Friday, September 22, 2017

Northwest Spirit Dreams

After my most recent adventure with the sump twins,  I thought maybe I would have a couple of days to sew.  First of all I don't know about where you are but it was almost 90 degrees today, with a humidity level of 70%.  I won't go outside, if I can avoid it.  It was like that yesterday, my phone app said it was like being in a sauna.  Last time I looked it was September, the end of September....if my calendar is telling the truth the first day of fall.

I am prepping for snow though.  Yep, I am.  Last year we had one snowy day that necessitated plowing, while Jeff was still alive.  Now normally I will plow if he was at work.  After he plowed that day I was told, "Do not drive that plow!".  I never asked why.  Jeff was killed and a few days later we had snow-enough that I needed to plow.  I jumped into the plow and went to make my first pass, and tried to stop, and I had no brakes!  Luckily I had a pile of snow about 5 foot high and it stopped my forward momentum, leaving a 5 foot mountain of snow at the front of my driveway.  I backed up slowly and parked the plow.  Samantha and I ended up shoveling our drive twice after that.  My main mechanic is gone, the snow plow is not street legal and I knew I needed to get it fixed, after all winter is on its way (she says with sweat rolling down her face in 90 degree weather).  

I was perusing Craigslist and I saw an ad for a mobile mechanic.  He had a website, and a Facebook page.  I thought heck what can I lose?  I messaged him, he came out and looked at the truck.  Lets just say that he was truly heaven sent.  He and Jeff would have been best buds.  He quickly determined it was a brake line, and warned me that because the brake system is a closed system that once one is fixed all the rest may blow in turn once the pressure is put on them from the fluid.  He fixed the line, and I was blessed no more lines blew.  He charged me $125.  Yep I am going to score that in the answer to prayer column!  Great guy, honest, hard working and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg--he finished fixing my plow, and  double checked my hydraulics.  He also looked at my pick up which has been giving me fits.  He put a machine on it and determined it was just the battery.  I said cool, I will run to the nearest parts store and buy one.  He told me wait a minute.  Called the parts store, gave them his business ID and told them I would be in to pick up a battery.   I got an almost $200 battery for $106 commercial discount.  

At the parts store the sales guy brought out the battery, told me it was $150 when I returned the core I would get $44 returned.  
I smiled at him and said, "But I thought you guys installed batteries?"
He looked at me and said. "Um not for commercial sales."
I smiled and said, "Can I play the widow card here?" ( I mean truly have you lifted a car battery?  Do you know how much they weigh?)  
He looked at me skeptically and said, "Really?"
I told him, "Yep, my husband was killed about 7 months ago."
He still kept kind of looking at me.  I smiled and said, "Um what if I tell you a story that will make you laugh so hard you pee your pants?"
He said,  "Sure."
Another guy came over and I related my sump pump fiasco.  The guys were laughing so hard, he picked up my battery, grabbed a wrench and out the door we went.  Blessing and answer to prayers 2.  Got both of my vehicles fixed for less than $250.  

By then I decided I had adulted enough I could sew.  Remember where I spoke of my "Brain Worm"?  You can read about it here for a refresher.  I worked on my quilt for a bit, napped, and read a book for the rest of the day.  

Today was the day.....which fizzled miserably.  The cold I have is not cooperating, it is hot, humid, and I sat and finished listening to a book called Island of the Blue Dolphins.  Then I knew it was time.  I started sewing and even got my borders on!

I used Moda Grunge Little Black Dress, Moda Grunge Cherry, and the white tribal print is Elizabeth Studio's Native Spirit in Red.  The design is Northwest Coastal Native American art motifs.

My quilt turned out to be 86 1/2 x 86 1/2.  The pattern is a blown up version of a Squash Blossom block.  I will start to calculate if I have enough fabric remaining and HST to make a back.  I even have an idea how I want to quilt this one!  I need to figure out a name for this quilt.  I was thinking Northwest Spirit Dreams since I had this quilt design stuck in my brain for over a year. 

I also got another start today under my belt.  I will wait to share that until later.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Down in the Sumps

Last Wednesday I had to go to the basement.  I was going to grab a jar of green beans for dinner from the fruit cellar.  While on my way down, I grabbed some molding that I had removed from the great aunt's room which I am demoing.  I was going  to take the moulding I salvaged and put it  on a work bench on the opposite side of the basement from the fruit cellar.  I walked through, and thought something is just not right. 

Took a look at the sump pump and realized that water was ready to breach the top of the pit hole.  Now the sump is totally out of my realm of knowledge.  I know that all our gray water goes into it (kitchen sink, dishwasher, washer, bathroom sinks, showers, tubs) I also am aware that when the water gets so high a pump is supposed to kick on and it pumps the water out through a series of pipes that discharge the water towards the ditch out front by the road.  In the few minutes I have been standing there it has dropped a couple of inches.   I think, " OK I am good for tonight!"  Look at the weather and it is supposed to be clear the next day (I had a class all the next day and guild) so I figure I will work on it Friday--just in the meantime no dishes, showers or laundry.  


Friday I carried down a submersible pump that I have, and ran a hose into the basement from outside.

 
Last year I was complaining to Jeff about the dryer vent that had been broken out of the basement window--cold, bugs, leaves were constantly coming in.  We have glass block windows and when Jeff had them installed years ago a dryer vent was installed in this one window, but now that the laundry had been moved upstairs it didn't really serve much of a purpose anymore.

My suggestion was why couldn't we cement a PVC pipe into the opening, put a cap on one end and a plug on the other end.  That way if we ever needed to run a hose in/out, or a generator just take the caps off  both sides and run the line/hose in/out.  As you can see for some reason Jeff thought it needed a hole in one of the caps.  Anyway, my idea worked perfectly and in about 1/2 an hour the sump was empty thanks to the submersible pump. 
 I sat there studying the pumps, and feel like I sat staring into the abyss trying to figure out how this whole system was put together f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Really was only about 20 minutes. 

Two pumps, and they have these couplers which are tightened down with hose clamps.  I figured loosen the hose clamp.  Pull the pump and I can work on it.  I started on the one on the left.  Came apart easily and pulled the pump up, and realized there is a lot of gunk in that pit. Also something is definitely missing from the pump.  So off to research and read Google.  According to several articles I read, the pit should be cleaned out once a year.  I don't think this one had been cleaned out in at least a decade.  Can you say ewwww?  So I grabbed an old spatula which was sitting by the pump and started trying to fish the blobs of gunk out.  I wasn't having much success, but I did find the part that was missing from the pump, I got lucky and hooked it out. I wasn't going to use any of my kitchen tools to do this so off to Amazon to locate a tool to strain the gross stuff out.

A Chinese strainer.  Ladle the gunk out without getting a bunch of water with it.  Sump repair postponed-- put the floaty thing onto the pump, and the pump back into the pit.  Run water into pit.  Nothing happened.  WHAT?  The floaty thing is on.....then follow the cord.

Um it has been unplugged!  Someone unplugged it when using the shop vac recently (Not me).  Plug it in and try filling the sump again.  Still no dice.  Off to wait for the delivery of my Chinese strainer...per Amazon it will be here Sunday!  Also I discover I can manually trigger one of the pumps with the spatula by pulling up on a lever, but once it is empty I have to press it down to shut it off too. 

Sunday.  No strainer.  Go to Amazon.  Someone who shall be nameless forgot to hit the buy button.  Click the buy button.  Strainer deliver ETA Tuesday.  

Monday, and Tuesday it is pouring.  I start to stress a bit about the sump, but if I shower, do a load of laundry,  wash dishes, or run the dishwasher,  I run downstairs and trigger the sump pump.  Tuesday the strainer arrives. 

Today.....I was supposed to meet Kris for a shopping trip to Shipshawana, but I came down with a cold and I really did not want to spread disease.  I think it will be a good day to work on the sump.  I head downstairs with my strainer, a couple plastic bags, a bucket and some dish soap.  There is a method to my madness.  

First order of business.  Fill the bucket from the laundry sink downstairs with hot, soapy water and take it by the pit.  Second step choose which pump I will work on.  I decide the pump on the right.  I don't know how this one works.
The one I am working on has a back flow preventer.  Loosen the hose clamps and start to work the coupler apart.  Of course once I get to a certain point, the pipe starts to leak at the coupler, then the coupler breaks free from the pipe with a splash and my arms are doused in dirty, black water, and of course it has also splashed onto the work bench next to the pit.  I pull the pump out with a 4 foot pipe section attached and set it into the bucket of hot soapy water, hoping that some of the grease and grime will break up from the dish soap.  

I  then use the nifty little strainer and I fish out a shopping bag full of gunk.  As I am doing so I feel drip, drip, drip.  Yep that black, nasty water that splashed onto the workbench.  It is dripping off right onto the back of my head.  Most definitely will be a shower after this escapade.   Once I think it is clean enough, I trigger the pump remaining in the sump to make sure I have anything that can be chiseled off removed.  I will spare your delicate senses with any pictures of the globby goopy stuff.  Lets just say hurrah for the strainer or it would been a drippy, globby, goopy mess. 

Now to clean the pump. I grab a milk crate, turn it over to sit on it and proceed to break the chunks of goop off the pump.  Now this pump is different than the one with the toilet floaty looking thing.  This one has a rod, which is totally surrounded by gunk (imagine taking a pencil and encasing in clay).  I work the stuff off, and discover there is a rubber ball on this rod, that I am going to assume will float as the sump fills.  I lift the pump out of the water, and clean the fins around the bottom of all the gunk, thinking I really should have brought a hard bristle brush down to do this since I am using my hands and finger nails.  Can you tell I am definitely not a have my nails done type of girl?  I finish cleaning the rod with the other floaty thing.  I set the pump back into the bucket of now hot, sudsy, black, gunky water, and.....WHOOSH!  The pump flushes the water in the bucket straight up into the air, through the 4 foot length of pipe which is still attached, hits the basement ceiling/AKA the subfloor of the house, and, yep you guessed it I had the pump dump a 5 gallon bucket of blech on me.  My hair was soaked, glasses, shirt, bra, jeans, and underwear. I jump up, dumping the shopping bag full of the gunk which I have fished out and stepped in the pile with my bare feet.   I started laughing at first,  an then crying....  After my short pity party, I thought well heck.  (Sorry no pictures of me during the fiasco, but rest assured the visual you will come up will more than suffice)  I had thought that I had unplugged that pump.  Nope.  So I unplugged the pump, finished reinstalling it with all the fittings,  filled the pit and it triggered.  Yay for me!  I then proceeded to remove the pump 2.  Making sure that I unplugged it first, cleaned it, installing the toilet floaty looking thing correctly, and got that pump back into the pit and hooked up for my back- up in case of failure of one of the pumps.  Yes I actually made sure both were now plugged in also. 

Lets just say that I was so gross, if I had a towel downstairs and shampoo I would have showered down there.  First I used the spatula and scraped the greasy, grimy, goop off the bottom of my feet, then off the floor and back into the shopping bags.  I then went upstairs and started to shower.  My hair felt like I had mud stuck into it, and it was near impossible to get it out.  I used a fingernail brush and managed to get the black off my hands, and from under my fingernails, and after a good 45 minutes I felt human once again. 

I then called my mom to share my adventure, because everyone needs a good laugh at someone else's expense early in the morning their time.  

Oh and here is a slight reference to how yucky this water is.  This is my sterling band with Kokopelli on it, which I have worn for years.  Even after scrubbing all the yuck off,  it actually instantly tarnished my ring to the point I could barely get it off my finger (you would understand if you have ever polished really tarnished silver it actually gets very sticky).


I am sure that Jeff was laughing hysterically in heaven at this adventure.  I am pretty proud of myself because I figured it out and did it on my own, even though I got an unintended yucky shower.  I think I need to have a set of sump tool (including some rubber gloves) sitting near the pit.  Also I have it etched on my brain how it all works, like make sure I unplug the pumps when working on them, and that I only have to do this once a year.  And most importantly of all.....thank the good Lord that both pumps are working and I don't have to buy new ones right now. 











Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hodgepodge

 Hodgepodge-- A heterogeneous mixture:  Jumble

Yep that is my life in one word some days.

About a month ago I was looking for my rotary cutter blades.  I had purchased a 10 pack of the titanium ones in January.  I looked all over my house and could not find them.  So I ordered a new 10 pack.  I know I had seen them most recently in the month of May.  Hmmmm.....

I cleaned off my 301A machine.

Can you see it?

Yep there they were sitting under a pile of Jeff's shirts which were prepped to be made into quilt blocks and other miscellaneous detritus.  Now I have at least 18 new blades, as long as I don't nick a ruler the titanium last quite a while.

That my friends is a pool noodle.  What is it doing laying on the floor in the house?  I want you to know that finding a pool noodle in mid September is a fete of mammoth proportions--at least in Michigan.  I finally found one at the dollar store on the close out table for 75 cents.  Now I can understand close outs, but if it is a dollar store, explain to me why bread is $1.25?  Just wondering....how can everything be a dollar if it is $1.25.  Is it like the old 5 and dime stores?  Was there anything that was really just a nickel or a dime?  Sorry I digress.....can you tell I am procrastinating?  More on that later--maybe even in another post.  Anyway back to the pool noodle.  Recently I watched a video on quilting on a mid arm and how to handle larger quilts.  There was a suggestion to use a pool noodle.  Cut it in 1/2 or 1/3, take a portion of the noodle and center it along the top edge of your quilt in relation to where you want to quilt and roll it down.  Do the same thing for the bottom edge of your quilt and roll it up.  Now take your sides, and just loosely roll them in and secure with a large straight pin, like a corsage pin or something similar.

Tada, make the quilt easier to handle, nope haven't tried it yet, been a wee bit too busy.

Sweet, lovely Kris at Kris Loves Fabric shared that she loved the Awesome Ocean pattern by Elizabeth Hartman--so of course I had to send her a little surprise.  The little minx (Kris) made her first Octavian Octopus, and showed him off on Instagram.....then challenged me to make one too!  I thought well I can't let that happen, I have to go make a fabric pull. I should be able considering my  SABLE (Stash Beyond Life Expectancy).  But then I had a couple of off days and couldn't choose.  Fat Quarter Shop to the rescue.  Did you know that Robert Kaufman has a line called Reef?  Did you know that there is a coordinating bundle of Kona solids and Essex Linen (not shown, it hasn't arrived yet)?  I do!  Lets just say it takes the thinking out of the equation right now. 
Half yard bundle of Reef by Robert Kaufman fabrics, and Moda Concrete textures in Pearl for the background. 
I also chose some Sale fabrics from Thousand's of Bolts, a couple of these won't work, they have been culled from the herd, appropriately contained on comic book boards to find their way to the "stash".


Then I had a Batik Bundle of Surf Squirt by Island Batiks from Claudia Pfiel that I had won a while back.  I added that to the mix.

Throw in some scraps.
 I think I have a pretty awesome collection of fabrics for the Awesome Ocean quilt, especially when my reinforcements of Kona and Essex linen.  I don't have a lot of solids, maybe I can forage something from the dreaded stash until it arrives. 

As of Thursday Kris was ahead of me 2 Octavian Octopi, and 2 Puffy the Puffer fish and an Angelica.  I haven't checked today (Friday) , I was too disheartened.....:D..... just....can't....go....on.

Oh look my Kona solids/essex linens arrived!

Some of it is sparkly too!

This is where I am going to end this tale....I got side tracked with life...which will be shared in the next post.








Monday, September 18, 2017

When Life Gives you Lemons

Remember that old  Mama's and The Papa's song "Monday, Monday?"  Oh today was that day.  Started out I work up and felt a wee bit stuffy.  I thought maybe we were going to have some thunderstorms come through, cause I usually get a sinus headache when we do. 

Came downstairs to get dressed, and kicked the cat water in the dark.  Lucy for some reason will pull her food and water bowls out from the wall into the lane of traffic where I walk.  Cleaned that up.  Normally her bowls and the little pad they are on, is parallel with the china cabinet in that little space, fits perfectly, but there are times Miss Thang thinks it needs to be somewhere else. 

I wandered into the sun room after grabbing a cup of coffee, and the cat had yacked on the couch, down the back cushion where I sit.  Cleaned that up.  Aren't you glad I am not sharing a picture of that? 

Normally I read a couple of pages from a devotional and then listen to the Bible for about 15-20 minutes.  My Kindle died.  Grabbed my other Kindle, it was dead too!  So I only got to hear a couple of chapters.  Then I ran around the house trying to get the chargers to work just right. 

I had some stuff I wanted to start but I thought before I do that, I wanted to get some things accomplished first.  I decided that I needed to make the guild Friendship block so I would be ahead a bit.

This is a modified disappearing hourglass.  I got the first part done easily.  Then had to do the sub-cuts. I had a problem with a seam, so took it off the board to press it down into submission.  Put it back and did the cuts.


Yep you see my problem?  Somehow I got off by a 1/4 inch.  That was the end of that block.  There is no salvaging this.  Now normally the lady that writes up the blocks puts down the fabric line.  Nope not this time.  So I went on a search and destroy mission.  It is a RJR fabric called Happy Owl-oween.  Found it at Fabric Shack in Waynesville, OH, and ordered it.  Mission accomplished.  So I must wait for my fabric to come in and try again.

Well since I made a mess of this I thought I would try something new---cause messing up one thing why not go for the gusto. I started cutting my brain worm quilt. I will admit I made 1 cutting error and cut what was supposed to be a 10 1/2 inch block at 10 inches, but after that everything went swimmingly.  In my defense I have changed ruler brands lately, moved from using Omnigrid to Creative Grids rulers.  I love the 6 X 24 omnigrid ruler, but even with rubber circles it slips sometimes.  The Creative Grids ruler I purchased is 6 1/2 x 24 1/2.  Hold the ruler one way the marking are whole number, flip it around and they are the 1/2 numbers.  That is where I created my cutting problems. 

I got all my parts cut.  I keep track of the row parts using a post it note and binder clip.  I bought a huge box of the binder clips earlier this year to help put the swimming pool together.  I will say they help quite a bit to keep my parts organized as well as getting the pool together.  Binder clips are  especially great for keeping the parts in order on my quiltworx quilt. 

I then got brave and started to sew. 

One partial row done.  Yes I know you can't tell a whole lot yet.  I am pretty pleased with the results so far. 

About then the kids got home from school and Sam came down to help me winterize the pool.  Now it was gray, overcast and hot all day long.  When she showed up, it started to pour.  Lets just say that it is supposed to rain for the next couple of days, so the pool is not getting closed up.  We did throw the solar cover on it though to try to keep some of the dirt and leaves out--shooting for Thursday or Friday closure now. 

I did have some happy mail today.  When I was taking the class at guild last week one of the ladies had a book to make quilts using the creative gridscurvy log cabin trim tool.

 While I was looking I also saw this book using the pineapple trim tool which I just so happen to own also. 
Nothing like having a lot of inspiration.

Finally I will leave you with a picture of Miss Lucy.  I packed the parts for Jeff's T-shirt quilt into a shoe box.  Guess who has decided she should be able to fit?






Saturday, September 16, 2017

Brain Worm

Have you ever had an idea for a quilt?  Not using a pattern?  Something you made up in your own little wee brain?  I know lots of my bloggy friends do, but I don't do it often.  Well, I had an idea.  Then I saw fabric that I had to buy, which would work with my idea perfectly, so I ordered it.  

I then sat down with graph paper, drew the design out, measurements of my different fabric cuts and figured out how much background fabric I would need so I didn't have to piece large strips together for my borders.

I am sure I am Fat Quarter Shop's favorite person as of late!

I ordered 6 different cuts of what appeared to be red Moda Grunge--  Cherry, Geranium, Maraschino, Raspberry, Rocacco, Sateen.  Colors Right to left, and yes I actually labelled them for future reference.  FYI post it notes do not stick to cloth well, will have to use some straight pins.  :D

 Threw my main/focus fabric on top and started eliminating.

Geranium, Raspberry, and Rocacco were out.  That left 3, thank goodness I was worried it was going to be tougher than that.

Laid the 3 on top to see which matched the best.  I will say that it is hard to tell, but the focus fabric has a dark red and a lighter red.  So the Cherry (far right) or the Maraschino (center) were great matches, but I decided I wanted to go with the brighter Cherry.

I went with the lighter red because my background is going to be Moda Grunge Little Black Dress.

Now to see if I can execute to make my idea work.











Friday, September 15, 2017

Creative Grids Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool

Thursday was guild day and I actually signed up to take a class during the day, something I normally do not do.  First of all I am sharing my project and purchases, I am in no way affiliated with Creative Grids, nor am I receiving any compensation for my review/post. 

Rita Fishel from Creations Sew Clever in Chillocathe, Ohio was the teacher and she was teaching quilts using the Creative Grids Curvy Log Cabin Ruler.  I had been told that I needed 14 fat quarters, and 3 1/2 yards of background, and 1/2 yard of a focus fabric and the 8 inch size curvy log cabin trim tool.

Of course I had the 6 inch size so I just had to purchase the 8 inch.  Right?

Since I had been having a challenge choosing fabrics, I get that way sometimes lately-- I cheated and purchased a fat quarter pack of batiks, taking one of the light colors from the batik for the background, and chose 2 different focus fabrics.
I decided to use the large sunflower for my focus fabric when it was all said and done.

Remember when I said I am a slow sewer?  I finished 8 blocks and have another 4 blocks-- 3/4 finished.  I worked diligently to get that many finished.  Many others only managed to finish a couple.  I will say that the trim tool helps make these blocks pretty effortless as long as you remember a couple of simple rules.  Always start with your wide strips, and working around to your narrow then trim.  If you are chatting too much or not paying attention is may be frustrating when you make a mistake.  Below you can see me playing with the layout of my 8 blocks.  


You can see how you get the curves. Depending on how you layout your blocks you can end up with all sorts of different designs that look curvy. 

Rita is a Creative Grids instructor so of course at guild Thursday night she had a trunk show, shared some information about the different creative grids rulers and trim tools, and had some creative grids rulers for sale, and patterns too.

Patterns for the curvy log cabin trim tools.  What is cool is that while the pattern is for a specific size curvy log cabin trim tool, your ruler tells you how wide your strips, and squares will be and you can adjust accordingly.  Also I think this would be a marvelous way to utilize those strip scraps I have been hoarding saving.  And be still my heart they now have a 4 inch curvy log cabin trim tool.

Patterns for using the pineapple trim tool.  Again they have a large which will make a 6, 8 or 10 inch pineapple block.  They have a mini that will make a 4, 5, or 6 inch pineapple.

I will say I do like using the trim tool, and once you get the hang of it, your blocks fairly fly together, as long as you aren't too OCD about how scrappy. 


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sewing and Searching

I have been doing a wee bit of sewing, but not as much as I should be doing.  I decided it was time to get my blocks for guild done. 

This block is called Twice as Nice.  Sorry not a great picture, of course when I went to take a pic it was cloudy and rainy.  The black on white was the guild fabric, I was supposed to add a cool, bright fabric. 
I had to look up what a cool bright color was.  Thank goodness for Google. 

I also got my bag lady block done.

Once that was done I contemplated....what to do? 

I decided it was time to do another one of Jeff's shirts. 

Three inch shoo fly blocks. 

I am still in search for a buttery yellow reproduction fabric for my saw toothed square block, so I keep accumulating, but not being very successful. I also wanted a couple of more neutral blocks. 

Since the color for the month of September is orange, I started looking for a few. 

More orange and yes--Chicken fabric.  I also needed some neutrals and the strip pack with 24 strips for $12 fit the bill. 

I love Lecien fabrics, especially the soft colors.  I saw this line called LaConner and I knew I needed to make a quilt out of the fabric.  

There was even a free pattern, which fit the bill, so all the fabric to make the quilt is here.

Finally I have class this Saturday for the Quiltworx quilt.  


I got all of my pieces done.  I think we are getting close to final construction.  Can't wait.  Only 3 more classes until the final reveal.