Thursday, December 29, 2016

Winter Vacation

With the girls off of school for the week, DH needed a bit of a break so I anticipated that I'd be spending my week "off" being in charge of pretty much everything kid-related.

I was only partially correct.

Miss A decided we needed a schedule.  So on a daily basis she has made a list of all of the things we were going to do that day.  There is no room for deviation from the schedule!

On Monday 'we' planned everything from what to eat for lunch to what to do in the sewing room to what games we were going to play and in what order.  The only thing more rigid than her schedule is the schedule that Miss Kitty is on!  That includes a lot of loud meowing when you're not watching the clock!

We went to see Rudolph the Musical last night at the Todd Wehr Theater downtown.  That was very enjoyable and even the big sister thought so.  If you've seen Rudolph the Claymation Program on TV, you know the story and the characters.  With live actors it's very enjoyable.  The character of the "bumble" (abominable snowman) is part actor in costume and part puppet on long poles, so he can be of a size to work with the characters in person. 

You can just make out the person in a white costume holding up the bumble's left arm in the photo above.  There were a lot of those actors moving stage pieces around, and generally trying to be invisible.


The whole play takes about an hour and a half with intermission.  The theater only seats 500 so it is nice and intimate, you're close no matter where you sit.  We were far enough away to maintain the magic but close enough for a good look.

The only thing 'we' forgot to get on the schedule was Miss E's orthodontist appointment -- I looked at the calendar, saw the time and said yikes!!  We need to rearrange the day to get that squeezed in.  Which bent Miss A's timetable somewhat, but we survived.

Hermey wants to be a dentist, not an elf.
From Wikipedia:  Frederick "Todd" Wehr (April 14, 1889 -September 28, 1965) was an industrialist and philanthropist. He was co-founder of the Wehr Steel Company and founder of the Todd Wehr Foundation, Inc.  Wehr left the bulk of his estate to a trust set up for charitable religious, scientific and educational purposes. Many Wisconsin universities and cultural organizations have benefited from the Todd Wehr Foundation, including Marquette University.  Marquette has named its entire science complex after Wehr as well as a theater.
After the play ended we walked around downtown, looked at Christmas lights, and went to dinner at the Chinese restaurant I go to for lunch sometimes.

All in all, a good day.

Now for today's list...

Sew on!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Greetings!

Slightly out of focus tree...

Live Nativity Play Saturday Dec. 24
at Peace Lutheran, you are invited!

Holiday blooms... Thanks, Scott.

Last year's Santa sighting.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, and many blessings in the new year.

Sew on...

Monday, December 12, 2016

Friday Night Sewing Club

For my family Friday Night Sewing Club... unofficial of course because anybody can come and we don't always sew... sometimes we eat, or talk about sewing, or just talk.  We always talk!

The past couple of weeks we've been working on finishing up a couple of the retreat-goers' latest quilts.  One block is a snail's trail

Aunt Zel's center blocks, in red, white and gray.
The borders of each snail's trail block are made up of square in a square and this diamond block, otherwise known as the two parts of Storm at Sea.

 Nancy's diamond blocks in green, blue and purple batik.

Since I didn't attend the retreat, I am not making this particular quilt.  But since I like to sew, and I'd rather sit and sew than sit and do nothing, I don't mind sewing on someone else's project.

The blocks were paper piecing, and they had all the pieces printed out on newsprint paper, which is soft to sew through and tears off pretty easily.

The pieces need trimming once they're sewn.  You're seeing Nancy's hands zipping away in the upper right corner here:

And the pile of trimming in the center. 

Things I learned while paper piecing the diamonds:

  1. The fat end goes to the outside.
  2. It DOES matter which piece you grab for what corner...
  3. When in doubt, cut your pieces just a little bigger.  Honestly, that 1/8 of an inch matters!
  4. This pattern is tricky -- talk less, sew more!
There will be more diamonds to sew next week.  What are YOU doing on Friday??

Sew on...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Happy Birthday Kids!

I know my son looks at my blog sometimes... so son, please say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Miss K and Master J! 

Make sure there's CAKE!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tiny Geese and Frivols

My local quilt shop had Moda Frivols boxes on sale last week.  I picked up a couple for the guild raffle and me.

I already had one that I purchased a couple of months ago with a coupon.

Photo from the internet, not the one I bought.

The box contains 40-42 squares of fabric, each 7 inches square.  There's a card with a traditional block inside, with a clever quote on the back, a quilt pattern, and some other little present, sometimes it's a quilt label or two, sometimes it's a tiny tin to store things that might otherwise get lost, and one had some lovely embroidered ribbon in it.

The one I was working on last night was the Blue Barn Frivol, number 12 of 12.  The pattern is for a small table runner, the blocks are a simple star.

This pattern...

The sides are flying geese.  I actually enjoy making flying geese most of the time.  But these geese are baby geese.  Tiny.  Like the sides are half of a 2 1/8 inch square cut diagonally, and the centers are half of a 3 3/4 inch square cut into quarters.
This illustrates the size of the pieces - first squares are cut, then some of them are sub-cut once and some are sub-cut twice.  The result is tiny triangles. 

Things I learned from cutting this kit:
  • A seven inch square of fabric is relatively small.
  • Cutting directions are not always developed for the most economical use of fabric.
  • 2 1/8" is an odd size to find on most rulers. 
  • I personally need to cut the squares that are sub-cut just a hair larger for the way I sew.  
  • Even if you are the most accurate, careful sewist a quarter inch seam and a scant quarter inch seam can be worlds apart!
  • You cannot press out some errors...
  • When in doubt, cut a new piece.  It's OK to toss a couple of inches of fabric rather than pull out your hair.

Tiny geese, measuring 1.5 by
3 inches.  That's a small goose! 
Lucky me, when I cut out all the pieces there was enough fabric left to cut more pieces.  99% of the triangles were the proper size to make the geese with the proper 1/4 inch seam allowance at the points, but the ones that didn't fit REALLY didn't fit!

There are multiple squares of each color in the kit.  There are star pieces and background pieces, and they are cut from the same fabric.  You are instructed to cut four small squares and one large square from one pattern/color, then use the same pattern/color to cut a different sized large square and four small squares.  This got confusing to me,

I divided the frivols into two piles, making sure I had one of each color in both piles.  Then I took several off the top of the first pile and cut the one set of squares.  I took the same fabrics off the second pile and cut the second set of squares.  Or so I thought.

Doing this while binge-watching the replay Downton Abbey may not have been the best idea.

I should have just cut the first pile and then cut the second pile, keeping to one size of square at a time.  Why?  Too many of one color, not enough of another!

See the pile on the right?  That should be FOUR small squares, and it's ONE small square.

Lovely Blue Barn colors.
A word about Frivols -- at a normal price of $40-45, these tins are not inexpensive.  I bought mine on sale or with coupons.  The tin is adorable, and since I have a thing for collecting them, I thought they were worthwhile buying, but you can get about 15 fat quarters for the same amount of money, and there are free patterns all over the internet.  So think about it.

Some who bought Frivols on Amazon or other places were disappointed because they didn't come with enough contents to actually complete the project -- you have to supply your own batting, backing and binding.  Several commented that they were disappointed or felt misled.

To them I say:  IF YOU READ THE CONTENTS on the side of the tin or the description on the website, you should understand what's inside.  It's a four inch by two inch by seven inch tin!  How much did you think was going to be in there?

I'm very happy with my purchase of Frivols.  But not too happy with my cutting skills this week!

So lessons learned.  Crisis averted since I have enough fabric left to remedy my errors.  I made one complete block and about a dozen geese units before it was time to go to bed.  When I go back to this project I'll listen to the radio instead of watching TV... maybe classical music with no distracting words!
Sew on...

Monday, December 5, 2016

Doll Coat Update

Here's the doll coat I knit last week and posted about... modeled by my old Samantha doll.  After putting the coat on the model, I decided the sleeves were too short.  I knit the proper number of rows, but maybe the author's doll had shorter arms, or maybe my gauge was off slightly.  So I picked out the bind off stitches and knit more row.

I decided the sleeve length needed

I had one ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that I used for the cap, scarf and mittens.  After finishing cap and scarf, I divided the balance into two small balls, eyeballing it for about equal distribution.  And of course after starting the mittens in blue I realized there wasn't going to be enough to finish.  If they hadn't been so small (20 stitches each) I might have attempted stripes, but I think finishing with the cream turned out well.
Isn't this cap cute?

One ball of Cashmerino was used for the accessories.
Miss A helped me choose some coat buttons from the Resource Center on Saturday, so now we're good to go in the snow that fell on Sunday.

Here's what the street looked like this morning at the first stop sign on my commute.

Knit on...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What's On The Needles

I've been on call lately to help Miss A with her fourth grade homework.  While I'm listening to her read the problems out loud I'm usually doing some knitting.

(Who knew they were getting these kids into algebra in fourth grade??  If snake A is 36 cm longer than snake B and snake B is 117 cm shorter than snake C, and snake C is 245 cm long, how long are the others? OMG!  And SNAKES!)

I purchased and downloaded a couple of books on doll clothing patterns from Annie's Catalog.  The one book had the most adorable coat on the front page...

It is all garter stitch, so you knit, knit, and knit and keep knitting.  There's very minor increase/decrease work, so nothing fancy.  I knit one in cream yarn and started another one in a relatively dark green.  My only gripe is that it wants you to use relatively small needles -- fours.  I'm used to doing everything on eights but gauge is gauge.  If you don't believe me go read the Yarn Harlot blog from late last week!

I'd thought to use up some of my small less than a skein balls of yarn, but the coat uses a pretty good amount, something like four to six ounces, which is almost a whole skein depending upon the yarn.

I did have a skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmireno to make the hat/scarf/mittens combo to go with the cream coat.  And let me tell you those mittens are crazy small!  Even so, I ran out of the blue half way through the mittens.  I was making two at a time, like I like to do, and got to the point of splitting for the thumb (yes, a thumb!) and I had to switch back to the cream.  I intended to take a picture but I didn't... I'll post one when the other coat is done.

Here's the close up from the book:

Coat and hat from the book.

My next project from this book is going to be this one... ballerina!  I found a skein of pink Fun Fur and a pink Caron to match.  I couldn't resist trying the Fun Fur to see whether it looks as impressive as the picture and it does!
This is project three... I have to check my supply because the pattern calls for number 3 DK weight yarn and I may not have any gray in DK. 
So that either requires another color scheme, which would NOT be impossible, or I might have to go to JoAnns' on my way home.  (Oh No!!)  That could be dangerous because I hardly ever get out of there for less than $25.  But I do have coupons!

That's what's happening in my world theses days...

Knit on...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Another Long Weekend Over!

After one week of working from home for a bit and a four day weekend, I have to go back to the salt mines and start chipping away at my pile of things to do.

The quilt top I had begun two months ago for our local guild got done over the weekend.  It's not either of these, although it IS the same pattern...  These are two that were quilted by my friend Suzi for our church guild.  I stitched up the top on the navy and multicolored on, and cut up the kit for the one with the beige borders.

I made this top, expertly quilted by Suzi.

The Bonnie version, also quilted by Suzi.

This one was sewn by our ultimate overachiever, Bonnie, and completed after I'd given her more of the beige fabric... seems that I shorted the kit by two WOF strips.

The only other thing I managed to sew all weekend was to hem a pair of my hubby's pants.

One whole day was spent sorting through the books and toys in the guest room, discarding or donating the things that were too babyish for the under-8 crowd.

The impetus for this was that the grands were over on Thanksgiving, and you know how well kids clean up after themselves.  In doing that, I discovered that there had been an inordinate amount of scissors activity on things from the toy box that should probably not be cut.  Trolls and a doll got haircuts and a few stuffed toys were dismembered.  And if you can believe it, tossed back into the toy box that way!

I guess the best you can say about that is that at least they didn't cut each other up...

So scissors are now verboten upstairs and the pool of potential victims has been thinned considerably.  What goes through the mind of a child?  Who can tell... but this just proves to me that anyone under the age of 27 probably still has some mental growing to do, and perhaps many OVER that age too!

A number of large black plastic garbage bags made their way to the Goodwill Donation Center today and that's a good thing. 
The baby was still there but the
mom and dad are missing.

If you buy this from the GW,
I hope you have your own chicken!

Someone else's child will surely enjoy the Fisher-Price doll house, farm and that little roller that plays music as you push it around.  I will not miss that!  I don't think you can even buy it anymore... I tried Google-ing to see what it was called and it's not even in the images anymore.  Although there is that think that's supposed to be a lawn mower and makes popping sounds.  THAT was obnoxious too!

All that cleaning led me to feel rather virtuous, but it didn't get a lot of projects finished.

There's always next week, right?

Sew on...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Road to Crazytown...

There used to be this joke that was making the rounds... maybe you've heard it.  How do you keep a (insert your favorite group here) in suspense?


Ha ha, right?

I do a lot of strange things at work, like find a source for antique-style mailboxes for a street project or find out how cyanide occurs in nature or what the minimum order is if we need to buy new spoons for the kitchen.

Recently I've been assisting the lady who runs the Water Group Technical Network in a recruiting campaign, getting our staff to sign up for one or more technical forums.  There are weekly prizes and there will be a nice grand prize at the end.

I'm in charge of sending the prizes to the weekly winners.

We bought a supply of 'Cubebots' and had our company logo printed on them.  They're just a cute little trinket to reward the people who signed up, and a reminder that most of the staff are engineers and scientists who like solving puzzles.

I like puzzles too.  Crosswords are my favorites but I like fill-ins and jigsaws too. 

This Cubebot comes in a little box with directions on how to unroll him and roll him back up.  The unrolling is no problem.  I've unrolled them so I can send them in a flat mailer rather than a box.  But putting him back into the box is a challenge.

There always seems to be something
that sticks out...

...or up...

I know he came OUT of that box!!

This looks painful.

Oh God!  I give UP!!
It IS possible.  They say this is a type of intelligence test or maybe it's just a modern form of torture.  Like Sudoku.  Or logic problems.

It only took me 20 minutes this time.

Rock on!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Making a Big Mess!

Last night on my way home from work I saw this building leaning like crazy.  They're removing it to make way for something, I'm not sure what.  It's been there for about a hundred years give or take a decade.

Today it's just a big mess!

I was sitting through a lot of traffic
 at a red light and waiting for my
turn.  Look past the car ahead of me,
on the right, you can see a pile.

Getting closer to the corner, this pile
was upright last night but is pushed
down today.
This part of the building is still leaning...

but I expect that either tonight on my way home, or next week on the way in I will see a whole block long pile of rubble in place of this old building.

Out with the old, in with the new!  I wonder if they're putting in condos.  That seems to be our modus operandi in the near downtown area these days.

Are you a maker?  Theses guys surely are (and I mean guys in the generic sense because I'm sure there are women in construction too).

All I've made this week has already been posted.  Mostly it was just a mess in my sewing room, but at least I made something!  How big is your mess this week, or are you a clean as you go person?

Sew on...

Stampin Up Gifts

I placed an order from Stampin Up a couple of weeks ago.  I have a demonstrator I've known for several years.  Her husband works here at my company so I hear from him when there's a sale or something exciting happens like new stamps are out or she's hosting a card-making session.
I ordered on line and chose her as my demonstrator.  You can do that even if you didn't have a party or attend one. You don't get any freebies that way but sometimes you just want something without any fuss.
She sent me (as she always does) an adorable thank you note, made by herself of course.   There's usually a little gift attached or enclosed.

This time there was a tiny clipboard in the envelope.  Check it out!  It's a small cardboard square covered in cute paper, with some small memo-sized white paper attached with-of all things-a binder clip!

However it's not just ANY old binder clip.  This binder clip is covered with matching paper. A couple of pieces of ribbon are attached just for fun.

It's the perfect size to hang next to my phone for when you need to jot down someone's number.

And of course she stamped the 'maker' on the back and wrote her name on it!

Very cute, and so appreciated!  Thanks, Connie.

Stamp on...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Christmas is Coming!!

Today I looked at the calendar and gasped in mock horror -- there are only 39 days until Christmas Day!!


What???  How can that be??  Yeah, I know it's on December 24-25 every year.  But I didn't know it was almost here!!

Well, we're seeing these in the stores....
 My Christmas Cactus is starting up again...

And I think it might be time to get some of those craft items done that I started seems like last week.  Except it turns out it was last week plus a year ago...

Maybe it's the unseasonably nice weather we've been having here in Wisconsin.  Most of the area still looks like this

So I'm sure a lot of us are not in the mood for this yet...

Those of you who complain that Christmas has been in the stores for too long already will need to TRY to have just a little sympathy for those of us who feel like it's sneaking up on us.


Sew on!