Friday, April 28, 2017

Arbor Day the Last Friday in April

April 28, 2017 is National Arbor Day.  Do you remember when you were in grade school, maybe someone took you out to the schoolyard to plant a tree?  It always seemed like an exercise in futility to me, I mean from year to year I went to different schools, never staying in one spot more than a couple of years.  I never did get to see any of those trees I tossed a spoon of dirt on, so how did I know it was even helping?

Trees take a very long time to grow.  Well, except for bamboo, which I understand grows almost visibly every day!
I do remember a very large tree outside my grandma & grandpa's back door that three of us smaller children could hide behind without even trying.  We loved climbing up in the crook of the apple trees in their side yard and picking the apples right off the branches.
I am an admirer of trees now in my adult life.  I prefer shade over sun, and the bigger the tree the better I like it!
This week when a tree in our yard needed cutting, I was very sad.  That half of the yard will be very sunny this summer, and my tenants will have to get a big umbrella for their picnic table if they want to use the patio when it's hot!

 I feel like the Ents (Lord of the Rings), mourning for my lost friends...

Ent, looking sad.
I'll get over it!

Seriously, working for water engineers has made me realize just how much trees mean to life.  Trees provide shade and homes for birds and squirrels and all that.  But they also help manage stormwater runoff and absorb unwanted nutrients from groundwater.  They help with water retention and hold the soil together to defeat erosion.

Trees have marvelous resiliency, coming back after forest fires.  Their seeds spread out and sprout and pretty soon the cycle starts over.

I think I like trees so much because most of them are green, and green is my favorite color.  But then I love them in the fall when they turn all of those gorgeous colors too.

Happy Arbor Day!  Go hug a tree...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy!

When it rains, it pours, right?

Just about the time I figured I could start working on something besides the quilt for our re-retiring Pastor, a whole bunch of additional projects made their way into my queue.


I guess it's good to be busy!

Our church guild had its annual full work day last weekend.  I'm happy to report that a good time was had by all, including Miss A, who accompanied me again this year.  She spent a lot of time helping me organize the day and setting up.  She managed the quilt bingo process and handed out prizes.  She's a good worker when she wants to be!

I managed to sew one block that day.  Oh, and it was started last year, I just finished it up!

However, I did help pin baste the Pastor Mike car quilt so we could send it home with Suzi the quilt expert.  I'm happy to say that we have had our call answered, and our new pastor starts on June 1.  Thank God for blessing received!

Front... the bottom panel is repeated across
the top and a small black border finished it up.
The back side panel consist of this between two panels
of a print with small green, red and blue sports cars.
A couple of the ladies worked on the latest class of hand print quilt blocks from our preschool.  And a few others sewed up some string blocks and some other things for our parts department.  Miss Suzi quilted up one of the things we pinned, so plenty of work was done that day.

Thanks, ladies!

The following day was the Mukwonago quilt show, day two.  That was a lovely show, fine things were to be seen there.  The theme was 1930s for their 30th year.  I like 30s fabric but I'm not in love with it, so it seemed that many of the quilts were so similar that they kind of mushed together.

Thirties prints... we all have them.

Not that they aren't lovely, but after a while they all seemed to look the same.
This week has been a rush to get my sewing room put back together because I went to buy thread at a local sewing store and came home with a floor model Koala cabinet!  Yes, DH said "expensive thread"... 
The base of the cabinet, without the doors.
He complained a lot, mostly because he had to put it together after he took it apart to put it in the basement.
It's now installed, and while one half of the room is neat and tidy with a new cabinet in it, the other half looks like a hand grenade went off in it!
Bombed area...
So much for making a few new tops to wear to Sewing Weekend in Beaver Dam...
Maybe next year.
Sew on...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sewing Weekend

Today we're having a sewing day at church.  The ladies will be meeting in two hours to finish the Pastor's retirement quilt and do other fun stuff.

If you want to read about the best girlfriends weekend ever, you should go to Rita's blog here:  Sewing Weekend  because Rita Farro will be there, and her explanation is about as good as it could be.

Sew on...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Weekend - Updated!

This is the first Easter weekend in I don't know how many years that I didn't have to make a big family meal.  I kind of missed having everyone over but not having to do all the cooking and cleaning up both before and after was a very nice experience.

DD treated her dad and me to a very nice brunch at a local watering hole. 

Definitely not a hole in the wall!!  The restaurant was lovely, so was the extensive buffet, and the desserts -- well it's an overused expression but they were to die for.

The church services this year were as well done as I've ever seen them.  Lenten services presented short dramas, conversations with various participants during Passion week as they were imagined by the writer of the program.  Maundy Thursday communion service and Good Friday's service of darkness led up to a wonderful Easter Festival celebration.

Cap that off with cheesecake and I'm not sure it would get any finer.  If only the rain had held off until AFTER the Sunday School egg hunt, but what's a little mud between friends?

I spent a LOT of money on thread on Saturday, LOL!

Laughing because I went to Frank's Sewing Center to buy thread and ended up buying a floor model of a Koala Cabinet... it's a long story.  DH says that Suzi and I are not allowed to buy any more thread!!
This base and its hutch (hiding behind it) need to go...

Where this big mess lives!! 
I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons clearing out the space where the cabinet will go and it doesn't look quite so bad anymore.  Right now it's living in DH's parking spot in the garage.  His poor car is suffering the elements.  :-(

The sacrifices some people are asked to make for the arts!!

Sew on...

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Miracle of Modern Electronics

Remember when you had a phone, and you had a camera, and they weren't the same thing?

OMG I have become my GRANDMOTHER!!

We had some issues over the weekend with the granddaughter's phone, and DH and she went to the phone store.  A year or so ago I wrote a post about my DH and his analog phone, and how he was forced to get a new phone, and he bought a FLIP PHONE!

So, Miss E has an iPhone, and she always wants the latest and greatest, as all teenagers do.  She was having some problems that could not be solved by anyone in our house, and DH decided he'd take her up to the phone store and ask the experts.

About an hour later, they came back.  She was all smiles!  I said "They fixed it?"  She said "Yes, and Grampa got an iPhone!!!"

Almost immediately DD came over to gloat and give her dad a hard time or maybe see for herself!  Miss E had texted her on the way home.  Really, it was an event worth marking!

So they took some selfies and had a fun time.

Meanwhile I am still trying to figure out how to get the camera in my phone to take a lower size of photo.  My son helped me clear up some annoying issues with my phone on Saturday, but even he said he couldn't find a place to change the photo size.

He did make it possible to get a few more pics off the camera -- here's what's been on the needles and hooks recently:

Knitted Beret, my desk lamp is making
a cooperative model, isn't she?

Crocheted cap with a shell pattern, and
a bow made of leftover taupe yarn.
Doing handcrafts makes my brain quiet after the craziness of phones and cameras and computers.  I feel calm with needles or a crochet hook and a ball or two (or twenty) of soft yarn.  Except when the pattern gets a little complicated, the act of making is usually an enjoyable experience.

I hope it's that way for you too!

Rock on with your making...

Friday, April 7, 2017

Random Thoughts for Friday

Today is Friday so I'm sitting on my two hour plus team call for work, multitasking and not paying the proper amount of attention I guess.  Hopefully since I talked for my three minutes I will be ignored the rest of the call!

I have discovered that if I'm knitting on my lunch period, the lamp on my desk is a good substitute for a hat model.  Necessity is the mother of invention -- so true!  But even though I took a photo, I can't post it because for some odd reason my phone is not communicating with my email, and the picture is a gazillion megabytes large!

Where is the eight year old when you need one?

I found an interesting article recently on making to-do lists.  It was in a presentation about artistic journaling which veered off into left brain/right brain concepts and made me think that I'm going down a rabbit hole again... like HERE -- Rabbit hole -- but it made me think about creativity and how it starts.  Or how it gets bogged down in details sometimes.

Our church guild is making a quilt with a car theme for our retiring pastor.  He's a car guy, and my mind just went to checkered flags and applique right off the bat.  I got the center medallion made, and the other ladies made a BUNCH of black and white checkerboard pieces to go around it.

I am now struggling with the next step because this quilt wants to be horizontal, when I wanted it to be vertical!  I made some additional primary color blocked pieces for the top and the bottom, but I was a little stymied by the layout.
I asked my friend Suzi to come and look.  We put our two minds to the task and a plan gelled.  I guess my left brain, which enjoys a work plan, was getting in front of my right brain, which works more spontaneously!
Hey, here's a new notion I found in a trip to my local quilt shop: 

I'm a big fan of triangle paper of many types.  The ones from Miss Rosie's are made to work with layer cakes (hence the name) so I bought a couple of packs to use in a project that is fermenting in the right side of my head.

Sew on...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

To Finish or Not to Finish... or Not to Start? What's the Question Again?


You know what that symbol means, right?  Around and around?  Refresh?  Every which way but loose? 

Or maybe running around in circles without getting anywhere!  That's where I feel like I am right now. 

Witness:  DH and I share an email address.  We've never felt it necessary to have separate emails.  He sees what I get and I see what he gets.  He's home during the day so if he's ordering something on line that is a gift for me, he can quickly move the confirmation to his own file, and I can do the same from my smart phone, so we're good.  Until now... until our insurance company won't let us both sign on with the same email so I can't pay my dental premium on line, or sign up for the prescription mail order with the same email!  Ugh.

I think I can set up an alias address but I'll need an eight year old to help me with that.  :-(

Also, my SMART phone has suddenly changed the resolution on my photos, and they're now about a billion times larger than they were a month ago.  I can't seem to find where to fix that.  Again, eight year old...

So far in 2017 my quilting projects are piling up but not too awful much is actually being finished.  I still have three quilts to do for church.  The retiring pastor will be leaving in May and I'm about half done with the top for that quilt. 

The "car" is now surrounded by road, then a band of green.  It's ready for the black and white "checkered flag" that goes next.  I need a few small panels of b&w to fill in the spaces.
Then I had a plan for red, yellow and green panels for above and below the car section but the yellow I had was not right.  On Monday I took a little lunch hour jaunt to Patched Works and came home with a better yellow.  Now to get some time in the sewing room!
Here are a few pathetic finishes...
Did I post the picture of Baby Owen wearing the sweater I made?  He's so adorable!  And he does look happy and warm, doesn't he?

The Favorite Strip Quilt was finished by my friend Suzi the Quilter, and returned to the LCQG meeting. I'm counting that as a finish -- one!! One down, I have no idea how many to go.  The problem seems to be, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, I don't care what's on the list now, I'm thinking about what ELSE could be on the list!

I also have in process a quilt for the Little Lambs nursery; progress so far:  Purchase fabric, and think about quilt designs.

For the Teen Ranch donation quilt, fabric has been pulled, design is done, a few flying geese units are done and more are cut out. 

I guess I need a couple of additional projects and a deadline or two!

Easter is coming up in a few weeks.  The other day my daughter said "Let's go out to brunch instead of making all that mess in the kitchen on Easter".  Wow!  I guess she doesn't want her dad to have to wash all those dishes!  That's OK, my favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations.  :-)

Sew on...

Monday, March 20, 2017

On the Needles and On the Sewing Table

I have blogged in the past about the Amazing Goodwill stores in my area.  You never know what you're going to find there.

I was on the hunt for an ironing board for our church guild, and I literally stumbled over this little sewing machine... it's a Brother 14 stitch basic machine with a weight of about 12-14 pounds, the perfect machine for carrying around to retreats and guild meetings.

As you can see, it's missing a few things... like a cord and foot assembly, and the front plastic insert.  It's also missing a bobbin case, but look at the price!!

A bobbin case is around $5 and I paid $19.99 for a chord and foot.  I have presser feet from an embroidery machine I never use as a sewing machine, and once I pick up a carrying case, we're good to go!

On the needles:

Remember the Agnes sweater?  The last picture I took was sans sleeves.  Well, after knitting a bunch more in the evenings and one weekend day, ta da!  It's DONE!  Except for the blocking and the weaving in of the ends, that is.  And I finished it on the last day of winter.

This may be the first adult sized sweater I
actually finished in the same year in which
it was started...

It's a nice dark green called Boreal.
My camera is taking crappy pics.

This green lace patterned sweater has now made it to the current work bag.  I think I should be able to finish two sleeves before summer, right?  Fingers crossed!

The calendar may say it's spring, but this is what my patio looked like a week ago:

And this is what is on my sewing table, a sports car medallion for the center of a quilt.  I have to make the road go all the way around, and add a band of grass.  Then some black and white for a checkered flag goes around the border.

My apologies for the long post... that's what happens when I don't get to the computer more than once a week.

Sew on!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend 2017

As of today, Sewing Weekend is exactly 8 weeks and one day away!

My favorites!!  The Midwest Ya-Ya Sisters will be there Thursday evening.  New patterns!  New ideas!  New jokes?  Maybe, maybe not... but they're always fun to watch.

You can ride the yellow buses.  I wonder if Sparky will be back as bus monitor.
Hey, I'm just sayin'... 
Sew on!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Yarn Addiction...

In February I completely lost my mind and signed up for a Knit Along (KAL) at a local yarn store.  I got off to a good start at the cast on party, and continued for several days.  The weekend after the party I had made good enough progress that I was at the point of separating the body from the sleeves:
The KAL Agnes sweater a week after
the knit along started.  I love the color.

Putting the sleeve
stitches on waste yarn.

I've now gotten one sleeve completely done.  Yes, I did knit the entire body of the sweater, down to the bottom ribbing!!  I apologize for not having a more recent photo.  The light is not good at 10 p.m. in my living room.  That's the time I usually fall asleep with the knitting in my lap.

At least I'm beyond the point where I faltered on the last sweater I started for myself.  That one has NO sleeves even started.

I seem to be able to finish a baby sweater, or a kids sweater just fine.  I think my problem has to do with my yarn addiction.  I can't help thinking about the NEXT project any more than I can help thinking about the next quilt when I'm kitting or sewing. :-(

How can you not when things like this are just waiting for you to get your hands on them??

I got a new delivery last week, some luscious pale pink bulky yarn, 100% wool, and I'm looking forward to getting the green sweater done so I can begin a pink one.

Or maybe it will be a vest.  <sigh>  I'm still thinking.

Knit on...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spring, Or Not

February in Wisconsin is typically cold, and despite only have 28 days three out of four years, can seem very long.  The holidays are over, it's cold, there is usually snow on the ground, and have I mentioned that it's cold? 

Here's what it says at the web site


The month of February is characterized by rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 29°F to 37°F over the course of the month, exceeding 49°F or dropping below 15°F only one day in ten.

Daily High and Low Temperature in February

The daily average low (blue) and high (red) temperature with percentile bands (inner band from 25th to 75th percentile, outer band from 10th to 90th percentile).
The shortest day is Feb 1 with only 9:56 hours of daylight, but by the end of the month we're having 11:12 hours of daylight.  Of course some of that daylight is cloudy, overcast, and snowy.
People in other parts of the country are talking spring.  Buds are coming up in the state of Washington, where my youngest brother lives.  <sigh>  My boss in Charlotte NC told us last Friday that it was 80 degrees and sunny.  <I hate him!> <not really>
So what's up with this year??  The actual temperature has been in the forties and ffties, and one day it was 71!  Gasp!!
Then this happens:
Sat 2/25
Actual Temp
28° /20°
Hist. Avg.
and yesterday there was a snowstorm that started at 10:00 a.m. and went through dinnertime. 
"Take that," says Mother Nature!  "See what happens to you when you forget where you're living???  Did you think this was, oh, say, Tennessee or Georgia? Ha ha!  I'll show you!!"
Mar 2
                  High 36° / Low 16°F                    
Mainly cloudy, a snow shower
One local weather forecaster quipped that since it had been warm so recently, it was going to feel just that much colder to be at the normal temperature.
Spring or not spring, that is the question.  Honestly, no matter what the groundhog says, in Wisconsin there is always six more weeks of winter!
Sew on...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

List of Things To DO!

My To-Do list keeps getting longer, and I don't seem to have as much sewing time as I wish I had.

I know, preaching to the choir, right?

I'm reading blogs where people are working on the Splendid Sampler or some other stitch-along and I see new fabrics and fun patterns and I'm so envious...

My list of things to do, in no particular order:

  • Finish the car quilt for our re-retiring pastor... I have the center medallion done but I need to do some embroidery and fill-in blocks.  Others are doing the border.
  • Start (and eventually finish) a donation top for the church guild.  It's mostly cut out.
  • Clean up my sewing room - again.  haha!
  • Help Miss A finish up her quilt back to replace Blankie.  She is piecing both sides and the top is done.
  • Start an exercise program.  Ugh.
  • Put borders on two donation quilts.
  • Bind a quilt that's currently out for quilting (Thanks, Suzi!)
  • Finish my knit-along Agnes sweater (five inches or so, and sleeves)

  • Finish my green Lady's Sweater from last year (just sleeves now...)
  • Knit the second sock for Miss E.
  • Finish wall hanging for church nursery.
  • Complete my tax returns.  Double ugh.
  • Organize my desk.
  • Take my Viking machine in for service.
  • Embroider baptismal napkins.
  • Embroider crosses on some altar napkin.

I'd better stop there, I'm making myself depressed...

Last week I stopped at the Goodwill and scored several great bargains.  I picked up an ironing board, in super shape with a clean cover and pad on it too, for $9.99.  We can use it with our new Big Board.

Then I also spied a Brother sewing machine for $9.99.  It doesn't have a cord or a foot pedal, but I have a Brother embroidery machine that converts to a sewing machine that has the same cords.  I never use the foot pedal because I never switch over to the sewing machine, since I have other options, so I'll find that and us it on the new machine.  I may have to buy a power cord but that's all.  The feet and accessories are all interchangeable so score on that one!

Last thing was a wooden folding TV table for $3.  I've seen a small ironing station made with a wooden folding table that this will work for.  My cousins and my aunt have made them, and I'm planning on making one too.  Here's a picture from Pinterest.

I hope your day is going well...  It's starting to feel like spring, which I know is wrong since it's still Wisconsin and it's only February.  I may try to take a walk in the neighborhood this evening.

Sew on...