Monday, July 29, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-Up

It was a quiet weekend here at Chez Nana. 

Other than sewing, I really didn’t do much of anything at all.  Boring to you all maybe, but not at all for me.  Winking smile  I now have segments for 44 blocks … I’m over halfway there!  DH commented about how it sure is taking me a long time to get this top together.  I don’t think he realizes how much more time consuming it is to cut the little pieces for paper piecing as opposed to long strips like I usually do … I’m sure that there’s an easier way than cutting just what I need for the block I’m working on, but I’m finding that this helps me stay organized as some of the sizes are similar … but not similar enough to be interchangeable … as I learned the hard way – ha!  Also each block requires 28 pieces (a lot more than any other blocks I’ve ever made), so it takes time to sew all those pieces together.  Like I’ve said before, paper piecing is time consuming, but I’m really enjoying it! 

It was a nice cool weekend here, too.  In fact, a year after setting a record for the highest low temperature, we set another record – this time for the lowest low temperature.  It was 50 when I got up Saturday morning … 50 in July!  Surprised smile  Thankfully it warmed up to the low 80’s.  Our unseasonable temperatures will continue for the next 10 days … and I’m “happy, happy, happy”. 

Something’s been helping itself to some of our tomatoes … we have 15 plants, so there should be enough for everybody, but not just yet.  We “harvested” another zucchini … 2 so far … and there’s another little zucchini growing.  Again, with 4 plants, there should be more than enough, but I guess everything is slower than normal with the wet spring we had.  And we’ve got a few blossoms on our green beans.  The beans seem to have been affected most by all the rain (and resulting standing water) we had, so if we get any beans at all, it will be amazing. 

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend … enjoy your Monday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Really Random Ramblings

I saw something interesting on the news last night … about a tool that will remove whatever you want on Facebook or Twitter.  Tired of hearing about George, tired of recipes as status updates, tired of political “ads”?  Check out  I have to admit that I am rather tempted to give it a try … I already have Chrome, so why not?  Winking smile


One of the reasons I blog and follow other blogs is for the interaction.  It’s so disappointing when I can’t answer questions or continue the conversation if the comments are from a “no-reply” blogger.  Sad smile  If you’re using Blogger, it’s so easy to fix … your bloggy friends will thank you!

We met with our deck contactor last night and squared away all the last-minute details and confirmed that we’re all on the same page.  He should be able to get started in a couple of weeks … I’m excited!

I changed the needle in my sewing machine yesterday … while it seemed to resolve the skipped stitches, there was a tremendous increase in the rat’s nests.  After some conversation with Debbie, I removed the bobbin case, reinserted the bobbin, and then reinserted the bobbin case… and while I had the bobbin out, I took a brush and brushed around to remove any lint … I couldn’t see any lint nor was there any on the brush when I was done, but I was desperate.  I haven’t had any problems stitching since then.  I don’t know why it worked this time and not the multiple times prior … but I’m not complaining!  I’ll still take my machine in for an annual service after I’m done piecing this top.  But hopefully it won’t take quite as long now that I don’t have to frog as much (I still occasionally start paper piecing with the wrong fabric on top or fail to check that I’m sewing the right side of the white-on-white to the right side of the blue Surprised smile).

Another night sleeping with the windows open … delightful any time of year, but especially so in July.  We might have to close the windows Saturday night … not because it’s going to get hot, but because it might get too cold … the low is supposed to dip into the 50’s. 

I heard the dreaded “D” word on the news last night … drought.  I knew that it’d been a while since we got any measurable rainfall, but after the wet spring we had, who knew that we’d be facing the prospect of drought conditions so soon. 

DH went to a coin show in St. Charles yesterday … and offered to stop and pick up my extra fabric (the shop is not too far out of his way … and afforded him the “reward” of lunch at Five Guys).  One of my blues wasn’t available, but the clerk helped him find another fabric that would play nicely with the others.  I’ve got those blues in the washer right now.  True to my Piglet nature, I’m now wondering if maybe I should have purchased another yard of the white-on-white. 

Have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

This and That Thursday


Today is Thread the Needle Day

Today is Thread the Needle Day. You can be certain that today is going to be a great day........ if you sew.

Thread the Needle Day certainly is a day for those who sew. It also has a second meaning. The term "thread the needle", is also a saying. It means to either walk a fine and difficult line between two things or issues, or to do something difficult. For example, suppose two of your friends are on opposite sides of an issue. You may have to "thread the needle" on that issue, as you attempt to retain both of them as your friend.

The creator of Thread the Needle Day did not document this day. So, until we find him or her, you can celebrate today by either sewing or threading the needle on issues.

As a quilter, I intend to celebrate today by spending time in the sewing room.  Winking smile


Hopefully I’ll have an easier time in the sewing room today … yesterday’s piecing was fraught with stitching problems.  Every so often, I’d get a rat’s nest or some skipped stitches.  Since I’m paper piecing, I’ve got the machine set on tinier stitches, which makes ripping out a real pain. 


This morning, it occurred to me to check my machine’s owner’s manual, and it seems that the needle can cause stitching problems, so the first thing I will do when I sit down at my machine will be to replace that needle.  Hopefully no more frogging today!


I have 21 block segments finished … so I’m over a quarter of the way done (I am planning to make this a twin-sized quilt and will need 80 blocks).  I’ve been at this for 10 days, so I guess I have another another month or so before I’ll be ready to start quilting … I hope to have some quilting done before we leave on our trip in September.


DH brought home a couple of tomatoes from our garden yesterday.  One was nice and ripe … and was yummy.  The other needed another day on the vine, but it has ripened on the counter and I plan to have a slice on my sandwich at lunch today. 

photo (1)


“Cooler” weather has moved in … yesterday’s high (79) was 7 degrees lower than the record-setting low temperature on July 24, 2012.  We left a couple of windows open a few inches, and it was almost chilly in the house when I got up this morning.  


Have a terrific Thursday!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge


It’s Wednesday … and that can only mean that it’s time for some Hodgepodge!  Our gracious hostess Joyce comes up with 7 interesting questions … we provide our answers.  It’s a fun way of learning a little more about each other … so why not join in!  Just click on the button above.


1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day.  Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

Hmmmm … I’m drawing a blank on this one.  I’m sure I’ll read something someone else wrote and think to myself “I should have written that!”.     

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails?

I love Invisible Glass glass cleaner.  It’s the only glass cleaner that I’ve found that never ever streaks.


3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

Yes … Hilton Head Island.  I can literally feel any burdens or stress lifting when we cross the bridge to the island.  I know that DH and I had planned to move there when we retired, but when retirement arrived, there was no way that I could leave behind my DD and Ts.   

4.  Worst movie you ever saw?

I wish I could remember the name.  I remember getting together with friends for dinner and a movie … DH rented a movie with an all-star cast that we all were excited to watch.  What a disappointment … we were all in agreement that it was The. Worst. Movie. Ever.

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

We had the grands here on Monday.  And in spite of our sleep-deprived states, we had a wonderful time! 

6. The month of July is named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome? What's your favorite Italian dish?

I’ve never been to Rome or to Italy.  While I would love to visit Europe (and Italy), I don’t expect that we’ll ever make that trip.  When it comes time to plan a trip, the beach (particularly Hilton Head – see #3) always wins out. 


My favorite Italian dish is probably Tutte Mare, and my favorite place for Tutte Mare is Zia’s, on The Hill.

7. What is one piece of advice you'd offer new mom Kate Middleton?

The same advice that I’d give any new mom:  Don’t rush time … savor every moment of your time with your baby.  He won’t be a baby for long, and you’ll never get this time back.  So don’t wish for that next stage (sleeping through the night, that first smile, that first step, etc.) … live and love in the now.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

DH picked our first zucchini yesterday … maybe a day or two sooner than I would have.  We prefer our zucchini small and tender … but not quite this small (4 1/2” long).  Winking smile

photo (1)


And we have tomatoes that are ripening!  BLTs coming up!!



Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-up


Another weekend is now in the history books … so to speak.  Not that anything historical or even particularly newsworthy happens here at Chez Nana. 


Friday found me in the sewing room.  I’m making progress on my storm at sea blocks … I’ve lost track of how many I’ve completed … I’m sure it’s quite a bit fewer than the 80 I’m hoping to stitch up.  Each block is comprised of 4 segments, each of which is pieced separately.  When I have all 320 segments pieced (80 blocks x 4 segments), I’ll piece them into my 80 blocks from which I’ll construct my quilt top.  As I’ve said, it’s slow going, but I’m really enjoying the process so I can’t and won’t complain.


We also finally heard back from our final deck contractor … he told us that he wasn’t going to be able to bid the job because he’s just too busy right now.  I have to admit that I was disappointed at the fact that it took him almost 3 full weeks to get back to us (after several phone calls from us asking him for his bid).  But it’s good because I’m quite pleased with the contractor we’ve chosen.  We’ll meet with him this evening to make sure that we’re all on the same page as far as the project is concerned.


Saturday was a long, hot day spent at the swim conference championships.  T#1 swam in 4 events … and did well.  Not as well as he would have liked, but we were quite proud of him.  He did well enough to qualify for the conference all-star swim to be held in a couple of weeks.  I rode to the meet with DD & DSIL … DH came down after he finished up with the men’s prayer breakfast at church.  My plan was to have DH drive me to the quilt shop (~15 minutes away from the meet site) for me to pick up more fabric for my storm at sea quilt.  But unfortunately, DH became overheated and had to head back home before the meet was finished.  I rode back home with DD … and a hot fudge sundae at Sonic helped take the edge off my disappointment at not being able to get my fabric.  I’ll get over to the quilt shop this week … maybe tomorrow?


My original plan for Sunday afternoon was to spend it in the sewing room.  And I did … just not quite as long as I had planned.  I got a phone call from DD late afternoon asking if I would be willing to keep the Ts overnight so she could clean their carpets.  Would I?  Of course I would!  I picked them up just in time to get them to VBS … VBS was over at 9:00, so we had just enough time for a goodnight phone call to Mama before bedtime. 


Today includes swim lessons at 9:30 … I’m not sure what else our day will bring, but I know that with the Ts here, it will be fun!  Red heart


Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Little of This, A Little of That


DH reported Wednesday night that he had spotted a zucchini in our garden, so I had to see it with my own eyes.  Zucchini

It’s the only one so far … there are plenty of blossoms still but no signs of other zucchini. 


While there, I checked out our tomatoes.  Most all the plants have at least 2-3 tomatoes, but this one is hitting the jackpot.Tomatoes


We finally heard back from our final contractor for our deck replacement project.  And we’re going to go with the first contractor (the one that I was hoping that we’d go with).  He’s coming over Monday afternoon to touch base … to make sure we’re all on the same page as far as the design, etc.  I’m excited.   


I spent yesterday afternoon in the sewing room … I mentioned that I intended to make 80 storm at sea blocks – unless I ran out of fabric.  I think I can say that I did, in fact, miscalculate how much fabric I need.  Sad smile  I used an app on my iPhone that calculated yardage requirements … I entered the size and number of blocks and it told me how much fabric I needed.  Unfortunately this app assumed a three-color storm at sea and assumed standard piecing.  I thought I adequately compensated for using two colors instead of three, but it appears that I underestimated the waste with paper piecing (I tried to be as frugal as I could, but it’s impossible to avoid some waste).  Thankfully I still have the selvages and I just bought this fabric a couple of weeks ago, so there should still be some in stock.  And now that I know how many blocks I can get from 1 yard of fabric, I can make a better determination on how much more yardage I need. 


I’ll likely spend much of today in the sewing room as well.  First of all, it’s just too stinkin’ hot to do much else, and secondly, I just Red heart quilting … I believe I could almost spend every waking moment quilting.  Hand quilting is my favorite part, but I certainly enjoy seeing a pile of fabrics transformed into a quilt top.


Lest you all think I do nothing other than quilt, I have done some reading.  I just finished Intentional Walk … it was an interesting read.


I’ve now started The Quilt.

I’m having a hard time getting into the story, but it was highly recommended (on someone’s blog – forget who now), so I’m going to trust that it will get better. 


Have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Runaway Train


That’s what it feels like I’ve been on the last couple of days.  Winking smile  But it’s been a fun ride, even if it’s kept me busy as a bee! 


Tuesday morning, I took the 3 younger Ts to the Y … T#2 and T#3 had swim lessons, while T#4 went to the Child Care room.  DD met up with us as the lessons were ending and invited me to join them at the Water Park in a nearby small town.  Water park


Yesterday morning, I took T#1 to swim practice for conference competition this Saturday while DD took the rest of the crew back to the Y for their lessons.  When I got home, I went straight to the sewing room.  My intention was to piece together a couple of blocks and then get to work around the house … that didn’t happen.  I was on such a roll with sewing, that I just spent the rest of the morning and all afternoon with my storm at sea pieces … I didn’t even make the bed yesterday (I admit that I had to shut the door so that unmade bed wouldn’t shame me Winking smile).  I got another 4 blocks sewn.


I got a phone call after dinner to join DD and the Ts at the Y again for open swim.  While the 3 bigger Ts are regular little fishies, T#4 wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the water.(See the unhappy face, even when she’s in Mama’s arms?)  DD has decided that it’s time for her to get over her fear of water and finally had success last night!  With a floatie pack on her back, T#4 was able to dog paddle herself all around the pool!  She loved it so much that any time one of us got too close, she shooed us away.  Smile


While I would much rather spend all day in the sewing room again today, I really must get some work done around the house first … THEN I can sew!  Winking smile 


Have a great day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Weekend Wrap-up

Another weekend has flown by.  While it wasn’t a crazy busy one, it was certainly a productive one.

T#4 was here for an overnighter Thursday evening … the rest of the family went to Six Flags Friday.  We didn’t do anything special … just a nice day, reading, watching a movie, and playing together.  Red heart

Saturday I was able to finish up T#4’s quilt.  All I needed to do was bind it … I thought I’d have time to do that … and perhaps even get a block or two of my storm at sea pieced.  Ha!  Obviously it takes a good while longer to cut strips, sew them into binding, sew the binding on and then stitch it down than I had estimated.  But I did get it done, washed and dried and ready for delivery. 
Tressa's quilt 001
Remember you can click on the picture to see it larger.

Since I wasn’t able to start my storm at sea on Saturday, it was my priority after we got home from church Sunday.  Paper piecing this is taking a little longer than I thought it would … although I could have gotten more accomplished had I not needed to frog (rip it! rip it!) as much, although as I got further along in the piecing, I got into my paper-piecing groove and didn’t have to rip as much.  I got sections for 3 blocks pieced.
Tressa's quilt 003-001
I was planning on making this quilt 72x90, but these are 9” blocks … and that would mean I need to piece 80 blocks.  Disappointed smile   Good thing I enjoy paper piecing, eh?  Just hope I didn’t underestimate the amount of waste with paper piecing.

We stopped by the garden on our way home from church.  Things are looking a bit better.  Our green beans are not getting much bigger, but they are sending out climbing tendrils finally … I’m just not sure that it’s just not too little, too late.  Our zucchini are looking good with plenty of blossoms, but a thorough inspection showed that there are still no baby zucchini on any of our plants.  Our tomatoes, for the most part, seem to be doing well. 
photo (78)
Can’t wait for that first BLT!

I have a hair cut this morning and small group this evening … sounds like I should be able to spend a little time in the sewing room this afternoon.  Winking smile

Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Fun

Anxiety GirlI saw this online the other day … and I have to say, it definitely describes me to a “T”. 

The summer swim season drew to a close last night … and what a night it was!  First of all, the weather was ideal.  And secondly, my Ts did a fabulous job!  T#1 finished first in his individual medley and his breast stroke – in dramatic come-from-behind finishes… and came in a close second in the butterfly.  Their team finished with a 6-2 record.  The conference competition will be a week from tomorrow … T#1 will definitely make conference, and T#2 is on the cusp … T#3 won’t because the conference competition is open only to 8+ year olds. 

Papa and I left the meet a little early to bring T#4 home for the evening … she spent the night here because she’ll be here all day today while the rest of the family is going to Six Flag with friends.

I finished the quilting on T#4’s quilt yesterday afternoon.  All I need to do now is to cut the binding strips and then stitch it on.  I’ll have to wait until Saturday to do that … and then it will be time to start piecing my storm at sea quilt. 

If you recall, I’ll be making in blue and white … just like the drawing above.  I can’t wait to start piecing.

Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge


It’s Wednesday again … time for some Hodgepodge. 

1. What's something people might ask you for help with?

I frequently get asked – by DD and the grands – for help with sewing, especially repairing.  It’s not uncommon for one of the Ts’ stuffies to need to make a visit to Nana’s Stuffie Hospital.  Winking smile

A recent patient of mine.


2. What's something you might ask someone else for help with?

Just about any kind of repairs … DH and I are not handy at all.  Thankfully DSIL is, so we’ve had to ask him for some help.


3.  Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child? If so, where did you go? If you're a parent, did/do you plan summer vacations with your own family? Did/do they resemble those you took as a child?

We didn’t take summer vacations when I was a child.  My dad owned a motel so not only was summer his busiest time, but he and my mom provided the majority of the labor for the motel, so there wasn’t a lot of free time for traveling even during the “off-season”.  I was a single mom during DD’s childhood and  couldn’t afford to take her on a “real” vacation.  Instead I planned day trips and weekend visits to my sister.  Being unable to take her on “real” vacations is one of my parenting regrets.

4.   Pool-lake-ocean...which one is most appealing to you on a hot summer day?

The ocean of course!!  And not just on a hot summer day, either!  Winking smile

5.  Have you ever justified using the expression, 'you gotta be cruel to be kind'?  Was it really necessary or were you rationalizing?

I’ve never used that expression, and to be honest I was quite taken aback by the inclusion of the word “cruelty”.  After some thought, I wondered if perhaps this phrase was intended to be a hyperbole … if that’s the case, I did use the basic principle behind it.  As a parent, I had to make unpopular decisions.  Even as a grandparent, I sometimes have to say “no” when my heart would rather say “yes”. 

6.  The Journal of Psychology recently mentioned the results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as-liver, lima beans, mayonnaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, brussel sprouts, tuna, and gelatin.  Of those foods, how many do you actually hate? Anything you'd add to the list?

Eggs?  Enough people hate eggs to make it to a most-hated list?  I do not care for beets, but the rest of those foods are ok in my book … some I like better than others, but I’ll eat any of those others.  One food that I’d add to the list would be oysters (not because I hate them, but because so many others do).

7. What's your favorite book or movie set in a beach or lake town?

The first thing that came to mind was the books written by Dorothea Benton Frank. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It was a late night last night with the swim meet, so I thought I’d be able to sleep in a little this morning … however, the thunderstorm that moved through at 6:00 this morning put a kibosh on those plans.  Guess today will be a quilting day.  Winking smile 


Have a wonderful Wednesday!