Monday, December 21, 2015

Keeping Secrets

It's hard to keep secrets from some people, especially this time of year.

As a famous man once was quoted...

and when you live in close proximity to Miss A, there's no chance.  
Yesterday I finished up the holiday shopping, I think.  Then I schlepped it all upstairs to the bedroom and started the wrapping.
And wrapped.
And wrapped.
And... ugh.  I ran out of boxes.  I recycle boxes from one year to the next.  People take their gifts home in large bags and leave the boxes for next year.
Some of my boxes are approaching or have exceeded their expiration dates.
Tape.  Lots of tape.  Lots and LOTS of tape!
Although I'm now down to two opened rolls of wrapping paper, so that's a plus.  I have a bunch with the cellophane wrappers on them, but I'm leaving them for next year.  You have to use the stuff you have open before  you open new stuff, right?
So now all I have to do is keep Miss A out of the room with the computer until Thursday...
Keep calm and wrap on...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Finding Treasures

My cousins and aunties and I recently went to the Columbus Antique Mall in Columbus Wisconsin for a day of treasure hunting.

Columbus Antique Mall
*Wisconsin's Largest Antique Mall*
"Where dealers shop for their merchandise."
Over 78,000 square feet of antiques displayed and sold by
222 of Wisconsin's finest dealers in 444 booths in 18 rooms.
Enter Everyday  8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Shop In Air Conditioned Comfort
Broad Range of Antiques, Collectibles, Glassware
Pottery, China, Used Books, and Vintage Decorating
Peruse our 3rd floor of furniture.
Enjoy Snacks & Beverages in our World's Fair Lounge/Mall

Cash/Check Only and No Credit/Debit
239 Whitney St., P.O. Box 151, Columbus, WI  53925-0151
Phone or Fax: 920-623-1992
They bill themselves as above, and I have to say I believe it!  The place is HUGE on a grand scale... bigger than I've been able to cover in a day with any degree of comfort.
We usually get there around 9 a.m. and shop until we literally run out of energy to move.  This day it ended up being around 2 p.m. when we checked out and went to lunch.
My cousins were looking for Christmas items, jewelry and other miscellany.  Kelly found an adorable mini Christmas tree with little tiny lights on its branches.  You probably had one back in the fifties or remember one from your childhood.
A woman shopping near us spotted her with it, and tried to get her to turn it over... she even offered her money to give it up!  No way that was happening, and the woman proceeded to follow us throughout the day, probably hoping Kelly would abandon it somewhere!
Sheesh, creepy!
I found some linens in two different booths.  I have a thing about linens with embroidery or crochet trims.  I'll use them if they're the right size, and I'm also stashing some for a quilt project I have in mind.

Check out all the gorgeousness!  All hand work by someone in the past, and beautifully kept.  I don't know if some of these were ever used!
If you haven't been to the Columbus mall, you should go, or find one near you and explore.  You never know what you will find and you have to be prepared to look at a LOT of stuff to find the treasures.
Shop on...

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Quilt Guild Challenge!!

Last Tuesday night our local quilt guild had the annual Christmas party and a local restaurant.  We had a lovely meal and the ladies on the committee did a bang up job of decorations and games.

The table toppers were given out as door prizes.  All but the last winner got to choose which table topper they wanted to take home.  The one I made

went to someone who seemed very excited to get it.  I'm so pleased!

We all brought a half yard of fabric in a brown paper bag.  When game time came, everyone picked a bag, sight unseen.  We opened them, looked at them, and put them back into the bags.  One of the organizers read a short story about Christmas using the words left and right a lot.  Each time she said left, the bags were passed to the left.  Each time she said right, well you get it...

The fabrics are to be made into something between now and our April meeting.  Here's the one I ended up with...

Now I just have to think of a project to use it in.
Christmas is 11 days away and I'm not done shopping or knitting or sewing.  I've stayed up too late too many nights this month.  Why doesn't someone tell me Christmas is coming much sooner than I realize it??   LOL!!
Lots of my presents look like this:

or this:

But at least the tree is up!!

Happy holidays!

Keep calm and carry on....


Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Sewing

I'm not going to post about EVERYTHING I'm working on, at least not yet... that might ruin a surprise or two.  But over the past weekend and one weekday evening, I did start a couple of little holiday dresses for a few of my dolly acquaintances.

I have a bin of small pieces of some fancy fabrics.  It includes some satin, some tulle and organza, and a couple of pieces of both silk duppioni and silk taffeta.  Dresses that were worn just one holiday season by the Grands sometimes make it into the 'potential fabric' stash too.

This year I actually have a commission to make two dresses for someone, and one potential commission if that lady likes the dresses, and a couple for the grand-dolls.

The fabric for this dress came in a large bag of odds and ends from a cousin, who dropped it off at my aunty's, who decided she didn't need any of it and said "take what you want and get it out of my living room".  You don't have to ask ME twice!

The skirt and sleeves are the plaid taffeta, and the bodice is a bright blue sort of fake velveteen.  You can't really tell but there's a fine black stripe running through it about every eighth of an inch.  I lined the bodice with some white rayon, and ended up hand stitching it down over the sleeve seam.

Once I have the skirt attached, all that remains is some Velcro at the back neck and we're done.

The fabric for this dress was one of Miss A's size two toddler dresses.  It was so adorable I couldn't part with it.  The skirt is white lining covered with pink sparkle organza.  The minute she spotted that dress she decided it was for her.  I have to remember to hide stuff better!

It is really pretty, though, very sparkly. 

But she reminded me that she has TWO dolls who need holiday dresses.  I'm up to six that need sewing now... so I went looking for some holiday fabric at JoAnn's this week.  Would you believe there was NO plaid taffeta to be had?  None.  Lots of solid stuff for special occasion, but no plain.  There was one bolt of some embroidered satin, and one bolt of gold poly with diagonal tucks sewn in.  I came away with a couple of pieces of poly knit with a sequin-type pressing, very sparkly, in four colors.

We'll see how that works out.

Meanwhile I ordered some red/green plaid fabric with gold lurex threads running through it from  Hopefully that makes enough choices for six dresses.

Yikes!  Time to get busy!

Sew on...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Almost Forgot!

I nearly forgot about the bulbs I planted when I did my list yesterday... it didn't happen within the past week but a couple of weeks ago I actually did some gardening!

Yeah, me.

My friend Suzi said she had some tulip bulbs that were ready to be planted, and did I want some?  I do not do a lot of gardening.  In fact I'd say over the past eight years what I've done has been not worth mentioning.  I do supervise well.  But dig, me?  Not so much.

She brought them over on a Saturday and DH was viewing them very skeptically.  I suppose he knows me too well.  He actually said "what are you going to do with those?" like he thought maybe I'd planned to cook them or something.

It was a nice day, so I got out the handy dandy short spade and started digging.

I had yellow, red, and a red/yellow combination.  You dig a hole six inches deep, poke in the bulb and cover it up.  Easy, right?

At first I was thinking, oh, she only gave me three packages.  Well, I didn't know how many she had, it could have been half... and after all, I'm no gardener.

After opening the first package and counting out a dozen bulbs I thought, OH MY GOSH, SHE GAVE ME THREE PACKAGES!!!  That's 36 holes!!

After much bending, pushing, digging, and groaning, they were all planted.  My front yard should be lovely this spring, if the squirrels don't discover that the last six to ten holes are probably less than six inches deep... 

Bloom where you're planted...



Monday, November 30, 2015

Post-Thanksgiving Post

I cannot believe it's been 12 days since I blogged!  It seems like I spent every single one of those days running like mad to get something done.

What have I been up to?

  1. Hosted visit from brother and sister-in-law from Washington - the state of.
  2. Hosted visit from brother and sister-in-law from Minnesota.
  3. Did family visiting with all of the above.
  4. Knit a cowl scarf.  One ball of yarn and big needles - not that hard...
  5. Spent a day baking and preparing for Thanksgiving with my two helpers, aged 8 and 14.
  6. Baked for the pre-Thanksgiving pie social at church. 
  7. Attended church and the pre-Thanksgiving pie social at church.
  8. Hosted Thanksgiving. 
  9. Cleaned up after Thanksgiving.
  10. Did some simple stitching on a couple of fleece projects.
  11. Made some no-sew fleece scarves.  This involved a rotary cutter.  And a band aid.
  12. Took a family shopping trip to the Columbus WI Antique Mall.
  13. Cleaned out my basement storage area
  14. Located the cords to my serger while cleaning.
  15. Started sewing on dolls Christmas dresses.
  16. Oh yes, I did work two days last week too!
Whew, no wonder I'm tired.  I actually felt like coming back to work today was a vacation!

Cowl, knit with one ball of very cool yarn, can't remember where I got it and the label was missing.

Here are my latest sewing room projects.

 I got a small piece of fleece in a donated bag that had shoes on it.  I cut a large slice the width of the fabric, trimmed the edges and called it a winter scarf.  There was a chunk left over so I made myself a neck warmer.  The top was hemmed, so all I did was cut a slit.  Viola, neck warmer!

A neck warmer for inside my winter coat.

You cut a small slit, slide the other end through the slit and it stays put without tying.  I love the print.
There was still a small piece left, five inches wide at one end and about seven at the other...

I measured enough to go from one end of the hanger I wanted to cover to the other.  The strip is about five inches wide, and ended up about 15 to 16 inches long.  The strip should be cut with the stretch going from end to end, although this will work the other way.  It just goes on better if you cut 'horizontally'... with the greatest stretch across the long edge.

I folded the strip in half, and made a small cut - about a half inch long - on the fold.  That is where you stick the hook portion of the hanger.

Fold wrong sides together, and stitch both short ends as shown.  I used about a half inch seam allowance.
Turn right side out and insert the hanger.  This cover will keep your slippery clothes from sliding off the hanger and ending up on the closet floor.  Make pretty ones to give as gifts.  You could even use a double layer if you were trying to make a padded hanger.

Hanger cover.  Excuse the taped cardboard tube, normally I toss wire hangers out.  This works on plastic too.

Sew on...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christmas Table Runner Finished!

The other day I was working on a table runner for our LQG Christmas meeting.  I had always wanted to do a quilt project using the tumblers block shape. 

There are several if not a dozen or so different rulers for this.  If you don't like any of those already out there, you can make a template pretty easily by drawing a rectangle and angling one of the sides.  Then you 'mirror image' that shape.

I have a couple of rulers.  I bought the Easy Dresden so many years ago I don't even remember when... that's the one I used for my table runner.

I also bought The Crumbler from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company last year.  That was before Carrie Nelson closed down her shop and went to work for Moda.  But you can still get the Crumbler and the other tiny version on Amazon.

 So using my bin of 2 1/2 inch strips, I cut up a lot of Christmas colors and filled the bottom of a bin.

I sat down in the kitchen with the Princess's Baby Lock and started randomly stitching pieces into pairs, and then pairs into quads, etc.  Because these pieces are so small (I mean, you can see how skinny they are!! The finished 'fat' end is only an inch wide!), I pressed the seams open. 
Well, yes, I did press eventually, but for most of the process I used my Little Wooden Iron.  Those little bits of lumber are awesome!!
I use my Little Wooden Iron all the time for small seams until I can take a big batch over to the ironing board.

The seams on the lower one were pressed down with the LWI, the top ones were pressed with the Big Metal and Plastic Iron.

Once I had fours I laid them out on my table and tried to figure out how big the table runner would be.  I had about a quarter of my table covered in width, so that was about 26-28 inches.  Of course there are a million seams to something when there are this many pieces, so it turned out much smaller.

Then I sewed them into rows, and pressed again, then sewed the rows to each other.  The edges were of course wonky because of the shape of the pieces.  If you're working with larger pieces it might be OK to precut the end pieces in half, but for these, no way.

After a final press I simply cut off the wonky edges with a long ruler, squaring them up to the straighter long edges.

I found a piece of batting that was just the right size, and a nice red and green print for the back.  With the application of a striped binding and a little channel quilting between the rows, it was done!

It ended up approximately 14 1/2 inches by 20 inches. I like how it turned out.  It was a fun little project.  I hope whoever wins it at the LCQG holiday party enjoys it.

Sew on...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Swearing Off PR AGAIN!

Warning, there are no pictures in this post.  The subject deserves none.

We switched from the local cable company to another television provider this week, to bundle our phone, internet and TV and save a bunch of money.

DH asked me whether I'd be upset if any of the things I'd recorded to watch later were gone so as to know how to schedule the install.  I was a little sad about the Jeopardy episodes, but what the hey, they'll rerun on Saturdays. 

BUT there were some other things I did want to watch, so I did a marathon on Sunday and watched all the episodes I'd missed of Blue Bloods and Miss Fisher's Mysteries and some other things.

I did not watch the Project Runways.  It turns out I didn't miss anything... in fact it's probably for the best that I did not watch, as the winner was once again someone whose collection was totally inappropriate for all but the very most Betsy Johnson-like among us.

UGH!! is all I can say.  If you want a true and honest review, you can go to Threads Magazine and read the one from "sews 4 fun" at the bottom of the list.  Or read Rita Farro's column, link at lower right of this blog.

Poor Ashley, she's been duped into thinking she did something good.  Hopefully her collection will die a natural death, as it deserves. 

Judges, seriously??  Take a step back and think about it.  Maybe this was one season where NOBODY deserved to win because none of them met the challenge or qualified as fashion.

Shame on you, Heidi and Nina.  Would you wear anything from the winning collection?  You would not be caught dead in it, even if it fit better.  So don't expect any of us big girls to do so either.

And officially I am done watching.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Sew on...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day is Not for Happy

I heard at least a dozen people today say "Happy Veteran's Day".  IMHO, it's not about happy.  It's about honoring those who have served honorably to keep freedoms of all kinds in this country.

So free speech, free choice, freedom of religion and freedom from it, if that's what you want... that's everyone's right if they're a citizen of this country in good standing.

I honor all the military men and women in this country today, and specifically the ones in my family.  My uncles for their service in World War II and after, my brothers and my sister for their service in peacetime, my cousins and their children for their service now, and my husband for his service during the Vietnam era.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

And everyone who ever supported a military person, as it's been said, they also serve who stand and wait.  And pray for safe returns from service.

Those freedoms that were so hard-won include the freedom to be either right or wrong, to be smart or not so smart, to have your opinion as long as you don't try to force it on me, and to say and do whatever you want within the laws of this country and as long as you are willing to bear the consequences of your actions.

God bless America and all her protectors, today and every day.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stop the Presses!!! Alert The Media!!!

DH finally broke down and got a new phone!

This photo came from a Wikipedia article on the 'evolution of the phone' I think this was from about 2000... and what DH had was a number 3.  No iPhones here!!

It was a good phone at one time.  It did what he wanted it to do: he got calls, he made calls.  He hates having his picture taken so there's no reason he would want to take anyone else's I guess.  He will not text, although he could receive and read them.

But the Phone Company informed him months ago that they were going to stop supporting that technology at the end of 2016.

Me:  You should get a better phone.
DH:  Why?  This one still works.
Me:  I know, but you've had it forever.  Maybe it's time to get a nicer one.
DH:  I'm going to make them support me until the end of next year.

Hmmm.  OK then!

This past week I called him on his cell twice, and left messages.  On Saturday I was out with a friend at Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee, and called him to say I'd be later than I expected.

When I got home at 6:00 p.m. he said "I thought you were going to be home at 5".  I said "I called you and left a message!"

He looked at his phone.  No bars.  Well maybe half a bar.  And no message waiting signal.  He called his voicemail, sure enough, there's a message!

Daughter and granddaughters also encouraged getting a new phone.  He finally broke down and got one this Monday.

Here's how far we have progressed:
Rock on!  Not exactly the latest and greatest, but maybe it's the best that can be expected.  And the 14 year old can help him set it up.  LOL!

P.S.  Laura, the UPS man should be bringing you a little package soon... congratulations, hope you like it!

Thursday, November 5, 2015


I read all of the comments on my post about doll clothes for the 18 inch dolls.  Thank you for the kind words.  Princess A read them too and picked the winner.  We put the commenter's names into a hat and she drew out the name of LauraJJ.  Congratulations Laura!  I will email you for your address and mail your prize on Monday!

Sew on...

Cutting Edge

Yesterday I was remembering my maternal grandparents in a particularly sentimental way... my grandmother was a homemaker who gave birth to 13 children and raised 11 to adulthood.  My mother was fourth from youngest, so my gram was already 'older' when I was born.  Mom's oldest brother was married before she was born, and I had several cousins who already had children of their own.

My grandmother passed away in 1968 and my grandfather in 1975.

My grandmother doing a crossword puzzle in her sunroom.

What made me nostalgic this time was a pair of dull scissors.


Yes. Dull scissors. 

Now I would NEVER let a pair of scissors get this bad!  Although I have seen a few pairs like this sitting around shops or garages.  It makes me shudder.

I had given Princess E a sewing kit including a nice pair of Kai sheers, or what I thought was a nice pair, but it turned out that they were dull and had a little nick in the lower blade.  (I'm not even guessing how that could have happened...)  Just last month I had seen an ad for scissors sharpening at the Ben Franklin near me, but the timing was totally off.  You never see the ad BEFORE you discover the dire need...

Which brought me around to my grandparent.  My gramps was a master carpenter, and he had his own little shop after he retired, in a converted garage behind their house.  He sharpened knives and scissors and saws in addition to building lawn furniture and picnic tables.  He believed that sharp tools worked better and were safer.  He would have fixed up my scissors in no time flat.

I gave the Princess a different pair of scissors and took back the dull ones.  I'm watching for the ad again.

It's not like I actually NEED them... how many pairs of scissors do I have anyway?  Well, how many do YOU have???  LOL!

I have Gingers (two pairs), Kai (two, including the dull ones), Fiskars (three large, two small), applique scissor (two), curved and straight small scissors of various manufactures, and about a half dozen pairs of the one dollar and two dollar kinds you get at the hardware store.  Not counting pinking shears, buttonhole scissors and those cute little stork scissors.  To say nothing of nippers, clippers, and seam rippers!

I think I'm well equipped in the cutting department!

I even have one pair of Fiskars that was used to cut floor tile, but that is a story for another post!

Sew on...