Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy April Fools Day



April Fools Day

Welcome to April … and that means you, too, Spring! 

She's brought fabulous weather with her, as it’s supposed to get into the mid 70s today.  Her April Showers will be visiting tomorrow, so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of the gorgeous day today.  I’m so glad she’s finally here … and hopefully to stay (the 70-degree version, not so much the rainy version ha!).



I spend a good chunk of Monday quilting on my Kiss quilt.  I’ve discovered, now that the top is together, that the secondary design formed by the navy isn’t popping out because the red is too strong.  Sad smile  Even though I love the fabrics I chose for this quilt, I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed as the secondary design is part of what drew me to this block – obviously they would have been better suited for a different block.  (I’ve never denied that choosing fabrics for a quilt has always been a bit of a bugaboo for me.  Confused smile)IMG_1376



I’ve been “reading” (listening?) more audiobooks over the last several weeks.  I finished up Matilda and Gray Mountain.  It’s funny … T#2 and I didn’t agree at all with the story.  She found the first part of the book to be funny (the tricks Matilda played on her parents) while my take was sadness at how her family treated her … T#2 was sad at the end because Matilda’s family gave her up so easily while I was glad that Matilda finally found a home where she would be loved and appreciated.  I was a little disappointed in Gray Mountain … it just felt to me like Grisham spent more time berating “big law” and coal companies than he did developing the story line.  I’m now making my way through Tidewater Inn and having a little trouble with really getting into it … I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s just not grabbing me – at least not yet. 



I’ve been “commissioned” to do a quilt repair.  The first quilt I made after my quilting hiatus back in the 80s was a quilt for DD and DSIL … a housewarming gift for their very first house.  Of all the quilts I’ve made, it’s probably my least favorite … but it’s DD’s favorite … not because of the fabrics, blocks or setting, but because it’s just the right weight.  I am sure I used the same low-loft poly batting that I’ve used on all the quilts I’ve made for her and her family, but this one seemed to be just the perfect weight.  I’m a self-taught quilter who for the longest time had no idea how to “properly” bind a quilt, so for quite a long time I would buy pre-made bias tape and use it as a facing for the quilt.  Confused smile  Trust me, when I re-bind this quilt, it’ll be with a “proper” binding. 
IMG_3239-001

While I’m using the machine to add binding to DD’s quilt, I’ll be stitching up a flannel blanket for DD’s sister-in-law’s new foster child.  I always give gifts to the Ts for Easter (they get enough candy from the Easter Bunny).  They’ll be up for Easter, and I want to have something for him as well.  Winking smile 



I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy

Monday, March 30, 2015

Home Again, Home Again


While I’m missing my fellow quilters and being pampered (and overfed), I’m so glad to be back home … back to my own bed, my sweet hubby, and my normal routine. 

I wish I had a lot of fabulous photos to share with you all.  I took my camera but failed to get it out during show and tell.  The shop will share photos on their Facebook page but probably not for another week or two. 

There was a pretty diverse group of quilters at the retreat.  While most were in their 50s-60s, there were a couple in their 70s and one in her 30s and a few in their 40s.  Most were from the Springfield area, although there were a few from further downstate (not all that far from my neck of the woods) and one who came down from the Chicago area.  Most of the retreaters were repeat attenders (the shop hosts 5 retreats/year in the Springfield area) and all knew each other pretty well, from the local quilt guild and/or previous retreats, but they made sure I felt welcomed.  I shared a corner of the room with Sue, Cindy and Mary.  They were a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to quilt with them again at a future retreat. 

I was able to paper piece 4 more pineapple blocks Friday and Saturday.  When I read that, I think that I must have been slacking to have only pieced together 4 blocks … but when I remind myself that the blocks were 14” and contained 57 pieces, I’m feeling like such a slacker after all.IMG_3307
This is my designated retreat project, so I know that it’s going to be a long-term project.  I now have a total of 7 blocks finished, with 18 more to go.

I also paper pieced 2 more of my pineapple minis Sunday morning.  These blocks are 3”.  IMG_3308Here’s a close up.IMG_3309These minis are made from scraps leftover from making T#1’s and T#3’s first big boy quilts.  Awww, the memories.  When I first started these blocks a full 2 years ago, I intended to make a block a week, but obviously that plan fell by the wayside, I’m sorry to say.  I’d like to recommit to finishing this project, as I have about a dozen more blocks to make.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it or how I’ll quilt it, but I’d like to have the blocks all made sooner rather than later.

The retreat center was right on Lake Springfield and was right next door to the Lincoln Memorial Gardens.  I had been looking forward to getting out for a walk through the Gardens, but it was just too chilly for me to venture outdoors.  It got down into the lower 20s Saturday morning.  This is the view from the dining room window.IMG_3306

The shop will be hosting another retreat at the end of July and another at the end of October … I’m hoping that everything will work out that I can be back up there for at least one of those, if not both.



After a weekend spent with the machine, it’ll be especially nice to be able to get back to doing some hand stitching today … my Kiss quilt is feeling neglected.  Winking smile

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Best Laid Plans

 

You know what they say about our best laid plans … I’m hoping that the old saying is NOT going to be true in my case.  Winking smile  You see, I’ve got big plans for the next few days. 

 

I mentioned back in January that I’d signed up for a retreat being hosted by a new (to me) quilt shop.  I love going to quilt retreats.  While it’s true that thanks to my sweet hubby, I could “retreat” here at home and quilt/sew away my day (and frequently do), there’s just something special about spending a day or two stitching with fellow quilters … so I was really looking forward to this retreat. 

 

And even more so now since earlier this week, it was beginning to look like I wasn’t going to be able to go after all.  DD had an appointment, and she needed me to watch the kiddos Friday.  AND I hadn’t heard anything (like directions to the retreat center, what will be provided, etc. – and how to pay the balance due!) from the quilt shop, even though I had contacted them as recently the 19th.  But yesterday, in the matter of about an hour, DD had told me that the appointment was Thursday not Friday as she’d previously thought … and the quilt shop contacted me, apologizing for their inability to respond sooner (the gal in charge of the retreat’s computer had a virus … no explanation why she didn’t have someone else contact us or call us, but I so wanted to go to retreat, that I let it slide) and offering to cut the cost to make up for her inability to get back to us sooner.  So the retreat is back on.  Woo hoo!  Open-mouthed smile

 

And if that isn’t exciting enough, there’s a nice quilt show in a town about an hour further up the road.  Since I’ll be about halfway there, I was hoping to be able to get up there to spend a couple of hours at the show before heading to retreat.  Since I will be at DD’s this afternoon and evening, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to get everything caught up, packed and ready for me to hit the road by 8:00 tomorrow to be able to get in a nice chunk of time at the show.  But the rain this morning meant that Lois and I wouldn’t get in our walk, so that gave me the extra time I need in order to accomplish all I want to get done today.  Smile

 

Everything’s falling into place nicely.  Thumbs up

 

 

In other news, I got a phone call inviting me to join DD and the Ts for an outing yesterday.  They’re currently studying China, and the Magic House in St. Louis is hosting an exhibit called Children’s China.  DD thought that a stop for Chinese for lunch and the exhibit afterward would be a fun way to reinforce what they’re learning in school.  Recently Updated3The top left picture is of me with T#3 and T#4 in the “Panda Nursery”, and the bottom left is T#3 carrying the dragon during the dragon parade.  The middle picture is the 4 Ts before heading into the exhibit.  The top right is T#4 eating ice cream with her chop sticks, and the bottom right is all four in the “Panda Nursery”.  It was a long and fairly exhausting afternoon/evening, but I loved absolutely every single moment!  These kinds of afternoons are why I didn’t hesitate for a moment when offered the opportunity to retire early … these memories far outweigh whatever little extra pension benefit I might have earned while working longer.

 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 

 

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hodgepodge … feel free to click on the button above to check out how others answer this week’s questions or to join in yourself! 

 

1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?

Oh yes, we celebrate Easter here.  We have an Easter meal with family … DD and her crew along with her in-laws.  And of course, we have an Easter Egg hunt … I don’t do baskets for the Ts, but I do have large personalized Easter Eggs that I fill with goodies.

 

2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope.

I would have to agree.  Hope is something that we have within … it’s ours to keep or to lose. 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. ~Psalm 62:5


3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?

None of the above.  I’m not much of a fan of sweets, and I prefer my chocolate with nuts and/or caramel.  I’d rather have a Baby Ruth, a Snickers, or some peanut M&Ms.


4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'?

The first time I visited Homestead Hearth, a quilt shop in Mexico, MO. Fabric overload!  I didn’t know which way to turn.  And I still feel that way when I visit.   

  
5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?

Nothing is coming to me.


6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?

Anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog for long will know how I’m going to answer this one:  the Palmetto State.  Because Hilton Head is in South Carolina, the Palmetto State.HHI

 

7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.

I’d like to make the days longer … maybe then I’d have enough time to do all I want to do, especially quilting.  I’m going to need to live to be 150 or have a lot more hours in the day to be able to make all the quilts I’d like to make.


8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My thread arrived Monday morning, so I was able to get in a few stitches before heading to DD’s that afternoon.  Since Monday night/Tuesday morning insomnia once again reared its ugly head, I had plenty of time to get even more stitches in.  This photo was taken when I stopped for lunch on Monday.IMG_1371I didn’t get as much stitching in yesterday as I’d hoped because I wasted spent over an hour trying to hook up our new Roku.  It turns out that our lone remaining HDMI port doesn’t work.  ???  So if/when we want to use the Roku, we’ll have to unplug the cable for the DVD player and plug in the cable for the Roku.  A pain, but a lot less expensive than trying to get it repaired (can it even be repaired??) or buying a new TV (especially since DH wants a new-fangled Ultra HD TV, not to mention a bigger TV, which will also mean a new TV table). 

 

 

And speaking of Hilton Head and quilting, may I present the back window of my van.IMG_1368-001

The only thing missing is a decal that would somehow portray my Ts … then all my loves would be on display.  Winking smile

 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Morning Miscellany


I’ll bet you were expecting to see my progress in quilting the Kiss quilt, huh?  Yeah, me too.  I worked my tail off to get that quilt basted … only to realize as I was putting in the last half dozen pins that I didn’t have any quilting thread … I’d ordered some on Friday, but alas, it won’t be here until today (hopefully … as of an hour ago it’s been shipped out of the USPS facility in Hazelwood, MO which is a mere 30 minutes away … of course, it’s the USPS we’re talking about here, so for all I know, it won’t be delivered to me until Wednesday! Confused smile).  IMG_1370I was so disappointed that I couldn’t get started on the quilting … but perhaps it’s a blessing that I’ve got another day before I can start, as I’m still not sure just how I’m going to quilt this.  Any ideas, you quilters out there?

After I got the basting done, I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and get outside to do a little pruning … my knock-out roses and butterfly bush always need a little “haircut” before spring … I usually try to get to them in February or early March at the latest, but it seems like I was busy, busy, busy on any of the nice days we’ve had in the last six weeks.  I did a little walkabout the yard after I was done pruning and saw that spring is in fact coming to Chez Nana.  My hostas are coming up.IMG_3232And our cherry tree is going to be blooming in a few more weeks.IMG_3230I noticed on my walkabout that I’ve got a couple more bushes that need a spring “haircut” and that the landscaping mulch desperately needs to be replenished.  It looks like it’s really going to get up to 74 on Wednesday … I think that might be just the day for getting out and working in the yard. 

After I finished up in the yard yesterday, I got in a few stitches on my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden block. 

Today’s plan includes a walk with my neighbor Lois, some more work with my MWFG, watching the Ts and participating in their swim team’s fundraiser at a local pizza joint. 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring’s First Slow Stitching Sunday

 
 
Slow Sunday Stitching

 

Yesterday was Worldwide Quilting Day and the first full day of spring … and a very productive day here at Chez Nana. 

 

I finally got around to organizing our coat closet and master bedroom closet.  This house doesn’t have enough closets (the only real downside to this house), so those two closets tend to get anything/everything that doesn’t have anywhere else to go.  I got rid of 3 trash bags full of stuff that hasn’t been used in years (the stuff will go to Goodwill … just loaded it all into trash bags for easy hauling).  It was such a good feeling!  I think I might have been motivated to tackle the basement (our other storage space), but I just didn’t have the energy … I’ve found that I still don’t have as much energy as I did pre-sinus infection.  And more importantly, I wanted to spend some time in my sewing room … it was Quilting Day, after all.  Winking smile 

 

I finished piecing (and restitching opened seams) on my Kiss quilt.  This is one big quilt (a generous king-sized bed quilt … it’ll be 96”x112”.  It was later in the day by the time I got it done, but thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I still had enough daylight to get a picture taken outside.  IMG_2954That flimsie about drove me bonkers, what with having to restitch all those opened seams … as you can see, there are a whole lot of seams along the outer edges … times that by all 4 sides of 42 blocks, and there was a whole lot of restitching going on.  Hopefully the handquilting will be a lot less troublesome.

 

By then, I was done with working with the Kiss quilt so I spent my evening working on the final full block of my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden.  IMG_1365

After I finish this block, I’ll start adding the connectors … and then the setting blocks – half blocks. 

This is my inspiration (source:  http://www.quiltindex.org) … I’m making a couple of changes – mine isn’t going to have a border, and my connector blocks will be red. 

 

 

Today, I hope to have an equally productive day.  I would like to get the Kiss quilt sandwiched and be able to get in a few quilting stitches.  This is the best part of quiltmaking for me … sitting in my recliner, listening to an audiobook, and stitching away.  Pure bliss.

 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Has Sprung


spring_is_here

Or she will by 5:45 PM CDT.  And not a moment too soon.  And it looks like she’s bringing some nice weather, at least to our neck of the woods … weekend temperatures will be in the 60s. 

I’ve got 5 of the 7 rows of Kiss blocks sewn together.  I need to sew on the last two (they’re already sewn together, so I have just one seam left to stitch) … then I need to check all the outer edge seams to make sure that none of them have worked loose, followed by stay stitching along the outer edge so nothing will work loose while I’m quilting on it.  I’ve got the backing, washed and dried.  I’m just not sure when I’ll get to make my quilt sandwich as I’ll be at DD’s today and perhaps tomorrow … I’m watching the Ts while she attends a homeschooling convention in St. Louis.  I’m hoping to be able to share a picture of at least the top by the end of the weekend. 

DH and I spent yesterday morning doing some overdue shopping for some home improvements.  We’d been talking for some time now about upgrading a few things around the house, and we finally decided to take care of them.  I’ve got a couple more on my “to-do” list but am still searching for them. 

My half yard bundle from Fat Quarter Shop arrived yesterday … it’s like Christmas all over again when something quilty is delivered.  IMG_1363

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!
Kathy