Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ch-ch-changes

 

I reported yesterday that there would be a sports marathon at Chez Nana yesterday … and there was.  My plan was to ensconce myself in my recliner, quilting while watching the games … and that is where the change occurred.  While I was out walking yesterday morning with Lois, I got a text from DD asking if she and T#2 could come over and go through the stuff they’ve stored in our basement, bagging up what was going to charity.  When DD and her family moved into their new home 4 years ago, they had to put a lot of their stuff into totes and store them in our basement as their basement was finished, giving them the tiniest of space for storage.  Our basement is unfinished, so we had plenty of room to spare.  It was a lot of work, going through everything, sorting stuff into what to keep and what to give away … but it was also a lot of fun.  Any time spent with some of my favorite people is always fun … and oh the memories as we went through everything. 

 

I had an hour or so between my walk with Lois and DD and T#2’s arrival, so I started piecing together my mini pineapple blocks.  I got one full row together and two more rows partially pieced.  IMG_3055

I’m really pleased with how they’re coming together.  I’m not sure how I’ll be quilting this little quiltlet, as those strips are about 1/4” wide … which means that if I stitch through them, I’ll be stitching through seam allowances, too.  Confused smile

 

Today my plans are for a little more sports … the Cardinals play again, but the Blues have a short break before they begin their first round of the playoffs on Thursday.  Thankfully the baseball game is an early game so there will still be plenty of afternoon and wonderful weather to spend outside.  I think I’ll devote my afternoon to my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden … especially since stitching out on the deck sounds like a perfect way to spend this delightful spring afternoon.  Hopefully I’ll have a picture of my progress to share next time.

 

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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday’s Stuff

 

 

Several have asked if we were in the path of any of those tornados that ravaged northern Illinois Thursday evening … thankfully no.  We’re further south, and although we had rain and strong winds, we were spared any significant damage in our area.  My sister used to live in one of the areas that was hard hit so it was almost surreal to see and read about the damage Friday morning.

 

 

I’ve always been enamored with little mini quilts, and as I’ve working with these little mini pineapple blocks, I’ve realized that little blocks aren’t necessarily any more difficult to make than a “full-sized” block.  Plus, there’s the allure of a project finishing (a little) more quickly … which certainly a great deal of appeal, given how many quilts I want to make and the fact that I'm not sure that I’m going to have time to make them all, certainly not as lap-sized quilts or bigger.  Perhaps I should make more minis … maybe I'd have a better chance of making more of the quilts I want to make?  I've already ordered templates for a 3" winding ways, a 4" bow tie, and a 4" double star as well as Lisa Bongean's new rulers for minis.  Winking smile   In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m an “in for a penny, in for a pound” kind of gal.  ha!

 

 

I spent Friday with DD and the Ts.  The plan was originally for me to watch the two littles while she took the two bigs on a homeschool group field trip.  But she is suffering from a sinus infection that’s settled into her ears and had to go see the doctor this morning.  So I watched all 4 for a while.  When she got home from the doctor’s office, we went to lunch.  Each year, they study different countries, and part of their study includes learning about each country’s culture (including cuisine).  They’re currently studying Japan, so we went in search of a place that served Japanese food.  We decided to pass on sushi … while the Ts are good eaters and are usually not too picky, we were afraid that an entire meal of sushi might be pushing our luck.  So we chose soba noodles with chicken and teriyaki sauce.  Everyone enjoyed their lunch … except for T#4, who for some reason (maybe because she’s finally decided to revisit the “terrible twos” – never mind the fact that she’s 5 Eye rolling smile) decided that she didn’t want to try hers … not even one bite. 

 

 

It looks like there’ll be a sports marathon at Chez Nana this afternoon … the Cardinals play at noon and the Blues finish up the regular season at 2:00.  You all surely don’t have to guess what I’ll be doing while we’re watching the games?  Winking smile  My hoop has been sitting ignored for 4 days now … I should be able to get in a good bit of hand quilting this weekend (although it is going to be awfully nice tomorrow …). 

 

 

Last night (actually very early this morning) I completed the last miniature pineapple block and even finished the fun part” of removing the papers (there are some advantages to having insomnia).  Next up will be sewing the blocks together.  I hope that I’ll be able to tell then if I want/need to add a border … and if I do, I’ll start auditioning fabrics.

 

 

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

This n That Thursday


I’ve been spending the last couple of days in the sewing room … no, my Kiss quilt isn’t finished … I’ve just been in the mood for some machine stitching.  It started Tuesday when we had our handymen here to do a few jobs around the house, one of which was replacing the ceiling fan in the great room … which meant that I couldn’t get to my hand quilting.  I sequestered myself in my sewing room, picked up my mini pineapple blocks and got a few more finished.  IMG_1423



We’ve got severe storms heading our way today Forecast… from the sound of it, it looks to be even worse than the storms that moved through yesterday … the worst was about 45 minutes south of us, with damaging winds (possibly a tornado) … and hail:Hail                                                             (source: www.weather.com)



With severe weather heading in today, I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to enjoy this view from our deck … the grass beneath the tree already looks like we’ve had a little bit of snow.  IMG_3054



Since it’s going to be a rainy day, guess where I’ll be holed up … yep, back in my sewing room.  Winking smile  I want to make 4 more pineapple blocks for a 5x5 setting (a 15”x15” quiltlet).  I’m not sure I’ll get all 4 done today, but I should be able to make some progress toward that goal. 



I finished Colleen Coble’s Tidewater Inn, and I realized that the narration was part of why I really couldn’t get into it … the narrator had the annoying habit of ending her sentences with a questioning tone.  It didn’t help either that I’m not much of a fan of romance novels, which is really what this book boiled down to.  I’m now reading Jodi Picoult’s The Pact and am enjoying it so far.  Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is up next … I’d like to get it read before we rent the DVD, and with baseball season underway and the hockey playoffs looming, I think I’ll be able to make it.  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, April 6, 2015

The Weekend Wrap-up




And what a fabulous weekend it was, too.  The weather started out more like winter, but it ended up very spring-like.  And it was a productive weekend, with a nice chunk of T-time.

Friday morning came dark and early, but the up-side was a longer day spent with my needle and thread.  I continue to make more progress on the quilting and will be going back to add some more quilting to accentuate the secondary design, in hopes to draw it out.  This quilt reinforces what I read over at Kathy’s blog that each quilt is practice for the one that follows.  I’ve learned some lessons with this quilt … even after quilting for 30 years, I still have a lot to learn. 



Saturday was a busy day.  After putting off some housecleaning, I finally bit the bullet and got some work done around the house.  I didn’t do *everything* that needs to be done, but I did make good progress at getting caught up … only to realize (once again) that with housecleaning, you NEVER get caught up.  <sigh>

I also baked the carrot cake for Easter, something I do every Easter.  I laugh every time I pull out the recipe because the description reads: “a moist, healthy and nutritious cake”.  Seriously?  What about the 2 cups of sugar and the 1-1/2 cups of vegetable oil?  or the 3-1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar in the frosting?  Surprised smile  On a side note, is there really any difference between frosting and icing?

While the cake was baking, I cleaned our hardwood floors.  And as the cake was cooling, I cleaned the bathrooms.  I know … I was a regular Susie Homemaker.  ha! 

But that wasn’t the only thing I did as the cake cooled.  I also cut and sewed together the April BOM selected by the Facebook quilting group I belong to.  It probably took me twice as long as it should have, as my seam ripper got quite a workout (I sewed two pieces together wrong – two times! Grrr).  This block provided another lesson learned.  While it wasn’t perfect, it turned out much better than I’d expected, especially my HST squares.  I’ll wait to reveal the block at the end of the month after I’ve shared it with the group, but I will share the fabrics I chose.  IMG_1399I’m hoping to be able to use that neutral in every block, with blues and reds from my stash … we’ll see if I have enough. 

While keeping DH company as he was cooking our dinner out on the grill, I noticed that our cherry tree had finally started to bloom.  It’s official: Spring has sprung!IMG_3356



We celebrated Easter with our favorite people.  Red heart  We attended worship together, hunted for eggs while the ham and potato casserole baked, had a fabulous lunch and enjoyed the nice weather outside.  Easter 2015DSIL’s sister and her foster child (thus the photo editing) were able to be with us (her hubby was on the road for work and wasn’t able to be come up with them). 

We finished up our weekend, watching the Cardinals and the Blues win (yes, we switched back and forth ... and were amazed that we able to tune in to the Blues game in time to see both goals).  



And while neither one of these were delivered over the weekend, I want to share a couple of upcoming quilt projects.

IMG_1406This is a 45” round holiday wholecloth.  After seeing Kathi use colored threads on her wholecloth quilt, I saw wholecloth quilts in a new light.  No offense to any wholecloth quilters out there, but I always thought that they were rather boring … all the same color.  While handquilting is my favorite part of quilting, I want a pretty quilt when I’m done, so I’ve always preferred a patchwork quilt.  I’m envisioning this with green and red threads, with maybe a yellowy-gold for a few accents.  I think it might make a nice tabletopper for Christmas.

And before I took up quilting lo these many years ago, I did a lot of embroidery.  I’ve been seeing a lot more quilts lately that have been including some embroidery, and I decided that I wanted to make a quilt with embroidery.  It took me a while to find a pattern I wanted to make, and every time I’d search, I’d always find myself going to Crabapple Hills’ Over the River and Through the Woods.  I plan to use navy thread and fabrics instead of black … at some point I need to go through my stash as I have a lot of navy and see if I might need to add some more.IMG_1404



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

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