and piled them in the trunk of my car.

After that I cleaned out the hall closet, (which is where the vacuum cleaner lives), the linen closet in the bathroom, the bathroom cabinet (I found six, count them, SIX, travel sized bottles of shampoo), and sorted thru the cleaning supplies under the bathroom sink.

I put three garbage bags out in the trash bin, and left four under-bed plastic storage bins on the curb (where they disappeared inside an hour.) Then I made the trip to Goodwill. (It was the fourth trip in the last month.) After a trip to the big box hardware store to pick up light bulbs, extension cords and buy a floor lamp, then a trip to the health food store for garbanzo beans and farro, I was famished, tired and sore.

Nothing like a comforting bowl of noodle soup.

After which, of course, I didn't stop. I did the groceries, cooked up a batch of garbanzo beans, ordered new towels for the potential guest bathroom, brought a ton of stuff out to the recycle bin, made dinner, watched a lot of great tennis and did the dishes.

Yeah I know. blah-blah-blah.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

4 Zip Bags

The four little zippy bags are all finished and are on their way to my fairy niece and nephews.

I'm pretty happy with them although it did take me a bit to figure out how I made them!

Dear Megan, the co-op needs information about Millie because it is an over-55 facility, and they need to know (if the awful awful happens to me) if there is a pet in my home that will need care. They also wanted to know who would care for her if I was incapacitated.  They called me today after calling my references (all of whom called me to relay their stories) and I have a "First Meeting" with the Membership Committee on Friday.

The new place is out in the country, in a very quiet area, about 4 miles away. Millie will have EXCELLENT bird TV and I have a (tiny) screened in porch, so she is going to love that too. My new sewing studio is about 50% bigger than my current one, and has excellent natural light.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Didn't Think I Could Stay Away...

You didn't really think I could stay away from the sewing studio, now did you?

About five years ago I made these nifty little boxed bags to sell.

 They are about ten inches long by about 2" x 2".

My best pal Tracey texted me the other day telling me she had to get zippered pencil bags for her three school aged kids for their first day of school.

I volunteered to make some for my  "fairy niece and nephews," and since Tracey has four kids, I told her I'd make a bag for her littlest one too.
 Here are the fabrics I pulled for them.

Here's what I got done before it was time to go to bed. Later I'll sew up the end seams and "box" them, and they'll go out to my Maryland family before the week is out.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sort, Toss, Organize

There's a bureau in the far corner of my sewing studio. It's difficult to get to, so I don't use it as efficiently as I should.  When I got back there the other day I discovered why. There is all kinds of stuff in there I don't need and will never use. This is the pile of stuff I will throw away.

Even Millie helped.

Now the stuff in the bureau, and the stuff that used to be on top of it has been sorted and better organized.

Here are the answers to some of the comments in my last post.

Where? The next town over.
How far? About five miles
Yes, I will be enjoying the birthday couch.
When? About 53 days or so, assuming the co-op accepts my application,which will be submitted tomorrow (I need to photocopy some documents and provide a photo of Millie). They say the application should take about 14 days to process.

Cross fingers.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Looking Ahead

I am not cleaning the sewing studio. I am not re-decorating. I am preparing for the "M word," which, if everything goes according to plan,(read: if all the paperwork is approved), will happen in about fifty-four days.

Needless to say there won't be a lot of quilting going on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Backing for Life is 'Tweet

I'm sewing the backing for my Life is 'Tweet quilt. When you have fabric as pretty as this,

 and you plan to use it as a backing for a quilt, and it needs to be pieced, it just isn't right to sew pieces together so the pattern doesn't match.

 So I take the extra time to piece it together so the pattern appears to continue uninterrupted.  I never get a seam like this absolutely perfect, but I don't need "perfect". I only need the viewer to not notice it is pieced. I am happy with the way it came out.

So where is the seam?

(The most annoying thing about this is that I couldn't get the text to run absolutely parallel to the seam! I guess I really am a perfectionist.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's the Little Things

Not being able to get my left hand wet has made my life very interesting over the last few days. For just a moment, think about how you DON'T think when you do these things:

1. Wash your hands. (Ever try washing one hand one-handed?)

2. Wash your hair. (Easy-peasy in the shower. Tricker bending over a sink. Now try it one-handed. Now try it without getting your other hand wet.)

3. Cook dinner.  (Sure, this is easy, right? Now try it without getting one hand wet. I about freaked out yesterday when I was peeling a hard boiled egg. You crackle the shell and then run it under cold water, right? And hold it in one hand to the other while you actually peel the shell away with the other. My injured hand was holding the egg under running water...)

4. Type. Anybody who read last Wednesday's post knows how a bandage on one of your fingers can adversely affect your ability to type. It's very frustrating. Fortunately my day job does not depend on my ability to type.

5. Flex and wiggle your fingers. For the two days my finger was wrapped in a bandage large enough  to be seen a hundred feet away, I couldn't bend that finger. It was really irritating and uncomfortable.

So how did I cope?

1. I went to one of the big box hardware stores and bought an extra large pair of heavy duty neoprene rubber gloves with extra long cuffs. These gloves fit over the large bandage on my finger and allowed me to get the dishes done so my house wouldn't look like a slob lived there. I also used the large glove over a smaller one that I fastened around my wrist with a rubber band. That allowed me to bathe myself, and use my injured hand to properly wash the other one.

2. I went to the hairdresser to get my hair washed. $10 USD is a small price to pay for the luxury of having clean hair. It is absolutely amazing how much better you feel when you are CLEAN.

3. Restaurant workers all over the US wear gloves, and so did I. It was mildly uncomfortable, but it really made me concentrate to NOT cut myself again. The discomfort was well worth the ability to feed myself.

4. Um. This was made much easier when I got a much smaller bandage a couple of days after my injury, but it was still very frustrating. Going slower was the only real alternative, and this required patience, which I have been known to possess on rare occasions.

5. When my finger was being re-bandaged, the nurse set her scissors down to get something else, and I picked them up and trimmed the bulky areas of the bandage away. When she returned, we worked together to do it in a way that would cover the wound properly and yet allow me some mobility. For instance, she placed a piece of tape over one of my knuckles, and I suggested she stop it short of the knuckle so I could bend the finger. In the end, we were both happy and I made a fist and flexed my fingers while grinning from ear to ear.

I think I really need to find a cooking class or somebody to teach me (in person) the correct way to handle a knife and chop vegetables and stuff.  This isn't the first time I've sliced a bit off a finger while chopping vegetables.

The bandage is off now, and I am "good to go." My fingertip is a bit ugly, so I won't show you any pictures, but now water isn't my enemy. I cannot WAIT to take a shower and wash my own hair!


In quilty news, here are the blocks I have made so far based on the Gwen Marston strings quilt I showed yesterday. These are 6-1/2" squares.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Little Shakin' Goin' On...

The new table for my sewing machine sure does look good, but when I started sewing on it, it started vibrating badly. It was fine if I sewed s-l-o-w-l-y but I don't always do that.  So I hunted up something to better support the machine.
I found a piece of 3/4" plywood in the basement and stuck that under the sewing machine. That was much better, especially after I adjusted the feet on the extension table. But it was ugly, and one of the edges was very rough, as you can see in the photo above.

So I made a trip to one of the big-box hardware stores and bought a piece of 3/4" MDF (medium density fiberboard).  The advantage of MDF is that it's smooth and doesn't need to be sanded or painted (although I will paint it at some point in the future.)
This reduced the vibration nicely, but now I have another "problem." There's a lot of extra space over there that could be useful.

A nice new cutting mat will be very handy.

I also bought a few little bins for things that I will need when I sew. These will fit under the machine's extension table, within easy reach. There's a wire basket for scissors (I've since added a seam ripper), a divided container for pre-filled bobbins (I wanted one with a cover so they wouldnt go flying around if I accidentally knocked it on the floor), ans another little container for empty bobbins.

All of this is very good, because I saw a photo of one of Gwen Marston's string quilts in the new issue of AQ magazine.

and I was inspired.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Change

It's a 24" x 48" (61 x 122 cm) table for my sewing machine. I was hoping my taborets would fit underneath, but they won't.  Oh well. Adapt, improvise, overcome. This is going to make sewing things so much easier.

I went back to the urgent care clinic last night for a follow up visit. There is no indication of infection, so my bandage was cut down considerably. I can remove it five days after it happened (or Sunday evening) and soak the finger to dissolve the surgical foam. It's nice to be able to flex my fingers.