Thursday, July 21, 2016

July -- Where Did It GO??

Today is the 20th day of July!  What the heck happened to the summer?  And why does it seem like July 4th was just a minute ago?

Time sure flies when you're having fun, I guess.

Last week Saturday was our family reunion picnic.  My mom's side of the family has been getting together in the summer for about 20 years or so.  She had seven brothers and three sisters who all had pretty good sized families.  I think I have like 47 first cousins and of course my five brothers and one sister... and they mostly have kids and some of their kids have kids.  It's a big batch of people!

The original group, my mom and all her siblings, are now watching the picnic from heaven.  Or so I choose to believe!

We had four 'aunties' attending this year.  One of my mom's brothers was divorced and remarried, and this year his ex-wife attended with one of her sons, and his widow came too.  It was a little odd at first but they all got along famously.

The newest baby there was just seven weeks old.

And yes, before you ask, I did hold her for a while.  A long while, in fact, during which she slept like a little princess!  DD came along and said "Oh, I see you found a baby!"  :-)

Do you know that even a small baby gets heavy when they sleep?  So I had to adjust my elbow and let her curl up against my shoulder.  That was SO nice!

Miss A wanted to stay to the end, so when her mom had to go back home she stayed with me.  She was having so much fun playing that she forgot to eat or drink!  So on the way home her head started to ache, and the last ten minutes in the car were crying...

Alternate rule:  Eat ice cream...
Rules for being out in the heat:

When it's more than 85 or 90 degrees, don't go out unless you must.
Drink LOTS of water, more than you normally do.  Some authorities recommend a cup of water every 20 minutes. 
Drink WATER, not sugary beverages like soda.  Unless you're working out and replacing electrolytes or something water is what your body needs.
Wear light, cool clothing and a hat!
If you must be outside, be in the shade as much as you can be.
Use sunscreen and reapply it according to the package directions.

The hottest part of the day is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It's going to be hot in Wisconsin this weekend.  Pay attention to your pets if they're out, stay cool and

Could you fry an egg on the sidewalk?  Maybe not THIS egg!!
sew on...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Fun So Far

This summer has been very -- well, interesting I guess.  Weather-wise we've been all over the map.  Earlier in the week we were sweating bullets and the humidity was high enough to really sink my hairdo, and today is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ugh.

Miss A has been having Gramma's House overnights this week.  When her mom has to go to work early at the hospital Miss A sleeps over because it's really mean to make a kid get up at 2 a.m. and go back to bed next door.  But now I think she just wants to stay with me because she gets ice cream with sprinkles before she goes to bed!  And a back rub, and bedtime stories... hey, I'd like some of that too.  :-)

She's also zipping around the driveway on the bike on a daily basis.  She'd like to ride to the park, I know, but there isn't anyone except her big sister to ride with her.  This may sound like fun except when I think about putting my butt on a tiny seat for any length of time!  Here she is, zipping around... hair blowing in the breeze she creates.

I'm finishing up some UFOs, hopefully going to actually quilt and bind a few small projects this summer!  To that end I signed up for a McTavishing class at a LQS in August.  Wish me luck!   If you're not sure what McTavishing is, here's a link to the class book on the Amazon website. 


I finished my New York Beauty blocks and made a few extras because I can't make a decision on the layout.  I kind of like this one that's pinned up on my design wall right now, but I don't have enough of the navy to complete the corners.  That's going to require some contemplation.  And maybe shopping.
I actually did complete a few other tops, some that were on a multi-year plan.  It's time to start layering and actually getting some quilting done, which as my dedicated readers know is not my favorite part.  But I'm working on clearing out some of the clutter in my resource center, and finished quilts would definitely contribute greatly.

So 39 and Holding (above) got a border of crossword checks.  The plan is for a 'bar code' backing and maybe black binding, or maybe bar code binding.  Jury's still out on that.

The quilt top below was finished too.  It came from the 5 inch scrap bin, nearly all of the browns and golds.  That is either going to be sent to a family member or become a donation quilt.

Last but not least is the holiday bed runner, started with fabric that I won at our LQG holiday party.
It's 30 inches by about 72 inches so it should cover the end of my bed with a nice overhang on both sides.  I think I should be able to get this done by November...  fingers crossed!!  I apologize for the small photo, I can only get so far away from my design wall.  And either the light's not good at the bottom of the picture or that's a shadow of me with the camera.

ooo -- I didn't notice until just now that both dark blocks are at the bottom, and the white sashing is not distributed very evenly.  Oh well, you won't see both ends when it's on the bed!  (Because you know I'm NOT taking it apart...)

Our annual family reunion is tomorrow.  It will be very nice if the weather cooperates and it's only in the mid-seventies and not ninety in the afternoon.  We're a large and diverse group.  The party is in a cousin's big yard and the food is pot luck so you know it's going to be good and interesting...

Miss E is baking something today for the reunion.  I think I'm in charge of potato salad.  That's my specialty.

Sew on...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I've Been A Lazy Blogger...

But I HAVE been sewing.

I love to take off the Friday before and the Tuesday after a Monday holiday.  It makes the weeks on both sides so much shorter-seeming!  Of course sometimes you still have to shove 40 hours worth of work into the abbreviated week, but still.

I started a circle project.  It's inspired by the bloggers who are doing the 365 circle project, but merged with a 'target' project I saw on someone's blog, maybe the Barrister's Block??  It was a while back.

Anyway, the church quilty ladies and I were working on learning various types of machine applique -- raw edge, backed with iron on interfacing, and the like.  When I taught sewing machine classes at JoAnn's I used to have the students sew a big fat paisley shape to get inside and outside curves, and an L shape to get inside and outside corners.

I made cardboard templates so I could trace around them with a marking pen.
So I started with three different sizes of circle on a square.  I made templates using a cup, a small plate and a jar lid.

 Then I cut them out of fabric.  Hint:  Starch the fabric first, it really helps.

The biggest circle is laid on a background square, centered as much as can be but don't get anal about it.  These are raw edge appliques.  I stitched around the outside edge at 1/4 inch.  Then I CAREFULLY cut away the backing from the big circle leaving about a 1/4 inch seam allowance on the inside. 

Here you can see how I sewed each successively smaller circle on, and cut away the back of THAT circle before stitching on the last smallest circle.

This is what results when you forget to trim away the last circle!  (you can leave them but it makes a thicker seam intersection to have four layers there instead of two.

Once they're all sewn together, you cut them into four quarters, right through the center of the smallest circle.  Cut even squares, don't worry if the center is not exactly in the middle.

I used a 9 inch background, so ended up with 4.5 inch quarters.

Sew two together, press seams open, then sew the two 'twosies' together. 

Make sure you mix up your quarters.  See where I have two of the same fabric coming together?  It's not a fatal error but I should have been more careful...

See how cool they are?  I can't wait to put a quilt together using these patchy circles. 

Sew on...

Monday, June 27, 2016

This is Post Number 406

So I completely zoned on how many posts I've done... I wanted to celebrate the recent milestone but I missed it.  I think it was about three weeks ago now that I posted number

Thanks for reading!


Crafty People - The Summer Projects

You know that old saying, 'it runs in the family'?  Sometimes it's a direct route, and sometimes not.

My grandmother sewed, and evidently she did a lot of makeover type sewing, creating suits for the younger boys from cast off things my grandfather wore.  My fondest memory of quilts at her house are about a crazy quilt she made from the scraps of his suits and trousers, all grays and blacks embroidered with red floss.  The border was red as was the backing.  I don't know what she used for batting but that quilt weighed a TON.  I wish I knew where it was now.  I suspect one of the cousins has it.

My mother knew how to sew but with eight children she didn't get to do a lot of it.  We didn't even have a sewing  machine until I bought my first one when I was in high school.  She did knit and she made the most amazing socks and scarves and mittens.  Later in life she crocheted lovely afghans.

Two of her three sisters were not crafters but the one that was taught me to crochet.  As a lefty, she did things backwards for me, but it worked pretty well after we decided to sit opposite each other instead of next to each other!  It was like watching it in a mirror...

And you have also read about my aunts and cousins and our Friday Night stitchers' group.  Friday Sewing  So crafting is definitely a family trait.

My daughter knows how to sew, (as does my son) but probably only enough to sew on scout badges or mend and only if I am on the other side of the world and out of reach.  However the grands who live next door are both very crafty.

Miss E has been featured on this blog, and she has her own sewing machine, the Baby Lock I won last year at Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend.  Winner

Miss E is a project person.  She needs a locker accessory, she makes a locker accessory.  She needs PJ bottoms, she makes PJ bottoms.

Miss A, on the other hand, takes after me: i.e. she is a process person.  She wants to do it all, and sometimes she wants to do it all TODAY.  Nail Polish project

Last year we painted rocks on the patio, and we intended to do more.  I was looking for my painting supplies, and you won't believe this** but I put them away so successfully that even with the help of DH, I could not find them!  (**My craft room is so neat, you know...)

Friday on the way home I stopped in at a Michaels store.  They just happened to have acrylic paint on sale for 50 cents a bottle.  Now you know what happens when you lose something, right?  You will not find it until the day after you replace it.  So I bought six bottles to test the theory.  A small price to pay.

(**Note to self, keep looking for that box of paint supplies because they haven't magically appeared yet.)

DH has been picking up pine cones in the yard all spring so as not to run them over with the mower.  He had a big garbage can full of them just begging to be played with.  Miss A pulled out a small bucket of them just for fun.  Somewhere I'd seen painted pinecones standing in for flowers in a dried arrangement.

Thus was born our latest project.  You need the shorter pinecones for this project, those long ones don't stand up very well.

The little fat ones are the best for this project.
These are about two inches tall and about the same across the bottom.

Here's what we have done so far.

The Artist At Work.
 Cover any surfaces with paper or plastic if you're letting kids do this.  It's messy!  But the paint cleans up with soap and water off most things.

Make the centers yellow or paint the whole thing one color.

Miss A likes to make them look like asters, while I prefer the chrysanthemum look.  I think that's because she has trouble with the word chrysanthemum.

Aren't they pretty?   And guess what they can be used for?  You put them in a basket painted side up, and give them to a friend with a fireplace or a fire pit to use as kindling!  That is, after you get tired of seeing the pretty colors and let them get dried out.  So if you harvest in the spring they'll be ready to use in the fall.

I'm not sure if the paint will smell when you burn them.  And it takes two or three coats of paint because pinecones are seeds and they are porous, so the paint does soak in.  But it's so much fun to do and there is no shortage of materials free for the picking up.  (Ask your neighbors if they mind before you go into yards other than your own, but I bet they won't care.  And you can always give them some of the product when you're done.)

Craft on...

Monday, June 20, 2016


So here I am in Chicago for a Water Conference for work, with a half day meeting ahead of me and nothing definite planned until I get on tomorrow's train.

Unless I get a lunch or dinner invitation, what am I going to do with myself?

I thought about going to the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium, but the ticket prices are pretty high if you're only going for half a day.  The Museum of Science and Industry is a bit less expensive and I LOVE that place! 

Or I could try to find some fabric stores...  not that I need anything to drag home with me on the train...  maybe I can find a library.

What to do, what to do??

Sew on...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Quilt Guild Wonderful-ness!

My local quilt guild is a pretty nice group of ladies.  We meet monthly at a local library and generally have a pretty good time with some topic or other, fellowship, show and tell, the works.

We also have a monthly raffle.  Each chance is 50 cents and the prizes depend upon how much shopping the person who runs the raffle has done, and the quality of said shopping.

Not everyone enters every month, and not everyone takes more than one chance at the drawing. 

When I joined the guild, there was only one winner each month.  If there were 50 people in the room, there would be one very happy person, and 49 very sad people who hadn't won.  I always bought two chances because I usually kicked in a dollar, and I NEVER WON.

So last year when the raffle position came up, I raised up my little hand and said "I will do that".

I'm not sure what the person before me spent, or how much was realized from the kitty while she was doing it.  We usually had some kind of kit or fabric assortment for a prize.  Again, I'm not sure whether she used coupons or shopped sales, sometimes you can guess what an item might have cost by what local shops are charging -- a jelly roll is pretty much the same price no matter where you go.

I'm averaging a pretty nice pot of money and I decided that it's more fun when more people win.  Our president said "run it however you'd like to do it", so the first month I went out and got several notions and a pattern book.  The response was pretty good, a couple of the members even emailed me after and said how nice it was that there was more than one winner.

In my travels to various retail venues, I've spotted new notions, and things that seemed like they'd make live so much easier for a quilter.  Sometimes they're on sale, and I've used coupons to get the most value I can.  I've even gotten a few donations from a few people so that stretches the money even further.

Anything from Nancy is an instant favorite.

These silicone fingertips were such a hit I gave some away on two different occasions.

Since the fingertips worked, we tried an iron rest.

Of course who doesn't love books about quilting??

So the success of the monthly drawing is confirmed, everyone likes the new format, and the more they enter, the more prizes we can purchase.  Win-Win!

Of course I'm still dealing with those one-chance purchasers, and my pocket book is always on the heavy side until I shop...

Incentive?  LOL!!

Sew on...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Big Events and Small...

The 'promotion' ceremony for my oldest Grand, Miss E was last night at the local high school auditorium.  One entire section of seats was reserved for the class.  I don't know how many that was but I'm guessing a couple hundred... rows of maybe ten seats and many rows.  I have a program somewhere, I guess I could check.

Her last name is at the end of the alphabet, so we were pretty long waiting to see her walk across the stage, complete with wedge heels and swishy dress and MAKEUP!!  She is a lovely girl anyway but with some mascara and some lip gloss I thought she looked amazing.  Look out, freshman boys!  Prepare to get your hearts broken...

Her dress was beautiful.  She had picked one out at a local department store, and Mom bought it.  It needed a tuck here and there to fit perfectly, and I did that.  But when she came home from school the following Monday, she had discovered that several other girls had purchased the same dress.


A: Gramma, how much trouble is it to make a dress?
G: Depends on the dress... why?
A: I need a different dress.
G: How different?  What kind of dress?
A: Like the dress I bought, just like that but different.
G: OK... why?
A: Two other girls have the same dress.
G:  Ohhhhh, noooo.
A:  Yes, can you make one just like it but with different fabric?
G:  Sure, let's go shopping...

So we picked up some black crochet-type lace for the top, and the base fabric is satin in the preferred mint green color.  I found some chiffon in a matching green and we were off to the races.

I am lucky that she happens to be a perfect pattern size, requiring no alterations except for the length.  This is the dress hanging on my sewing room wall waiting for a try-on.  I had added a ribbon belt attached where the pink pin is showing.
She looked amazing, and her dress fit her personality to a tee.   I could tell she liked it. 

Here's the proud promote -- holding her certificate!  On Tuesday she officially starts her freshman year taking health and phys ed in summer school.  That's because she has a schedule so full of college prep electives that it was the only way to do it.

Looks AND brains and I am not bragging since it's the truth.

And amazing wedge heels that made her SOOO much taller than me.

...although they tell me that's not hard to do.

I'm so proud of her for her accomplishments.

Rock on!