Monday, September 29, 2014

Careful What you Wish For

I have been so doggone busy that I cannot believe it.  I jokingly tell DH that my part time job is really interfering with my quilting. 

In August we had "bid day" where the drivers who had been with the company longest bid on routes.  I was the low "girl" on the totem pole and all the routes and 3 aid positions were taken.  I was worried would I work enough as a sub driver to help pay bills since there were 2 other sub drivers ahead of me,  lots of the drivers came up to me and told me not to worry that I would be plenty busy since they had started only a year or so before.  I was actually in tears when I spoke to DH that afternoon.  You see his ex wife worked there for about 16 years, and for the first 6 years she was a sub driver and she barely worked. 

I have been working every day!  Morning and afternoon.  The first week I drove a route because the driver who bid on it was "sick".  The 2nd week I drove that route part of the time, I had to take a mandatory state training class for 21 hours, and pass their test.  If you were a new driver and did not take the class and pass the test you cannot drive.  In the afternoons I filled in doing ISD runs for special needs students .

Week 3 I am filling in for someone who is ill again.  2 routes are put up for bid, and one of the routes is the one that I had been driving and knew very well.   Unfortunately one of the other drivers decided that she wanted to switch routes so she took one route, the 1st sub driver took the route I wanted, and the sub driver 2 took the route that had been traded in during the 2nd route bid.  Everything will be changing the following Tuesday.  I am left as the only sub driver and to help the mechanic in the shop, as well as be the standby driver, and help answer phones and dispatch.  That lasted all of 2 days!

Week 4, Monday I am still filling in for the person who is ill from week 3.  Then the mechanic and I are running around picking up buses which had to go back to the dealership for repair and warranty work, picking up parts.  I do a different run in the afternoon.  Tuesday I walk in and am handed key to the sub driver's route who bid the week before.  He has decided that he is going to move on.  This is the route that the one driver traded in because of the behavior problems.  So I have a route.  I do a high school/Jr. High route in the early morning, and a grade school/young Jr. High (5/6th grade) route afterwards.  Then the same in the afternoon. 

With all of that work, not much is getting accomplished.  Still quilting away on my Quilty Barn quilt.  I have 3 days left to get it finished..., bound, and a hanging sleeve.

I got all my pieces cut out for the applique for my challenge quilt and sewed them on.
By the way I love the applique scissors that I purchased!

And I did a little retail therapy.
I bought a fat quarter bundle of Oh Clementine in blues, and a cute text fabric which was on sale!
I also purchased some of these Titanium coated rotary blades they were on sale.
I am thankful that I have a job and it is going to be more steady.  Now for the big push to get my quilts done for the guild show.  3 days and counting!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beating the Brush

The older I get the more I realize that somethings which are considered obsolete were a very good idea.  I hate to get my handheld mixer out to do scrambled eggs, or omelets.  Get the mixer out, find the beaters, find a plug, mix whatever you are mixing, remove the beaters, put the mixer away, and put the beaters away.  Way too many steps.  Whisks are tricky at best when it comes to use. 

A couple of  years ago I bought an old egg beater at a flea market for $2.00.  It is different looking and has a different action than most hand powered egg beaters.  It actually only has 2 hoops at the bottom instead of 4 like most do. 
Every time I turned around DH had it.  So I bought him some egg beaters.

 This one I love the red paint, but it is chipping and of course I suspect that it may have been lead based. 

I then found this one which DH uses now all the time to do eggs. 

Then I saw this one and loved the milk glass measuring cup it came in and purchased it.
Yep it has the sweet read handle, and the red stripe around the lip of the measuring cup.  This one is purely decorative in my Hoosier.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter's power was out at her house.  So she brought the minions here, so she could do laundry, give showers and feed them.  Of course she pulled out DH favorite mixer to make them sausage and scrambled eggs.

She was so cute raving about how fluffy her eggs are when she cooks at my house.  Is it the gas, that she is focused more on cooking, or the egg beater?  Her request she wanted an egg beater for her upcoming birthday. 

Sounds easy right?  Do you know how hard they are to come by at times?  Kind of like when you are looking for something you will never find it until you don't need it anymore.  I have wandered yard sales, estate sales, and finally found one at an antique shop, but DH is not thrilled with it.

DH doesn't like the action and is afraid that the kids will get their fingers caught in the mechanism wheel.  So he has gallantly offered up his red handled one.  The only problem I need to varnish the heck out of the handle so the paint will not chip off.  We were laughing about how kids find some things amazing, and egg beaters happen to be one of those things. 

Also the 5 year old keeps asking his mamma to teach him to cook.  I think it is a great idea as long as he understands he can only cook while supervised.  She is not really lovin the idea.  How old were you when you learned to cook?  Or how old were your kids when you taught them to cook. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Big Ideas

With everything that has been going on around here with work, some pretty sever storms, fighting the machines,  I still managed to get some things to certain points in their process.

I blew up part of my picture for my challenge quilt, roughly sketched the areas I wanted to applique, and got them onto some freezer paper.  I have lots of weird shapes so I decided I wanted a pair of applique scissors.  So off I went to Tecumseh, Michigan to The Quilt Patch.  I wandered a bit and picked up a couple of things.
Some Robert Kaufman Lazy Daisy fabric, some fat quarters of solids, one Kona, and two AMB, a spool of variegated thread by Mettler, and a yoyo maker.

Then I came home and worked on quilting on the Singer model 15.  She works lovely and things were going great, but  I have a quilt which has been sitting on a frame for about 5 months and I really wanted to work on that and possibly load a new quilt.  So I asked DH if he could figure out a way to convert the 15 and I would finish quilting my quilt on the 66. Also if he could move the 66 from the current tiny cabinet into the cabinet that the 15 was in. 

With my hubby it is ask and ye shall receive.  He rewired the Singer 15 and built a speed control, since while we were experimenting we blew one up that had been on the Husqvarna.  Oops!
DH speed control is basically a junction box, with a rocker switch, and a dimmer switch.  Um yep it is FABULOUS!  Sorry for the yelling but I was just absolutely thrilled!  And it worked so well, and I retro fitted a quilting foot from my Husqvarna so when I have some time that is going to get some love and attention.

I did manage to get another embroidery piece for my redwork quilt finished.
**Note to self must remember to remove from hoop when I am not working on it!

Finally while I was in Tecumseh I stopped at a new Antique store.  I had a couple of things in mind I was looking for.

This came home with me.

It is a towel rack.  My kitchen does not have a towel rack, nor does it have a place to hang one.  When I was a little girl I remember my grandmother having one hanging right over her sink, so when she was done she could hang her dishtowel, hand towel, and dishrag right over the sink.  Since it is going to be used it will get some love (into the sand blaster to take the old paint off, and a new coat applied).

Hope everyone had a great weekend and a wonderful Monday.  I really must run, was called back into work early again.  :S


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nothin But Crickets

No I am not having a pang of conscious.

Around mid July I mentioned to DH that there were no crickets.  We had some frogs in the pond nearby but no crickets at night.  It was almost eerily quiet at night.  Then it happened.  A few started showing up here and there.  Then it happened.  I went out to feed the girls, opened the door to where we store their food and there were bunches of them!

Here is one of the offenders.

Then pretty soon they were invading my sunroom, when I leave the door open but the screen door shut.  They were all over!  One day the kids went on a cricket hunt in the sunroom and 30+ crickets later, and one partially eaten (Finn decided it looked like it may taste good) we were cricket free.  I am only going to say anything about the partially eaten cricket.  Finn is a toddler, and a boy,  and he surprised us that he even caught one.  Nuff said!  Until that night and more showed up!  Every night on the porch your hear the chirp, chirp, chirp.  But you can't find them, until it is too late. (Sad face) when you find their little lifeless bodies lying on the floor.  Or you accidentally step on one heading out to work early in the morning.  Eeewww smooshed cricket on my floor!

Funny enough many of the little businesses nearby are having the same problem with a cricket or crickets in the store.  As you walk through you hear chirp, chirp, chirp.  Love the sound of crickets.  Just not sharing my house with them or shopping with them. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Tale of the Broken Needle

Wow I have been crazy busy with the start of school and I am not a teacher nor do I have children in school any longer!  OK I am a substitute bus driver, and can you believe I have worked every day since the start of school? And to top it off I have had additional state classes to take?

It has been a couple of weeks since I even had a chance to sit down.  What else has been going on?  Trying to finish 2 quilts for the guild quilt show. I have many machines and I use only about 10 regularly.  My newest is a Husqvara Viking Sapphire.  Yep she is very temperamental which irritates the heck out of me. 
Even with a free motion quilt foot, and a supreme slider she breaks threads constantly. The humidity, and temperature must be perfect for her to be able to FMQ.  After fighting for a several days and it taking hours just to quilt crosswise a row about 2 inches wide I was done. 

So DH suggested I use this one.
It had been sitting in our shop.  Problem is no foot, but she has a lovely motion but how the foot attaches I could not use a FMQ/darning foot from any of the other machines I have.  This is a New Home Light Running machine.  Nix that idea.

The we pulled this old girl out.  She is a Singer 66-14 with a crinkle finish and she was made in 1940.  DH brought her home cause he thought she was cool, and he liked the weird little cabinet. 

DH dropped the feed dogs, I figured out how to wind her bobbin (she needs a new bobbin tire but it is a weird size).  It is an oscillating bobbin machine.  The bobbin does not spin it kind of twists back and forth.  Also this machine threads from left to right. 
I put on my generic short shank machine FMQ foot which had been modified, and oh it hummed along.  Until my needle broke.  Then nothing would work. Wouldn't pick up the bobbin thread, wouldn't sew.   I wasn't sure if I threw her out of time or what.  DH came home and tried everything.  There was a "school type manual" that we used to make sure we were threading correctly, the bobbin was installed correctly.  I found an adjuster's manual  online and DH worked on her more.  I kept trying different needles, even the ones that came with the machine.  DH moved me to the 15 which I bought at a barn sale.  He dropped the feed dogs. 

I have been using this one in the living room to piece my drunkard's path quilt.  This one I put the blocks together.  The 301 in the living room I use to piece the blocks with the special foot.  Anyway I did not want to put this one into service to FMQ but it is the next biggest machine with a nice size throat.  I moved my handy dandy generic FMQ foot and it wouldn't work either.  What the hay!

When my needle broke it had changed the adjustment on my modified FMQ foot which is where my problems started.  Nothing wrong with the Singer model 66-14 either!  I have got more quilted when I have time the last few days than I did in 2 weeks with my modern machine. 

This is the set up DH made me for using the model 15 and it is working great, except the light is not spectacular on the machine or in this room.  (Downside of an old farmhouse with windows which are barely 3 feet wide but 6 foot tall!  More like arrow slits on the Fortress of Solitude!) so he brought me home a Mac LED light to work with.

Anyone out there know where I can get a foot for the New home?  I would love to use it.  OK I really need to get something accomplished today I have 2 weeks to the guild show.  Eeek!

Friday, September 5, 2014


I am sure I mentioned I have a new part time job.  I have obtained my CDL and all the necessary endorsements to be a school bus driver.

Unfortunately they had people transfer in so they got routes and a couple of aides decided they were goi g to drive.  That means I am a sub.

Anyway a note on the board last week stated drivers had to be there 20 minutes before their route start time.  Nothing about subs.

Tuesday, September 2 I get a call.  Where
are you?  

Me: At home
Work:  Didn't you read the board?  
Me:  Yep all drivers are to report 20 minutes early before their route start time.  I'm a sub I don't have a start time.
Work: Which would explain why no subs showed up today.   (Accompanied by maniacal laughing on the other end of the line) 
Work:  Be here at 2:00

All I could think of is leave it to me to miss the first day of work!

I think I was punished the next day I had to be there at 5:30 am.  I then ended up subing for a route all week long. 

Sorry about the lack of pics.  I am posting from my phone.  I loaned my computer to the youngest daughter to apply to college and for some loans and grants.  I am thrilled that she is finally going to go back to school even though she has a full plate with the four kids. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Goals

It is with much trepidation I make September goals.  I know what I want and need to do, but sometimes it seems that when I plan things do not always go the way I want them to.  I writing this post Tuesday but I sometimes get the bug and I write and schedule posts ahead of time. 

My plans are going to be simple.
1.  Finish Challenge Quilt applique, quilt, bind, label, and sleeve

2.  Finish quilting the barns, binding, and sleeve.
3. Quilt ginger rose, binding, label and sleeve.

4.Tropical Shores Tubix sleeve, and label.

5.  Aurifil block of the month, and finish up the one from August!
6.  If I get all the above things done how about some Farmer's Wife blocks?
I know I have a week of classes for work.  No I am not working except as a sub but they keep telling me I will keep busy.  Now off to clean up my canning mess!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Means No Labor Right?

Labor Day weekend, which to most people would mean a trip to their cabin up north, the last camping trip of the year, a day at the beach? 

At our house it means that we need to get some things done!

Canning tomatoes is a labor intensive fete!  I had picked several gallon bags of tomatoes and just washed and froze them whole.  Remember I mentioned that we ended up with those pear looking grape tomatoes instead of Romas which we wanted.  I also purchased a box of tomatoes.  With the heat and humidity the past few days as fast as I was blanching the tomatoes they were actually rotting.  The ones I froze, because I didn't blanch them I would cut off the end and squeeze and they would pop right out!  Oh yeah!

Anyway I cooked them down, then put them through the Victorio! 

Yep she is old, she is heavy and some parts are a bit rusty.  Did I mention that I own 3?  Well I gave one to my mom last year so I am down to 2.  This girl will remove the tomato seeds, and any peel or pithy stuff quickly after you cook your tomatoes down for a while.  She is not a joy to clean but the difference she makes far outweighs the cleaning challenges.  Also works great for making tomato soup, apple sauce or even jellies.  I hear there is another strainer which is smaller that you can make strawberry jelly with instead of cheese cloth straining. 

So for a time reference this was a whole day for me just getting that part accomplished.

Sunday was the oldest grandson's birthday party!  He turned 7!  I cannot believe how much he has grown and how quickly.  Nope no pictures, too much commotion with all the people who attended.  On the way home the MIL spotted a stand that was selling White Half Runner Beans so we stopped and bought a bushel for her.  Now those beans you have to actually "string" which is snap the end and pull the string at the seam down one side, then snap off the other end and pull the string off the other side.  By the time we drove home I had probably manged to string about 1/5 th of the bushel to help her.

Monday was sauce day...start the sauce cooking, throw in onions, garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, and some parsley and cook the tomatoes down until they are a nice thick sauce which takes about 8 hours.  Then you can !

Fourteen quarts and three pints later tomato sauce.  I ran out of quart jars, so I guess I am thankful for the tomatoes that rotted while I was blanching which I threw away. 

While I was doing this....DH was mowing, and digging holes. 

The girls have a big waterer.  Too big for me to carry far.  Plus when the cold weather hits no more water from the spigots on the side of the house.  I wanted water closer to the gardens and had been asking about what they call hydrants.  For those who don't know a hydrant is a water line that does not leave water in the line, but drains it out which prevents it from freezing.  You install them much like you do faucets outside  and away from the house but there is rock and gravel at the bottom of the hole about 2-3 feet further down that when the hydrant is shut off it drains out of the pipe into that rock and gravel.  We decided if we ran the line with the lines that feed the boiler we should not have problems with it freezing so DH was digging holes trying to find where the lines ran out to the boiler and intersect them.  Once he found those he started stringing the line from the  basement out to where the new hydrant would be.  The original lines for the boiler were run in a corrugated  pipe and there was enough room to run the new line through that pipe too!  So at least no trench digging! But then DH needed help.

 I was sent to the dragon cave.  This is only about 4 foot high.  It is where the old cellar doors used to go into the basement but someone had the brilliant idea that they needed a sun porch instead so the cellar doors were removed.  Um yeah not a well planned out move especially since there is an old rotting oil tank in the basement, a huge old freezer, and a couple of washers that don't work that have no way of ever being removed since  the narrow stairway  is only about 24 inches wide. 
So DH was outside laying on his stomach with his head in the hole about  100 feet from the house.  I was sitting on my bum in the dragon cave pushing and pulling that blue pipe you see into the hole and we were talking on the cell phone.  Didn't take us long and we had it in place.  We make a great team!


So Labor Day weekend was for us just that a weekend full of labor, but we spent some time with family and we got things accomplished which is always a great day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Throw Those Goals Out the Window

September 2, 2014.  The beginning of a new school year for those that have children that age.  The morning is drizzly and cooler than it has been the past few days.  My goals for August were pretty light overall but I don't feel like I  got a long way.  With the Ancient Ones next door, DH working lots of overtime after the floods/sewage backups in the city I was busy but didn't seem to produce much finished product.

1.   Challenge Quilt I found my inspiration.  I have chose my fabrics and am currently cutting.  I am this far.
I have my applique parts ready, and even the fabric picked out!

2.  Farmer's Wife.  I would love to finish up my blocks.  I have about 14 more to finish.  
Not one block.  Which is a bummer I am so close but then so far since I have my show projects I must finish.

3.  Aurifil Block of the month.  Have you seen it?(This is last months)  It was designed by Michele Foster of! 
That is the thing I could not get to go together right even remotely so it is in pieces sitting on my cutting table.  I used almost all of the little sunflowery/daisy looking fabric and I don't really want to start again. 

4.  Drunkards path finish up a few more blocks.  Maybe I should work on getting all my pieces cut out in the evenings.

I actually got a small pile of these partially sewn together.  Hey that makes me feel a wee bit better.

5.  I have a quilt for the guild charity which needs quilting.  I can choose to bind it or not.

She's pinned at least!

6.    I need to figure out which quilt I am going to take to the guild show and quilt, label and bind.  What do you think?

I decided on the quilty I finished the label
And my backing!
And started quilting!
I am about 1/3 done but I had a busy last few days of August...more on that in another post.

Oh I also entered
 Tropical Shores Tubix all I need to do is a hanging sleeve.  Those are easy right? 
And Ginger Rose which will need to be quilted! 

Oh I didn't mention these things that I did get accomplished.
Learned to drive the big tractor and mow the field to help DH.
I made and consumed more zucchini bread than I care to think about.
And shredded enough Zucchini to make at least 20 more loaves!

Weeded several big wagon loads of weeds out of the gardens and flower beds.
Snapped and canned 21 quarts of green beans.

And I have slowed down to do a little embroidery in the mornings.  I finished two this month.

I also read/listened to 5 books, and got  sucked into Dr. Who, and watched several episodes. 

Maybe I am being a bit hard on myself and I got more accomplished than I seem to think.  That is what is so great for me to list my goals monthly.  My goals didn't really go out the window, they just teetered on the brink.