Friday, January 31, 2014


Today is the last day of January.  While January 1st is a huge milestone to everyone, I always though January did not really hold too much appeal to me.  Growing up January is cold, rainy, dreary, the only bright shining spot when I was a little girl was that it was my great grandmother's birthday.

When you have your first child you often use a Milestone book to record all the important information.  Height, weight, how they develop.  Some pictures of their first haircut, tooth, crawling, walking.  I will admit I was never very good at that type of thing.

Now January is full of excitement.

The oldest daughter's birthday is at the beginning of the month.

The Finn celebrated a birthday.  He turned 1. 
Um the mess he created all on his own.  Put the cake down in front of him, he put a finger in, tasted, grabbed the cake with both hands and basically buried his face in it.

DH and I celebrated our first anniversary.  I made him this little stitchery project with some quilting.  I must say that I could never believe being married to someone would be so simple.  Somehow on this long and winding journey God helped me find him. 
I got a cast iron griddle to go over two of the gas burners on the stove to make pancakes.  Don't judge!  I love pancakes and I use a recipe that tastes just like the ones my great grandmother used to make for me.  It is nice to be able to make 2-3 at a time.

I decided to add up the number of books I "read" this year.  OK maybe listening to them on my Kindle is not technically reading, but I get so much done. I posted about the feature on my Kindle here, so it has not really been a whole year that I have been reading books this way, but what a lovely way to pass the time while I am sewing.  I have listened to some classics such as "Evangeline" which made me research about the epic poem and what it was based upon, discovered some new authors, and enjoyed some old favorites.  I read/listened to 50 books by the end of December 2013.   

January 29 was also my blogiversary!  One year! 213 posts, and many new friends I have met along the way.  Thank you everyone for joining me on the journey.

I know where is she going with this?  Right?

I received in the mail the other day in a nondescript envelope-----drum roll please!
An AARP Card!
I know I am hiding my last name.  For some reason they sent me an AARP card with my married name from several years ago.  But still an AARP card! I am going to have a milestone birthday in February.  I am going to be half a century. 

OK for some quiltiness.  My goals for the month were to finish my jewel box quilt flimsy (done) ,my Lazy Sunday Mystery quilt top (not quite but a good start), and a gift for DH for our anniversary.(done)

Jewel Box
Lazy Sunday Mystery
 The Lazy Sunday I finished all the rows, and the sashing.  I have put 3 rows together so far.  I also have part of the border put together too!

DH anniversary wall hanging
 Not too shabby for the first month of 2014! Some pretty awesome milestones this month, and for next month too!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cutting Through

Still bitterly cold here in Michigan.  Our local schools were out, but the daughter and Grands had school in Ypsilanti.  She said the bus stop was positively awful, made more so that the daughter must wait for 2 different buses one for the oldest girl, then the two oldest boys go on a different bus.  This means that she must bundle the Finn up and he has to go out in this cold too.

I was sew thrilled that I finished my jewel box quilt yesterday, I wanted to try something new, but it had to be small.  Aurifil has a blog.  The wonderful and talented Pat Sloan interviews a designer, and then  that designer presents a block for that  month.  The blog is called Auribuzz, and you can find it at the link.  I decided I would like to do the BOM and I wanted a Red and White quilt, so dug through my stash for fabrics.  

The block finishes at 12 1/2 inches, which compared to many quilts is quite substantial.  It was nice to do something new that was easy peasy!

I also worked on the final step for the Quiltmaker Lazy Sunday Mystery.  I finished cutting all the parts,

and here all the parts are laid out.  Now just to get to sewing.

I love sales at Hancocks of Paducha, they are my downfall, but when it comes to stash enhancement, especially for batiks they are my go to company. While many people are using up what they have, I have no qualms in helping the economy by buying fabric. 

From left to right, there is a lovely flower print I got from my LQS on their sale table, then the next 4 are all from Hancock's of Paducha and they were only about $6.00 per yard.  Now to just figure out what I want to use them in for a project.

DH and I went out this evening, we got a bite to eat, ran to the post office, and got the ancient uncle some kerosene fuel for a heater which he uses in the garage to keep his chicken warn.  The ancient uncle wanders out there several times a day and turns the heater on.  For A Single Chicken.  What is scary is that the wind quit blowing and the temperature while we were out was at its highest for the day at 12 degrees!  With no wind it isn't too bad, but per the weather forecast the wind will be back with a vengeance tomorrow, which means that the cold will cut right through again. 

Oh and today is my Blogiversary....boy that one snuck up on me.  Thanks for sharing the ride this year.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


When does focus become tunnel vision?  Or maybe even obsession?

I was thinking about that as I struggled with putting my rows together for my jewel box quilt.  I had decided in December that I wanted to at least finish jewel box top.  I have sewn, unsewn when I do not like the seam match ups, swapped blocks, and now that the rows are together swapped out rows trying to get it "just right".

I wanted to go outside in the sunny weather, I thought a picture of it on the snow would be fabulous.
According to the weather on my phone it is 3 with a -15 wind chill.   Um sorry but no fantabulous quilt pictures outside.

 I suited up and headed to the mailbox.  I did take a couple of snaps though.
See this drift?  DH and I calculated it is about 3 1/2 feet tall.  It goes to the front steps.  Luckily we do not use the front steps!
I do sew love the patterns that the wind makes in the snow as it is blowing.  

I am sew thrilled this top is finished.  It is 96 1/2 " square when it is finished it will be 96 inches square.  This will be a simple quilt and it is only going to get a binding which will be black.  I hope to quilt it on my machine once DH finishes my frame he is creating.  The black is Kona.  I love the black, and the weight but I have been having some problems with it raveling.  I also am going to just order a black backing from backside fabrics.  I love wide backing fabrics, because I don't have to piece it together or spend almost $100 to get enough fabric to make a back, but on a side note I would love to finish it in pearl bracelets but that is a bit too steep for my wallet.

Not bad for working a lot of hours this month.  I finished a couple of my goals so far.  I wonder if I can get my Lazy Sunday Top done by Friday? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Keeping Toasty

Today was a great day to stay home and just sew.

I put the binding on the little stitchery/quilt I made DH for our anniversary.

I had some red and white striped fabric which I used for the binding, I am so pleased with the way it turned out.  DH is ready to find a place to put it up.

I worked on the rows of my jewel box quilt, but have been having a challenge with it.  I had laid it out once so that no two fabrics were touching.  Somehow once I got the rows together it seems to have some fabrics touching.  I refuse to take them apart so I will rearrange the rows and see if I can get it to work. 

People always ask what your favorite tool or notion are for quilting.  What will I tear my sewing room apart looking for?

The things I use the most is this little measuring guide it comes in sew handy when I am doing my binding, and a bic disposable mechanical pencil.  The only other thing missing is frog tape which I use to tape my accurate quarter ink on my machines, or to tape my supreme slider to my machine. 

Keep warm, and yes we still have the blankets up.  It is supposed to be -8 tomorrow morning when I get up to go to work.  Currently it is 3 with a -15 degree wind chill.  Great night for snuggling with DH.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Welcome to the Vortex! Part 2

It has been a while since I have had a chance to do anything.  Crazy work schedules for both DH and myself, really threw my sleep schedule out of whack, and I spent almost all of my spare time sleeping.  Which maybe was a good thing.  My wound from my surgery at the first of December, finally healed over completely, even though I was working lots.

Conversations between DH and myself around the house are hilarious at times.

DH-- Are you going to put a curtain or valance on that window?
Me--No but I cannot stand that curtain that was on the window any longer.
DH--Without the curtain from outside the house looks like a crack house, might as well just throw a blanket over the window.

With the extreme cold the last few weeks DH has been struggling to keep the boiler up to temp so we turned on the gas heat to supplement.  When the first cold spell hit with all the wind this window felt like it had a breeze blowing through.

I have complained to DH that it is cold in the kitchen and he kind of poo pooed my complaint.  Until I put up a table cloth over the window which actually covered up the frame.  The room actually felt warmer almost instantly.  Between the really cold spells, DH pulled down the frame, and insulated around it, there was none.  Can you believe it?  The kitchen and family room were an addition to the house that he and his ex had built about 20 years ago.  We discovered that there is no wrap on the addition which would help cut down on the drafts greatly.  So the blanket came off this window, but these two in the family room remain blanketed.

 Sew yep I officially live in a crack house per my husband's standards.  But it warmed up the room quite a bit until the temp dropped and the winds kicked up again.  We decided to close off the "new" part of the house and move into the dining room.

And I got DH to allow me to hang a blanket over the doorway to the new addition.  The furnace is not constantly running, and it is almost too warm here with the thermostat set at 68!  The dining room table was moved into the formal front room for the time being.

Since putting up the blanket, the new addition temperature is hovering around 55 degrees!  Something is definitely wrong with that part of the house.  Guess we know what some of our summer plans are now. 

I finally wandered back into my sewing room after a couple of weeks absence.

I finished the stitchery for DH anniversary gift, and managed to "whip up" a small wall quilt.  I still need to bind it, but I ran out of time tonight, and our anniversary is tomorrow, and I have to work.

I even did a little FMQ and stitch in the ditch around the stars.  I think it turned out cute!

It is nice to be able to get my sewjo back.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Year for Finn

Can you believe it.  This little guy is one year old today. 

We are going to his house for a pizza party with the family.  Should be a house load of people and chaos.  I need to go find him a gift today. I have ideas, but sometimes just because I have ideas does not mean that I can locate what I am looking for. 

I am finally done working overnights for a while.  I may have some evenings, but nothing like the last couple of weeks. 

There has not been a lot of sewing going on around here between the weather, and crazy schedule, and of course life has gotten in the way of my plans.

This is as far as I have gotten on my anniversary gift for the hubby.  I still have 2 more letters for this line, then one more line of embroidery.
I saw a pattern by Jen Kingwell, well actually I saw 2 different ones and I decided that I absolutely had to have one.  They are a mixture of templates, piecing, and applique'.  The pattern is called Green Tea and Sweet Beans.

I recently won a bundle Ghastlie fabrics from Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. I think this will be fun to work with. 

While I was working on my jewel box quilt and finishing up the final few blocks, I started cutting for another one, this will be my next project, when the jewel box is completed to flimsy stage.
When you have another quilt or a few in mind, do you cut sometimes so that you can kit them up to be ready to sew?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

That's Life

I have not had any time for sewing.  I went back to work, and since it is the busy time of year I have been working many hours. DH has been working many hours due to the recent snow storms, almost 40 hours of overtime.

DH brought home a couple of goodies for me thanks to the municipality he works for and their "dumpster" residents must use.  

He found this very cool wooden ladder which had some green paint left on it.  The bottom rung had been broken, and it was about 18 feet tall.  He cut off the top portion so it would fit into our living room.

The gentleman who does home clean-outs for my husband's municipality leaves little gifts for me all the time.  The other day he left this large box full of vintage linens. 
These are just a few of them.  Some are in excellent condition, some have stains, and some have a little extra wear, but I think they can be used for something surely.

I have been working overnights for the past 6 nights.  I will tell you that working 10-14 hours that many nights in a row, not including the fact that the weather has contributed to a couple extra hours to the drive, not a whole lot of sewing is getting done.  Oh well, That's Life.

Here's too my last overnight for a while.  I hope!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Organization Baby Steps

Are you very organized?  Everything has a place and is in it?  Or are you a chaotic person?  Me I call it organized chaos.  I can put my hand on almost anything I need in just a couple of seconds.  DH is much more organized.

Once upon a time I cross stitched....a lot.  Helped me through 2 pregnancies where I was confined to bed, was kind of compact, and it was like painting, but with thread. I haven't really cross stitched much the last few years, but as stated in this post I am a bit behind on a family tradition which I began, so I need to get a going.

My problems?
1.  I have 5 or 6 of those big floss containers, that contains the little plastic or cardboard bits that you wind a skein of embroidery floss on and use it to stitch.   I started with one container, and the floss that is on the skeins is based upon whichever project I was working on so there colors are in a random order.  Which means that when I want to work on something I am digging through a bunch of bins to find the correct colors.

Problem 2?  I wanted to use a color that was a tone or two lighter than another when I was embroidering so checked the DMC website and guess what?  There was not a color lighter, so I was looking at another site trying to figure out what color was lighter, and close to what I wanted to do. 

I have a loose leaf notebook where I had separate pages with the colors laid out and the floss colors, and the number of my floss card, but DMC is always adding new colors, and removing some (OK I have some antique floss which has colors that are not listed anywhere from DMC 805 which is almost a dark teal color.)

I decided instead to throw it all on a spreadsheet.
I have tabs which have the different color families--well my color families with the DMC color in column 1, the name in column 2, and my floss card number in column 3.  Now I can find the color I want easily.  I also made sure I bookmarked the page that shows the color progressions for floss just in case.

There one small area of my life kind of organized.  Next is to move all the cross stitch, embroidery stuff upstairs and to get DH to move the easy chair from the sitting room into the boys old room.  He is afraid he will never find me if I have another room to hide in.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Name That Block

Name the block.

My mother sent me a picture a couple of weeks ago and asked me what block is this?
I am not too sure.  What is amazing about quilt blocks is that they go by many different names.  According to the quilt index it is called Duck and Ducklings.

I tried drafting my own pattern and was very happy with how it turned out, and how quickly I did it!
Amazing all the different names for different quilt blocks.
This was a test for a drunkards path quilt.  But I have also seen it called Rob Peter to Pay Paul.  But then I have also seen the one called orange peel also called Rob Peter to Pay Paul. 

Recently I saw a quilt pattern called Crazy Anne.  There was a discussion on My Quilt Place about the age of the design, origin.  But then I got to thinking, once upon a time a broken cross (better known as a swastika now) was a common decoration.  There are old buildings in Portland that still have them.  It was originally called The Devil's Puzzle and also called Good Fortune. Not quite as straight.  I kind of like it.
This write up is from the Denver Post and is originally from posts from the 1930's.  The Denver Post republished a series of these articles in 2013 you can find the link here

I will admit I am a history nerd, and I find the information so interesting. 

Oh yes and by the way our weather today, by the time I got home from work it was -13 degrees with a -41 degree wind chill.  Good night for grilled cheese, and tomato basil soup!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rats Foiled Again!

DH was called into work on Saturday morning at 2am.  The last few "snow emergency days" he has worked about 16-20 hours straight.  I got my slow stitching out to take advantage,  and guess who showed up at home at 10am?  Sew that threw my plans right out the window.  I quickly hid my stitchery just as he walked into the house. 

DH grabbed a bite to eat said he wanted to relax for a while and then we could run to the grocery store since the minions ate us out of house and home.  We needed some fruit, milk, some staples and cheese at least.  He sat on the couch next to me and the next thing I knew he was dead asleep.  And I was  hemmed in.  Yes in my current no/low exertion status I crawled over the back of the couch and wandered into my sewing room and sewed my little heart out.  I actually made 10 blocks in about 2 1/2 hours which is a record for me. 

And finished all of my blocks for my quilt.  Here are a few of them. 

Then we went to the grocery store.  You would have thought that the end of the world was coming.  If we were not out of toilet paper, and laundry detergent we would not have went out-  unfortunately those were a couple of necessities we absolutely needed with my upcoming work schedule and the fact that I wash my uniform every day.  We could have picked up milk at the local gas stations and survived if not for those two other items.  The shelves in the grocery store were cleaned out of crackers, cookies, milk, chips, and bread.  Obviously I was not aware of the size of the storm on it's way. 

The weather was predicted that the snow would start at 9 pm Saturday night and would mainly be over by mid-morning Sunday.  The forecast today is that the snow is going to get heavier as the day goes into the evening and overnight.  Grrr that is not a good thing since I work this evening and then have to turn around and be at work at 6 am 40 miles away.  I am extremely afraid of driving in the snow on the freeway.  I was in a very bad accident in the snow a few years ago not because I was driving fast but because someone was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic.  They hit black ice and caused a 50 car chain reaction accident. 

DH was called into work so I have some slow stitching time, but before he left I laid out my blocks and fiddled with them until I was pleased. 

I will alternate between some slow stitching and getting the blocks sewn together today before I have to get ready for work. 

This is the view of one of our pine trees today.
Stay safe, and warm everyone!  So beautiful if I got to stay inside. 

Thoughts of Spring

I am an old movie buff.  Probably comes from living with my great grandmother who was born in the 1890's.  I wanted to dance like Ginger Rogers and thought all men could dance like Fred Astaire,  fell in love with Cary Grant at the age of 4,  thought all men should be as tough as John Wayne, and couldn't quite figure out why I could not dance and sing as well as Shirley Temple.  Hey I had the ringlets in my hair!

Whenever we have days on end of snow I think of this song from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, at least the first part with the continuous falling snow.  But then it stops and the sky is blue and it is gloriously sunny.

This is the view off of my sun room.  I love how the wind has created these designs in the snow.  Yes today is a sunny day, but it is only 5 degrees outside, and from the weather report there is more snow on its way .  Looking at my phone for the weather forecast I am hoping they are wrong, cause the high for Monday is 10 with a low of -17, and Tuesday is a high of 1 degrees with a low of -6.  Yikes!

 I know I am jumping the gun especially since we are only 15 days into winter.  But surely it does not help that I am receiving seed catalogs encouraging me to "plan my 2014 garden". 

I got some slow stitching done.  I need to get a move on since it is for our anniversary and I have roughly 3 weeks which may seem like a lot but not when it is a surprise and my work schedule is always changing, so having an opportunity to stitch when DH is not around is kind of a crap shoot.

I did work some more on my jewel box quilt.  A few more blocks.

DH is at work and I have some time so I better get stitching!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ready? Set? January 2014?!?!

January kind of snuck up on me.  I know it sounds kind of silly but the holidays are a whirlwind, and in our family it seems like there is always "something."

At the beginning of December I had a procedure, which essentially sidelined me for the month.  While I tried to plan around my convalescence I did not get everything done such as Christmas shopping or decorating.  I am the queen of the couch, or recliner, or overstuffed chair.... issuing commands to my loyal subject-DH who is absolutely the best by the way.   Being Michigan though there was "weather" which necessitated DH working lots of overtime-(Our decorating was relegated to DH brought down a pre lit Christmas tree but no ornaments), the youngest with her minions wrecked their one and only car, and most recently beginning New Year's Eve a storm which rolled in which meant that the youngest daughter, and DH were working lots of hours and my New Year has been filled with caring for an 11 month old, and 5,6, and 7 year old for the past few days.

I keep reading that New Year's Day is the catalyst for what your year will be only thought is while I love my little ones my last few days have been filled with feeding them, changing the stinky one, and keeping them entertained, and getting a moment to myself has been non existent as well as having anything to eat and not having to share with the bottomless pit who is almost a year.  Oh how quickly we forget mamma mode...probably best for the species.  :D 

I am going to make some light goals for the month especially since I just got a peek at my work schedule today.

1.  Jewel box quilt.  I want to get this to the flimsy stage.  I think I need 12-13 more blocks and they are all laid out and ready to sew. 
2.  Lazy Sunday I want to get this to flimsy stage.  Step 4 I am pretty sure is sashing and cornerstones...not my favorite which I have discovered looking at my UFOs.
3.  I am working on a surprise for DH for our 1st anniversary.
Yep some embroidery, which when I am finished will be made into a small wall quilt.
4.  I want to finish unsewing my old Christmas Wallhanging UFO which needs to be raw edge appliqued correctly.  Note to self-  read the directions. 
5.  If I have time I would love to get some Farmer's Wife blocks completed this month.  I like my goal of 8 per month, but looking at my work schedule I think I am going to be busy.  Stretch goal?

Have you been reading people's New Year resolutions, or maybe made a few of your own?  Do you chunk it up into smaller goals?  I love monthly goals it keeps me a bit more focused.  Already I know that this is not the month to go to the quilt guild meeting since it is at 6 pm and I have to be to work at 9 pm 70 miles in the other direction.  Oh well there is always the next month right? 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is Being Irresolute a Resolution?

Do you make resolutions?  I quit many years ago.  I enjoyed reading people's resolutions though.  They are going to get healthier, not buy fabric and use their stash only (I am not even going to attempt that one), finish up UFO's, I am not going to try to keep track of their resolutions heck I can barely figure out what  I am doing at times.  If they succeed I am joyous and cheer them on, and if they lapse I will lament along with them or ignore it whichever way they choose.  Some choose words that they are going to live by for the new year.  Kind of a mantra.

So if I choose to not make a resolution does that make me irresolute?

My quilty goals for 2014?

Sew many quilts sew little time.  Just look at my UFO page.

My immediate goals I want to finish my jewel box quilt, and the Lazy Sunday Mystery quilt from Quiltmaker magazine.  I am hesitant to make any goals right now since I will be going back to work and it is not stable so it is kind of just fly by the seat of my pants.  

I want to do more slow stitching, cross stitch and embroidery.  This is my mom's house at Christmas.  At one time I was making everyone a cross stitched stocking.  I am a wee bit behind, and I need to get caught up.
There have been many additions to the family over the past few years.  (ahem and some deletions)  I have Gabriel, Finley, and Cayden (grandsons) Nikole (my gorgeous SIL) and Pablo the newest Nephew, Dustin (the SIL) and one for my hubby.  I love my dad's comment, can't we just pick names off of some of the ex husband stockings and reuse them?  All she would have to do is add the new updated names? I would also like to make a set for my immediate family here in Michigan, and hey maybe a set for the daughter's families for their homes too?

I am going to be more proactive about writing down or sketching ideas.  I don't know about you but I always have loads of ideas for presents right after Christmas.  I need to work on those throughout the year.

I am going to donate more quilts to charity.  I have been on a pace of  one a year.  I would like to do much more, there is such a great need.

I am going to join a quilt guild.  What better place to get you mojo working than with others with the same love.  This one is going to be tough for me.  I am not a joiner, and am so shy.  Seems like every time I get the nerve up something happens that day and changes my plans. 

I  would like to take some classes, and there are a couple of LQS that do sit and stitch a couple of times a week.  I need to get out much more other than just to work.  

I am going to enter a quilt into competition.  I am shooting for the county fair in August.

I am going to try some new techniques.  Applique', foundation piecing, use some new tools.  Always fun to learn something new right?

What worked for me in 2013?  Making monthly goals, listening to books on my Kindle while I sewed and machine quilted, rotating projects so I had lots of variety which not only added to my UFO, but also helped me improve my skills this past year.    

Finally my word for the year?  There are so many which would be appropriate.

I am going to remember to always be Grateful.

I need to remember to grateful for the good times as well as the bad times, and remember that everything happens for a reason, which I may not understand at the moment but eventually it will become revealed and become a learning experience.