Friday, December 27, 2013

Quiet Christmas

Christmas was a lovely day.  This is the first time for many years that only adults were in attendance.  We had a small intimate dinner of Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, fresh baked dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and Strawberry-Cranberry Jello salad.  With a choice of Lemon Meringue or Pumpkin pie to finish off the feast.  I pulled out the China and it was lovely  to sit and visit.  Way too much food remaining. All the kids were spending holidays with their significant other families, so no little ones running around.  Lots of oldesters though.  They ranged from 73-91 years old not including me and DH. The Ancient ones had a great time sitting and visiting and really did not want to go when I shoved them out the door homeward because it was snowing. 

The kids were supposed to come on Sunday after church for Sunday supper, and to open gifts.  How many people used to have Sunday Supper with their grandparents and or other family members after church?  My memory may be waning at times but I remember many suppers with the grand parents.  Maybe that should be a new tradition for our household at least once a month.

Plans change though, the youngest daughter was in a car wreck, and totaled her van, which was the only vehicle big enough to haul her and the 4 kiddos.  While she is feeling very distraught and frustrated, I am so very thankful that she and the kids were not injured, and it was just her car. 

DH cleaned the house, which meant of course the family room sewing machine was closed up, and my little crazy wee projects put away, the machine on the dining room table was put away as well as the cutting station and everything he could not decide where to put it ended up in my sewing room. 

I put stuff away and had enough room to work a bit on my jewel box quilt.

Still plugging away.  I have twenty-three of the thirty-six blocks done, and a bunch more staged.  All I need to do is sew like the wind!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Playing the Numbers

Have you every started really considering how many parts are in a block or a quilt of a certain size you want to make?  Remember my Jewel box quilt?  I was so proud of myself I was thinking halfway there.  Maybe I should kind of get all my black HST ready.

Looking at my block.  It means I need 8 of the HST per block.  Which translates to 4-4 7/8 inch black matched with 4- 4 7/8 inch cut Batik block... you know the drill draw the line down the center, sew 1/4 inch on both side and you have 2 HST.  I grabbed my handy dandy calculator cause I don't do math anymore in my head since I no longer work in the industry that I used to.  OMG!  That translates to 144 blocks to make and since I get 2 blocks at a time so I need 72.  I started counting....I have 10, 24, 36, 48 all of them.  OK I will admit I have been taking my time writing this post. 
Now I just kind of have to let myself go and finish up my blocks because while 18 of the blocks were actually kind of color schemed these I am going to attempt to go a wee bit more scrappy looking.  I finished one and then I had some chores to get done.

DH got the two walls painted that we had peeled the awful wallpaper off of and because the walls had not been treated correctly the wallboard paper peeled, the primer actually bubbled and peeled....let's just say nightmare.  DH put a light skim coat over the wall we he primed, and then painted.  OK everyone how many of you end up doing some kind of major home improvement project before Christmas. 

Today was family cookie day.  The oldest daughter and her two daughters came as well as the youngest daughter and her 4 children.  We also used it to celebrate Gabe's 5th birthday since last week was the snowstorm and everyone was working.

We made lots of the "family cookie recipe" and they were all frosted and got sprinkled.  Some more than others.

We had pizza lunch, and cake.  Then watched a movie.
OK I know this sounds mushy but this picture brings joy to my heart.   From left to right.
Gabriella, Finley, Addyson, Emmalyn, Xander, and Gabriel.  Love to have the cousins here to play together and spend time.

After they left we at least got a Christmas tree up.
It needs decorations, but I am banished from the attic until I am much better.
Then DH was called into work.  Water main break.....oh well overtime and I have some knitting to do.
Yes this is the same dishcloth I told you I am very slow.  I also have a slow stitching project that I came up with finally for DH.  What do you get the man who have everything?  Including me?  While it may not be ready for Christmas it will definitely be ready for our upcoming anniversary.  OK off I go I am going to take advantage of him being gone and go drag it out and work on it! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oh Snow!

We have been hit with snowstorm after snowstorm.  What does it mean?  DH is working lots of overtime with the city, the youngest daughter who decided to be a stay at home mommy works for a landscape company to help shovel at $10, and I get to look out the window at the wintery lovliness.

I love fir trees in the snow. 

Because his momma was working The Finn came to stay the night, and the next day. 
Finn was not feeling his usually finny self.  He spent most of the day on the couch with his Rheema, either just playing with his toys, or occasionally mauling me.  Finn loves his Grandpa Jeff and kept watching for him to come home. 

In the mail I got a couple of goodies.

This lovely Charm pack and cute card and gift tag from Lesley the Cuddle Quilter.  Lesley hosted the Country Charmer QAL all year and I so enjoyed the QAL even though I did not finish my quilt.  It is a definite one I want to complete soon.  Don't you love the lovely note card it is even quilty looking!

Earlier in December Jacquelynne Steves hosted a blog hop called the Holiday Hullabaloo.  Several bloggers were invited to share a Christmasy project with a give away and Jacquelynnne would provide a surprise pack for the winner for each blog.  I won the giveaway from Connie at Freemotion by the River.

Two beautiful quilt patterns, a super cute notecard/stationary set, and a gorgeous pendant.
As to the sewing/quilting?   I hit the halfway mark.  I have 18 blocks completed. 

While I have had kind of a method to my madness all along-- which was to kind of keep a color scheme going for each block I am kind of thinking that the final 18 are going to be more random.  Hmmm took me a year to make 18 I wonder if it will take me another year to make the final 18? 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Slow Going

I am a terrible patient when it comes to healing.  My knitting is rudimentary at best and slowwwwww. I hate sitting and watching TV and really wanted to sew. 

Yesterday I cleaned up the dining room table (no I did not pick up any sewing machines to move them) and ironed, cut strips, marked, sewed and ironed some more and finished 1....yes count it 1 jewel box block!  
Which made block 13.  I then thought I need to get a handle on how many blocks exactly I need for this quilt.  Each block is 16 1/2 inches which is 16 inches finished.  I would like this to be a nice big quilt so 6 x 6 would make a nice big 96 inch square quilt.  That means I would need 36 blocks total and I am at 13.  Yowza that is a lot more blocks. 

When DH returned from work yesterday, he sanded, washed, and primed the dining room walls and I continued to cut, and marked the black I have been using for this quilt. 

Today was supposed to be clean house for family cookie day today.  Instead I woke up this morning because it was just too quiet.  I looked outside and it had began to snow.  DH and I got up, had a cup of coffee and out the door he went.  Even with just a couple of inches he wanted to plow our drive, ancient uncle's drive, and the lady next door to get a jump on it.  I teased him that he just needed a little testosterone. He smiled and said there was a method to his madness.  DH no more and came back in and sat down to drink another cup of coffee and he was called into work for the city he works for to sweep/broom, and salt all day long.  DH never hung a plow today on a truck, but he is taking a break for a few hours to come home, plow our driveway again, and salt, change into some dry clothes, eat, fill the boiler to keep me warn and toasty and head back into town. It is still snowing quite heavily and does not look like it is going to stop for several more hours. 

While watching the snow I did another block today.
It is still snowing, I am all warm and cozy watching White Christmas and enjoying the quiet.  I think that family cookie day may be cancelled since the daughter and her significant other have been plowing and shoveling snow for over 18 hours so far today and they have to go back and redo the original properties that they did at the beginning.

Hope everyone is safe and warm.   

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Whirlwind

As you know I had a procedure last week.  I love the term procedure.  It used to be called surgery, now it is a procedure--makes me feel like I had a face lift, tummy tuck, some old parts perked up or something, not getting a hernia in my abdomen repaired.  Leaving me with a 6 inch line which is just glued together.  Things that make you go hmmm. 

Anyway I am having a hard time sleeping, I can't take the pain pills they make me ill and I get really tired quickly.  Yesterday DH came home and looked at me and asked what have you been doing today?  It wasn't one of those I am interested in what you were doing it is one of those OMG how do you cause so much destruction while you are supposed to be resting!

I made cookies, well cookie dough I explained and he just looked at me and asked.  "You do realize you are like a mini tornado that hits the house everyday.  With working, the overtime, my mamma, and grandmother I can barely keep one tiny step ahead of you."

His next question since you are not feeling well by the way where are your cookies?  In the fridge I explained.  They get made then can chill for up to 48 hours before being baked. 

I felt bad.  I decided I would try to get a wee bit more done.  But heck when you can get 1 dozen cookies done and you are just exhausted and feeling queasy it is not easy.  I powered through though and made these Crown Jewel Cookies:

I know what you are thinking.  She ate all those cookies and this is all that is left.  No there are others laid out on a cookie plate.  I was good I only ate 2.  Honest!

These the youngest daughter Sam and my favorite cookies.  The recipe barely makes about 2 dozen cookies in all and I doubled the recipe, so we have about 4 dozen cookies. 

I was good I put everything away, I even washed the cookie pans.

Yesterday I received my Christmas Exchange gift from the Batik Swap I participate in. 

It is gorgeous.  I love the colors the star is fabulous.  Add to it the 3 dimensional holly leaves, and the holly berries it will just blow you away.  Then the quilting is even better! 

I am starting to feel a bit more in the holiday spirit.  Maybe this will help a wee bit.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking it Slow

I am feeling a wee bit better today.  Still very sore, but more tired. 

I worked a bit on my knitting.
I am very slow.  I am about 1/4 of the way done though.  I stitch a little then snooze a little.

DH took my keys and driver's license so I can't leave the house.  Probably for the best since the weather is very cold, there is still snow on the ground and it is slippery so I should just stay wrapped up inside.

I won 2 recent giveaways.

One from Pauline at Quilt N Queen.  Two charm packs of Moda's Fairy Tale Friends and 3/4 yard of Moda Bella Betty's Teal.

This will make something fun I am sure.  I went out of my comfort zone I had a choice between red (my favorite color) and the teal and chose the teal.  Something about it just reminds me of vintage for some reason.

The second give away was by Julia Graber at Life as a Quilter-Julia Graber.  Julia does fabulous art quilts and has such a lovely family.  If you enter Julia's house for sure you will make a quilt.  The giveaway was during Quilting Gallery's Giving Thanks Blog Hop.

Love the puppies panel and this will make a lovely quilt.  This is 4 yards of fabric!  Plus some CD's with lovely inspirational music. 

Finally I did wander into the dining room where I had DH set up a "found" machine for me to work on.  The middle daughter needs a machine to mend with and while I can't afford a new machine, this machine is lovely.  She was "found" at the garbage pit last year and has been sitting under my sewing table for the past year.  DH cleaned her up, I found a manual online, threaded her, and adjusted the tension.  I think she will suit the bill just right. 

While she is missing a couple of feet and her button holer free is a very nice price.

Well I think I am ready for another little cat nap.  I have had a busy morning... breakfast, read some blogs, second cup of coffee, knit a little, pinterest, have lunch, post blog.....

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Old Whirlyball Injury

Once long ago when I worked in the corporate world they did these outings called "team building" exercises.  Frankly many of the times it was an excuse for them to leave work, get paid, and drink copious amounts of alcohol.  One outing which I did join was the Whirlyball outing.
As you can see bumper cars driven by a joystick, no seat belt and you are playing a game with a ball and basket kind of like Jai Lai.  (No this is not our outing, it is just a video so you can see what it is like.)  A few days later I noticed that I had a huge swollen bruise on my abdomen to the side of my belly button.  I thought nothing of it.  

A few weeks later the MIL dog was climbing on me and put her foot right on that spot.  I spent several days in extreme pain afterwards.  By the time I could get into the doctors the pain was gone.  They finally sent me for a CT scan told me I had arthritis in my spine, a very small hernia (nothing to worry about) a pretty severe case of acid reflex, and COPD via letter.  The doctor's office kept cancelling my follow up appointments and I finally said heck with it.  

Flash to 2 years later.  I would have occasional problems with extreme pain and tenderness in the spot where the hernia is.  But it is was getting to be more often.  I found a new doctor who immediately sent me for a new CT scan, and then I was sent to the Surgeon.  Less than a month later I have had a colonoscopy, and last Friday I had my hernia repaired.  Now I am just extremely sore, I am not supposed to move a whole lot for a few days.  I spend my days cuddled up in a recliner sleeping a lot.  Anesthesia and pain pills are not my friend.  

To add to the fun-- it snowed, the kind of snow that it is very icy, so DH has to go and take care of the old folks to make sure they are not attempting to go out.  (I already promised I would not leave the house).  For once most of the people driving down the road in front of our house are not trying to break the land speed record.  

DH's ex wife got married, so the 2nd to the youngest of our daughters is in from out of town and DH wanted to see her.  I got bundled up we and went to breakfast on Sunday and that was over doing it most definitely.  

Finally DH received a call soon after returning from breakfast that his grandmother who lives in a care facility was non- responsive and they were taking her to the hospital but they were positive she had passed away on the way to the hospital-so off he went in the snow and ice.  I opted to stay  home bundled up.  Grandma has a do not resuscitate and by the time DH got to the hospital she was just getting brought in, and she was awake.  She knew DH but no one else and they were running tests on her.   DH said she was getting very confused and unresponsive as he was leaving but he did not want to leave me alone for as long as he was gone and was worried about me. 

While I get to sit bundled up in the recliner I work a little bit on some quilting, or should I say unquilting.
I bought this pattern years ago.  The pattern says 1998.  I sewed it all together and then started stitching.  I am not too sure if I did not read the directions or I looked at the example and it showed that the applique was stitched through to the back, but that is what I started to do.  I have decided that I will take it apart and stitch it correctly.  I can handle little bouts of removing stitches a few at a time so maybe when I have it all unsewn I will be ready to sit and machine applique' a little at a time. 

Looking at the short snippet of weather I have seen it is extremely cold, icy or snowy.  Everyone keep warm and I am going to snuggle down for another little snooze. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Laugh it Off

I know there are many people who take themselves very seriously.  I will admit.  I do goofball things all the time, and I will narc myself out. 

I filled the dishwasher the other day, and washed all the pots and pans.  Put away the pots and pans, opened the dishwasher, only to discover that I had not ran it.  Put soap in it, closed the door.  Heard the dryer finish.  Later in the day I went to put the dishes away.  I had not turned it on.  Hey at least it had soap right?

A few weeks ago while out to dinner with DH the middle daughter called since I was concerned about a post on Facebook about her being at the Children's hospital with Cayden the youngest grandson.  I sent her a text, tried calling her but she did not pick up.  On the way home the Middle daughter finally called to let me know that Cayden's doctor has his offices at that hospital.  DH pulled into the driveway and while I was chatting away with the daughter I proceeded to tear everything out of the center console.
DH looked at me and asked?  "What are you looking for?"
I answered in frustration, "My phone!"  as I continued to chat with the daughter.
DH looked at me and said, "And just what do you think you are talking on?"

I can take the easiest project and turn it into Mount Everest.  As evidenced with my Magic Carpet Ride throw or as I now term it the Waterfall quilt, someone said it looked like water falling.  You can read about my foibles and the lessons I learned here.Now I laugh about it because I set it aside for a couple of weeks, and even though the binding had pins DH was determined he was going to use it. 

Or for some reason I have binding block.  I cannot bind a quilt to save my life, and I sure as heck cannot get the ends together.  I have read tutorials, watched YouTube Videos, had my mother and sister tell me how to do it.,  It just did not click.  Finally the last two times I have done binding it worked.  OMG!  High five!

I write to voice my frustration, but also I get some wonderful hints from people who read my blog.  I thank you so much for all the encouragement and suggestions. 

I finished the binding this morning and I think it looks cool and icy just like the Exchange partner requested.

I put the little blocks on the back so that they can use it as a wall hanging or a table topper.  While my top stitching, quilting is not perfect I think it looks nice.  I love the block it is Swoon by Camille Roskelley.  I would consider this a  modern block and it is a big one.  24 inches!  Think about this if you had just a little time 9 blocks would make a pretty substantial quilt. 

Now to get it wrapped and in the mail and I can check this off my list.

The other day while I was at the grocery store I saw these little towels.  I call them dish towels, others may call them tea towels.
I thought they were fun and naughty....I am not feeling very Christmasy this year.  Think Santa will give me a lump of coal because of these?

Have a blessed day and don't forget to laugh. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tension Headache

I started quilting my Christmas Exchange present;  I have this lovely silver metallic thread and I thought it would look lovely in a pretty simple decorative stitch with the icy colors that I chose.

Wound a brand new bobbin or two, threaded my machine.  Read the manual about metallic threads.   Got one row of decorative stitching done.  Easy peasy not one problem.  I started row 2 and I  was almost finished and I started having some challenges.  My top thread broke suddenly.  I rethreaded the machine, found in the decorative stitch pattern where to start and finished out the row. 

Then in the middle of the next row DH accidentally unplugged my machine so I had to do a complete reset.  Sometimes there is a lot to be said for antique machines. I was done for the day.

The next morning I was getting ready to work on the piece again.I flipped over the piece and there was a birdsnest of silver thread in the 2nd row where it had broken.  That just would not do.  So I found Jack, and wandered to the family room to look up information on the internet while I removed those two rows of stitching.

Everything said I should be using a special needle for metallics, and sew slow.  Hopped in the car and drove to the closest sewing machine repair shop.  (Living where I live it is 30 miles away).  Bought the needles, and some more Microtex needles because I sew with Batiks so often and headed back home.  New needle.  Check.  Pull up the needle plate, and remove the bobbin, bobbin case, and thoroughly clean to make sure there is nothing else that could be going on.  Sewed 2 rows not a problem then the top thread broke again. Grrr.  Back to the internet.  I don't know about you but I don't think that a 12 inch row should take 15 minutes to sew but I am committed at this time.  Or maybe I should be committed.  I don't know. 

Lower my tension.  Lower one click.  Sew about 10 inches then I see it happen.  There is like a knot that forms almost as if the metallic threads stick to each other.  Lower the tension one more click.  Little bit better but then again start having the thread breaking problem.  I notice that right before the thread breaks there is one outside stitch that will not catch the bobbin thread.  I may be able to sew 3-4 more motifs then the thread breaks.

I am determined that I am going to finish this piece with the metallic thread and the specialty stitch.  I am about 2/3 done and I don't want to rip it out and start over with just plain thread. 

OMG and then I had a whole different tangle.  I actually could not bring my needle up out of the fabric.  I turned the machine off, and then back on.  Still could not get the needle to come up. I undid the needle screw, tried to remove the foot, but could not do that either.  I then looked at the bobbin case.  It was a mess.  I removed the bobbin cover, and snipped a thread.  Doing that released the needle immediately. 

I flipped the piece over and it was worse than ever.
I showed DH when he got home and he took the machine apart as much as he could. 
Yep you I had a whole hutch of dust bunnies in there.  I will clean up that tangle above and try again. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quilting in the Dining Room

Sunday was the only day of the week that DH did not work.  It was decided we would work on those poor dining room walls again.

The hole was filled in.
All the glue scrubbed off of the walls, DH fixed the hole in the wall.  Bye-bye yellow and green foil trees behind that weird wall.  I am sure I will see you again in the near future. 
 Then he did a light skim coat to try to cover up all the tears in the drywall, and where the (what we think may have been primer) peeled up.
After it dried he then had to sand.  And we killed the shop vac.  Ugh!   But he had a little tiny shop vac he found in the garage pit at work so he got the rest of the drywall sanded, and put another skim coat over the wall.  One more sanding and I should be able to prime. Then we can paint.

Do you do this wait before the holidays to do a pretty large project? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Goals

The end of 2013 is just a short time away.  Time to link up my goals with Carrie at A Passion for Applique.

Here is my December list of goals.
1.  Farmer's Wife I am going to stick with my 8 blocks a month.  I am almost 1/2 way done!
2. Christmas Exchange gift.  Just need to sandwich, quilt with a pretty motif and bind.
3.  Family Room Curtains.  I would love to get this one done before Christmas. 
4.  Country Charmer-  Only 12 more blocks to go.  I am going to set a goal of 4 this month. 
5.  Ginger Rose I am starting to feel more confident about quilting this on my domestic machine.
6.  Quilty Barn along-  Lots of sashing to do.
7.  Lazy Sunday mystery part 4 which is the final installment.  I think this one may end up being donated.
8.  Jewel Box I would like to get this at least to the completed flimsy stage
9.  I have a table runner all cut and labeled for Christmas.  I would love to get it done this year.
10.  I would love to pull some of my UFO's out of my pile to work on.