Sunday, August 2, 2015

Slow Stitching on a Not-So-Slow Sunday

It’s been a busy weekend … not-so-slow Friday, Saturday and Sunday!  Friday morning, after DH got home from having breakfast with our neighbor, we headed out for Homestead Hearth.  If you remember, it’s a 2-1/2 hour drive one way … I still wasn’t too keen about spending a good part of my day in the car (I’m still not quite recovered from all that time in the car last weekend), but I was anxious to go fabric shopping.  We were about 40 minutes down the road when our GPS indicated that we were going to have a 30+ minute delay.  DH and I both hate sitting in stop and go traffic, especially on the interstate (me probably even more than DH). He suggested that we find an alternate route, at least to get around the problem area. I checked the atlas and saw that there was nothing that would work, but he was adamant, so off the interstate we went. Turns out that there really was no alternate route, so we lost an additional half hour due to taking the “alternate route”, arriving at Homestead Hearth at 1:00 instead of 12:00. At least we had a pretty drive along the Missouri River, through the foothills of the Ozarks. And as if that weren’t bad enough, we encountered a construction delay on our way back home. At least it was in the St. Louis metropolitan area so we could easily come up with an alternate route. Even so, it probably added an additional 15 minutes to our time on the road. Fortunately, even in spite of all that time in the car, it was worth it when I found perfect fabrics for the projects I was shopping for! IMG_1895The fabric on the left is what I chose for the connector hexies for my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden (no, there weren’t enough of the missing-then-found hexies Sad smile); I wanted to go with red and thankfully found one that is subdued enough to not overshadow my MWFG blocks.  The top three fabrics in the center are for my Labor Day Stars project started in the workshop taught by Pat Speth at our retreat’s retreat last month … the top red is for the cornerstones and outer border, the dark brown is for the sashing and narrow inner border, and the tan is for the setting triangles.  The bottom red is for my stash, as are the fat quarters on the right. 

Saturday was the All-Star Swim Championships …  the top 6 swimmers in each event of the 6 area conferences in the southern half of Illinois qualified for this event.  T#1 and T#3 qualified; T#2 didn’t have her best summer swim-wise, in large part due to having to sit out the first 2 weeks of the season and then having to swim with a cast/splint the remainder of the season.  With just two swimmers, there was a little more down time between their events so I could actually do a little stitching.  I brought along my EPP bow ties, my current travel project.  This coming week, I’ll set up my Accuquilt GO and start cutting 2-1/2” squares for my connector hexies for my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden and can get back to work on it.  T#3 did well and finished 6th in the 8 and under boys, and T#1 finished 3rd in the 13-14 boys.  IMG_3908Here’s a picture of T#1 (on the left) with his best bud (who finished 2nd in the 11-12 boys). 

My stitching today will be of the slow variety, but most of my day will not be.  T#3’s birthday party is this afternoon … he’ll turn 8 on Monday.  I remember 8 years ago when the doctors gave very little hope that our little guy would pull through and that if he did, he’d struggle developmentally.  Praise God who just laughed at their warnings … he’s a handful, definitely 110% boy, and has given his Mama and Daddy more than a few gray hairs, but he has such a tender heart, is such a sweetheart and is sharp as a tack … I can’t even begin to imagine what our lives would have been like these last 8 years without him.  Red heart  Once we get home after the party, my plan is to spend a couple of hours just taking it easy … and stitching some more EPP bow ties.Winking smile
Slow Sunday Stitching

I hope that whatever you planned for today included a little something that brought some joy ... have a great Sunday!

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Little Catching Up


It’s the last Friday of the month, which means I can share the block I made for my Facebook handquilting group’s BOM.  This month’s theme was hexies … well, you all know that I do love hexies.  I was tempted, for a moment, to use the last Martha Washington’s Flower Garden block I’m working on, but I realized that would defeat the whole point.  The purpose of the BOM is to grow and even experiment as quilters.  Not to mention that I’m hoping to be able to turn my monthly blocks into a sampler at some point.  I spent some time trying to figure out how to incorporate a hexie block into that future sampler … and decided that I’d applique the block onto a piece of the background fabric.  I was a little apprehensive about that since other than a class sampler which didn’t turn out very well, I’ve never done any applique.  Now that I’ve finished the block, I realized that this little flower was probably a pretty good choice for a first applique since the basting kept the seam allowances turned under so I didn’t have to worry about how to turn under the edges or have to fuss with waxed paper and/or starch.  Like I said, this was my first “real” applique,and I’m not displeased with how it turned out.  IMG_1881

I still need to trim the block down (I chose to cut it larger than I needed to have a little margin for error) and to trim the excess fabric from behind the little flower.  I used 1” hexies for this … I would have really rather used smaller hexies, but by the time I decided what I was going to do, I ran out of time to order smaller hexies from Paper Pieces.


Yesterday I got to have some one-on-one time with T#4.  The rest of her family went to Six Flags with friends … she’s just too little to have a good time there, although she sure wanted to go with.  Nana tried to make her day a pretty special one, and I think I succeeded.  We visited Pottery Hollow … she chose a fish, and I chose a little box.  She wanted to have lunch at McDonald’s … not so much for the meal (although she was excited about getting a Happy Meal) but for their indoor playground.  When we got home, we baked a small batch of brownies and played. 


Remember my frustration over realizing that I didn’t have enough red hexies for connectors for my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden?  I was *sure* that I had more but I couldn’t find them, so I could only assume that I didn’t have enough.  Well, guess what?  I was searching for the fabric and unfinished blocks for the Pat Speth project I started at our guild retreat last month (I need to purchase fabric to finish that project – setting triangles, sashing, borders – so I wanted to take some of the fabric and blocks with me to Homestead Hearth to audition suitable fabrics) … and found more hexies!  Surprised smile  I need to count them to see if I have enough … I’ll be surprised because I didn’t even have half of what I needed and it doesn’t seem like there are that many more … but I’m going to cross my fingers and hope for enough. 


Speaking of Homestead Hearth, we’ll be making the trek there as soon as DH gets home from breakfast out with our neighbor.  Of course, going to Homestead Hearth means that I will not get back to my Kiss quilt until Monday (All-Star swim championships tomorrow and T#3’s birthday party on Sunday) … but I will be able to get in some stitching on my EPP bow ties, so I won’t be going through total needle-and-thread withdrawal over the next couple of days.  Winking smile 


I hope that whatever you planned for today included a little something that brought some joy ... have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Tuesday Trivialities


It sure feels good to be back home and back into our normal routine.  Actually, it’s a fairly new routine because DD is done with her classes for summer semester, so I’m not on Nana Duty Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday.  Not that I won’t be called to Nana Duty … in fact, I’ll be watching the kiddos tomorrow while DD visits her former step mom.  And I’ll be watching our Little Miss while her Mama and older siblings go to Six Flags with friends on Thursday.  So I won’t have to go too long between times spent with my grands.  Red heart


DH and I had a nice long chat on our way home Sunday about our trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  While his focus was to drive the entire Parkway, he realizes now that the trip could have been so much more enjoyable had we taken the time to see some of the wonderful sights along the way.  Winking smile 


When we travel to new places, we always try to find a jigsaw puzzle as a souvenir of our visit.  I broke open the puzzle yesterday morning and here’s what I was able to accomplish in an hour or two.IMG_3880It isn’t too difficult a puzzle to work, which is just as well as there is a lot of sky and ground that are always tougher areas to put together.  This is a view of the Linn Cove Viaduct, one of the highlights of our trip. 


I also finished up the BOM for my hand quilting Facebook group.  Friday is the day we can reveal this month’s blocks, so I’ll share here once I’ve shared on Facebook.  This month’s block included a first for me, and all in all, I’m pleased with how it turned out.


DH suggested that we drive over to Homestead Hearth since there’s nothing on our calendar today.  I think that I shocked him when I declined … I’m just not up for getting back in the car to drive 2.5+ hours (one way) – even for fabric!  Surprised smile  I know, it shocked even me.  Perhaps Friday or some day next week.  I am anxious to get the fabric, but I certainly don’t need it today … later this week or earlier next week will be more than soon enough.  We’ve still got a little over a month before we head to Hilton Head, so I’ve got ample time to get the fabric cut for hexies.  Winking smile


Summer has returned – with a vengeance!  We’re back in the mid 90s with heat indices well over 100.  IMG_3799I think it’ll be a good day to stay inside, crank up the A/C, work a little on our puzzle, and do some quilting. 


I hope that whatever you planned for today included a little something that brought some joy ... have a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Home, James

... actually "home, Charlie". Ha!  We are on our way home.  After two days in the car from breakfast until dinner (and late dinners at that), we finally decided that a shorter day in the car was the best idea. We still have a ways to go before we get home (8+ hours, but we have the advantage of moving from the eastern time zone to the central time zone), so we should be home tomorrow with enough time to unpack and settle in. 

I mentioned earlier that I'm not a big fan of car rides for the sake of driving, so I had misgivings about this trip.  And I have to confess that there were times when I would have said "yes" in a heartbeat, if DH had asked if we should head home.  But there were times when all that time in the car was worth it.  All in all, I'm glad we made the trip.  I hope DH enjoyed it, as I'm not sure if I'll ever be up to a road trip like this again.  Ha!

We left late Wednesday afternoon and made it to Paducah in time for a late dinner ... just before the rain came through.  Thankfully (?) Hanock's of Paducah was closed. Ha!  We hit the road Thursday morning ... I was able to get in a few hours with my needle and thread.  You get a little sneak peek at my July BOM for my Facebook group ... I'll share the finished block after the reveal on Facebook.
After I finished that, I moved on to work on my 4" EPP bow ties.  I got a few done before we hit the mountains and the hand stitching was set aside. 

We stayed on the Parkway Thursday night at a delightful Inn. We had a gorgeous view of the mountains from our room and from our own private balcony.
Dinner at their restaurant also featured equally fabulous views ... and spectacular meals as well.  If we had returned home Friday morning, the trip would have been a success in my books.  

While the rain moved on by Friday morning, it left behind low-lying clouds which hindered some of our views. Thankfully the clouds lifted and we were able to get in some spectacular views.

Including the Linnville Falls

And the Linn Cove Viaduct

By mid-afternoon, we were both ready to call it a day, but we were still almost 3 hours from the hotel we'd made reservations at.  Thankfully we made it ... and crashed for the night.  

This morning, we slept in (until 7:30!) and took our time getting ready before hitting the Parkway again. We made it to Natural Bridge
before heading over out for home.  

Some thoughts about our trip:  Both DH and I were surprised that there weren't more lodging or dining establishments on/close to the Parkway.  Friday morning, we passed one inn with a restaurant just a couple of hours from where we stopped Thursday night ... it was still at least an hour and a half before we were ready to start thinking about lunch and definitely not ready to stop for the night. There was another inn beyond where we stopped Friday evening ... we pushed ourselves to make it to our hotel (a few miles off the Parkway) so there was no way we could have made it further. 

We were both a little disappointed with the Virginia portion of the Parkway. The terrain was a lot more like what we would encounter in southern Illinois, just a couple of hours down the road from us. It was pretty ... rolling wooded hills, but it wasn't what we were expecting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, nor what we'd seen on the North Carolina portion of the Parkway. Truthfully, the views on our drive home on I-81 in Virginia and I-64 in Virginia and North Carolina were more spectacular than the views on the Parkway in Virginia. 

Most of all, this trip confirmed that I'm a "beach gal", not a "mountain gal" and that I'm not a "road trip gal" (hauling our stuff in and out of the car each evening got old in a hurry ... I prefer to get where I'm going, unpack and settle in, even if for just a few days).  But DH had been dreaming of this for several years now, and I'm glad that he's been able to cross this off his bucket list.  

Now, I'm going to take it easy, watch my Cardinals and stitch some bow ties.  

I hope that whatever you planned for today included a little something that brought some joy ... have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday’s Trivialities


I mentioned Sunday that I couldn’t decide between quilting on my Kiss quilt or working on my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden.  I decided to quilt … I continue to make progress.  I’m working my way around the outer edges … I’m almost done with the 2nd of the 4 outer edges.  When I’m done with the 4th outer edge, I’ll have the final 2-3” along the outer edges to quilt (I save that last couple of inches so I can get out my border hoop). 


After dinner I decided to trim my connector hexies … I start with a 2.5” square of fabric and then trim the excess after I’ve basted.  Here’s an example: IMG_3804It’s much easier to cut 2.5” squares of fabric, and the extra fabric gives me a little more margin for error, something that I find useful since I usually do my basting in situations where I might not be able to focus intently on lining up my papers, such as in the car on our road trips or at swim meets.  Trimming the edges is also fairly mindless work, something easily done in the evening, sitting in my recliner while watching the game with DH.


Anyway, I pulled out my basted connector hexies and was shocked to see how few there really were.  I found the rest of the 2.5” squares waiting to be basted, but there didn’t seem to be all that many of them either.  Will I have enough??  I counted my blocks and estimated how many connectors I would need for the 51 blocks I have done and then counted my hexies/fabric squares.  Yikes!  I’m nowhere close … I have enough to connect 20 blocks.  Of course, this is old fabric from my stash, and my Google search pulled up zero hits.  I guess I’ve got more fabric to add to my shopping list … in addition to fabric for the setting triangles for the Pat Speth quilt I started at retreat last month, I now need fabric for connectors for my MWFG.  Don’t worry … those hexies that I’ve already basted won’t go to waste (very little goes to waste with us quilters ha!) … I’m thinking of finding a nice green (on my shopping trip since my green stash is sorely lacking) and making a Christmas table topper/runner.  Not in time for Christmas 2015, but perhaps Christmas 2016. 


Yesterday was spent with my Ts … this is DD’s last week for 2 of her 3 classes, and it’s crunch time.  She needed a study day, so I took the Ts off her hands.  The girls and I headed up to the library, and the boys stayed home to play. 


Today will find me at DD’s most of the day as she has her afternoon class on Tuesdays.  I always stick around for a couple of hours afterwards to have some time with her and the Ts.  When I get home this evening, I’ll start packing for our road trip … our plan is to leave tomorrow after I get home from watching the Ts … if we can get a few hours under our belts tomorrow evening, we will be able to hit the Parkway by mid-afternoon Thursday and get a few miles on it under our belts before stopping for the night.  While driving in the car for hours and hours is more DH’s “thing” than mine (if I’m going to be in the car for hours and hours, I want to end up at the beach – ha!), I’ll admit that I’m really looking forward to this trip.  What we’ve seen of the Blue Ridge Mountains (from a distance) on our travels tells me that we’ll have some beautiful views, and there are several stops along the Parkway that I’m looking forward to.  And I am hoping that we’ll encounter a quilt shop or two as well. 


I doubt that I’ll be online much on this trip … maybe a photo or two shared on Instagram.  But I’ll be sure to report in when we get home.  Until then, I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching


Slow Sunday Stitching


It’s most definitely going to be a slow stitching day here at Chez Nana.  After all the excitement, drama and heat of yesterday, I think a lazy day at home is definitely on the agenda!  Especially since this coming week will be another busy one.  If the old saying “no rest for the wicked” is true, then I must be very, very wicked.  ha!


Yesterday was the summer swim conference’s championships, and as I mentioned, all three Ts qualified.  We were at the pool by 7:15, and it was 5:30 by the time I headed back home. 


T#3 has been begging for a pair of swim briefs all summer long, so when Mama found a pair in his size at 75% off, he got his wish!  Obviously they must have helped make him faster because he scored the most points for any swimmer in the 8 and under boys group … he won 2 events and finished 3rd in the remaining individual event and helped his relay team take 1st.  Another trophy for his growing collection.  IMG_3787T#1 had a good meet, scoring the 3rd most points for any swimmer in the 13-14 y.o. boys group.  IMG_3797… pretty soon those boys are going to need another room for their swim trophies/medals!  Poor T#2 didn’t have her best meet ever … I think the heat got to her, and the splint didn’t help either.  Thankfully the splint will be off by the time winter swim starts up, so hopefully she’ll pick up where she left off last winter.


The Ts’ team fared well, winning the Conference championship for the first time in the 36-year history! 


It was a HOT day yesterday … the high was 94 with heat indices well over 100.  Thankfully DH and I set up our chairs at the top of the ridge under a large tree, so we had plenty of shade and a nice breeze blowing much of the time.  We were just a few feet away from the bleachers, so we didn’t have to trudge through the heat and sun to watch the swimmers.  I will say that I was so thankful to get in the van and crank up the A/C for the drive home.


Which wasn’t without its own drama.  I was about halfway home when I got a flat tire.  Surprised smile  In hindsight, I think the tire was slowly losing air even on the trip to the pool that morning.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to drive too far to a small town so I could pull off into a bank parking lot.  Alas, I didn’t have my purse with me, so I didn’t have my AAA card, and my efforts to Google the roadside assistance number were futile … I gave up and called DH (who’d left the meet to go to the annual picnic hosted by a social group he belongs to).  He drove me home, grabbed his AAA card and headed to the van.  By 10:30 last night, we had the tire changed and the van back home.  Of course, we’ve only got a little donut tire on so tomorrow, DH will be taking the van to get it a new tire. 


I’m trying to decide whether to continue on my MWFG (now that the light bulb has turned on for adding the connector hexies) IMG_0729or to get back to quilting my Kiss quiltIMG_3452Decisions, decisions.  Winking smile


It’s going to be another busy week this coming week.  DD has her final week of in-class sessions, so I’ll be getting some T-time Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  And DH and I will be hitting the road as soon as I get home Wednesday … we’ll be traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Our plan is to start at the southern terminus Thursday afternoon and hit I-64 at the northern terminus on Saturday late afternoon/early evening.  There’s nothing on our schedule for Monday, so if our road trip takes a little longer than planned, no big deal.  I’ll definitely be taking along my MWFG for some handwork along the way. 


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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

So Busy?


I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I last blogged.  Surprised smile  Things have been just crazy busy here at Chez Nana … my head starts spinning when I try to think about it.  Confused smile


Our weekend was fairly slow and quiet … I was able to get in a good bit of quilting both days.  But once we hit Monday, things accelerated at break-neck speed.  Monday evening was the final summer “regular season” swim meet … and once again, we had rain.  Thankfully the rain came late enough in the meet that they could put the meet in the books.  No make up meet – whew!  And it’s a good thing because the conference championships are today.


Tuesday DD, the 4 Ts and I had a fabulous day together.  We hit up the Build a Bear store to make minions before we head out to the “movie-ater” to see the Minion Movie (“movie-ater” was how T#3 used to say “movie theater”).  T#1 decided that he wasn’t too old yet for a minion and chose Stuart; T#2 chose Kevin, and T#3 chose Bob.  T#4 couldn’t be bothered with minions and chose an Elsa bear (to keep her Anna bear company).  The Ts loved the movie … I found several parts to be laugh-out-loud funny and a few parts that could have easily found their way to the editing room floor.   I did love the soundtrack for the movie and will confess that I was singing along to Got to Get You Back in My Life at the end (softly … and off key no doubt). 


That evening, DD  found out that her former step mom was readmitted to the hospital … they weren’t (and so far still aren’t) sure whether it was methotrexate toxicity or PCP, a pneumonia caused by a common fungus.  Right now they’re leaning toward PCP but will find out more once they get the results of the bronchoscopy done Thursday morning.  Thankfully much of the treatment is the same, and they’ve also started her on the antifungal that should treat PCP.  DD spent most of Wednesday and all of Thursday with her at the hospital, which meant that Nana had plenty of T-time. 


Wednesday we helped my dad with his monthly shopping excursion.  DD found friends who could take the 3 bigs to swim practice and watch them afterwards until I got back from my dad’s so we took #4 along with us.  She did a fine job of entertaining my dad when we got back to his house, but her early morning get-up for practice meant that she was getting awfully tired not long after lunch … we left earlier than originally planned because a tired T#4 means either one who gets a little too squirrelly or a little too cranky, and we didn’t want to wear out our welcome. 


Thursday I took the swimmers to their final practice of the summer … T#4 and I went on a secret mission – to see if any of her siblings made it in the local paper (published once/week).  And sure enough, T#3 made the paper (forgive the poor quality, it’s a picture of the paper taken with my iPhone).  His brother is almost always in the paper, so it was nice to see him get some props. Hopefully his sister will have a better summer swim (as in no broken arm) next year and will make the paper, too.IMG_3765After we got back to the pool, we went for a brief walk while waiting for practice to end.  We saw this delicate hydrangea bloom on our walk … #4 was so disappointed that she couldn’t pick the flower.IMG_3768#1 went to a friend’s house after practice for a pool party – I guess he didn’t get quite enough time in the pool this week.  #2 brought a friend home after practice … they spent most of their time in the family room in the basement, doing whatever 11-12 year old girls do.  ha!  #3 and #4 kept Nana entertained by having her join their Minecraft game.  The things we grandmas do for our grands.  ha!


Friday was a quiet, relaxing day … sort of.  I went back to my eye doctor’s office to get the corrected lenses put in my new glasses … it’s amazing how much better I see now. I spent the afternoon getting caught back up on things around the house … laundry, dusting, sweeping.  A squishy package was delivered – Christmas in July!  I’m always on the lookout for plaids (I’d like to make a plaid quilt one of these days when I can get enough plaids).IMG_1809But there was still a little time to get reacquainted with my needle and thread.  Remember my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden?  I picked it back up and worked on the final full block.  I wasn’t able to get it finished since I spent my evening with T#4 who had a sleepover here at Nana’s.  IMG_1810


Today will be an especially hot, muggy day spent watching our swimmers compete … all three qualified for the conference championships, and even though her times are all down a little (thanks to the broken arm – first a cast and then a splint), T#2 is “swimming up” - with the 13-14 y.o. girls - for 2 of her events.  The top 6 swimmers for each event at the championship will qualify for the “All Star” competition in two weeks … T#1 and T#2 both qualified last summer, but thanks to that broken arm, I suspect that T#2 won’t qualify this summer. 


I suspect that we’ll be spending tomorrow getting cooled off and getting in some much-needed R&R (IOW, time with my needle and thread).  Winking smile


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