Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge




1. As August draws to a close, share what's been your favorite weekend of the entire summer?

That’s a toughie … I guess, if I have to choose one weekend (assuming I can even remember each and every weekend of the summer), it’d be the first weekend in August, when on Saturday T#1 finished 2nd overall at the summer swim regional championships and on Sunday we celebrated T#3’s birthday (with plenty of time spent with #2 and #4).2nd place


2. Labor Day is marked in the US of A on Monday, September 1st.  What paying job have you held that you've loved the most? Liked the least?

My least favorite job was waitressing … I waitressed for 2 years as I was putting myself through university prior to my first marriage.  In a bit of hyperbole, I always swore that I’d rather go on welfare than ever waitress again.  I certainly do have a lot of respect for the wait staff when we dine out and encourage DH to be generous when we’ve had good service. 


My most favorite job was the last job I held prior to my retirement.  I was an accountant at the University, in the Administrative Accounting department.  I enjoyed being an accountant, but most of all I enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie … making the decision to retire was a very difficult one (but not one that I’ve ever regretted).

3. Does the new school year start before or after Labor Day where you live? When do you think it should begin? There is much discussion now about older students having later start times to their school day...your thoughts?

It seems that every school district in these parts starts classes around mid-August.  That just seems early to me.  Back in the dark ages, when I was in school, we didn’t start until after Labor Day and ended the school year ‘round about the same time that the school year ends now.  Do the kids now get more days off?  What’s the deal?


I heard the news reports that a leading group of pediatricians believes that for teens, their school day ought to start later.  I’m not sure that it’s going to accomplish what the doctors are hoping it will.  There are still only 24 hours in a day, and between school, homework, extracurricular activities, social activities, family activities, there isn’t much time for sleep.  If teens start the school day later, they’ll finish it later, and they’ll stay up later finishing up homework after all the other activities in their days. 

4. What's something you've worked at recently that could be deemed a 'labor of love'?

Now THIS is an easy question for me!  Open-mouthed smile  Working at the spiral log cabin quilt (or the chevron quilt or any of the quilts I make) is definitely a labor of love!

5.Which of the following work idioms can you most relate to right now...'A woman's work is never done.', 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' 'Many hands make light work.'

I’m not sure that right now I can relate to any of the three.  Although I’m going to draft DH to help me clean and prepare for our guests coming this weekend … so “many hands make light work” is probably most apropos.   

6. Crab or lobster or thanks, but no thanks? Favorite way to have your choice prepared?

Oh yes indeed!  And if I have to choose just one, I guess I’ll choose crab.  I do love me some crab!  I’ve had a hankering for some time for a soft shell crab sandwich, but I’ll take crab served just about any way … except crab legs.  Winking smile

7. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, 'Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Which of the three do you consider to be the most important? Share one of your own 'rules of work'.

My rule is “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”  Clutter and chaos make me crazy.


8.  Insert your own random thought here.


T#1 had science experiments to do for school.  The instructions for one experiment advised wearing protective eyewear. “Protective eyewear?  Seriously?  Is this experiment going to result in a nuclear explosion?  His mama responded that he needed to follow the instructions, to which T#1 responded “I know … I’ve got it covered.  You know … it’d be nice if they wanted me to see.” 


On a semi-related note, I want to know who told him he could grow up? 


I hope that whatever you have planned today includes a little something that brings you joy.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lizard Sighting and a Little Quilty News

DD saw a lizard out on their patio yesterday.LizardShe reported that after a little Googling, she was able to identify it as a five lined skink.  She estimated it to be about 11” long (including the tail).  T#4 went outside and told it that it didn’t want to mess with her.  The boys went on a mission to keep the house safe, and T#2 begged to be able to keep it as a pet (she’s definitely an animal lover!).  DD and I both had the same opinion:  Ewwwwwwwwww!

I spent part of Monday morning piecing blocks for the spiral log cabin … I have 1/2 of the 72 blocks finished and have begun piecing another 15 blocks.  I’m so ready to be done piecing … I’m ready to put this together so I can see how it looks … and so I can start the FUN part: hand quilting! 

Even though I’ve been quilting for 30+ years, I’m a newcomer to chain piecing and have finally figured out what the hub-bub is about leaders and enders.  I wracked my brain to try to think of a quilt that I’d like to make from small pieces that I could make from my leaders and enders, when I remembered that I’ve been wanting to make another Primitive Picnic Quilt.  I made a smallish quilt in January, 2012 I’ve long wanted to make a bigger one, big enough to curl up in on a cold winter’s night.  I found some Kansas Troubles fabric I love, but I got to thinking that #1 I used KT fabrics on my first one, so would the second really look that much different? (not that there would necessarily be anything wrong with that as I do love my KT fabrics – ha!) and #2 I’ve got so much fabric in my stash … why not use some of it up.  I’m a big fan of the classic simplicity of two color quilts and have been wanting to make a red and white/neutral quilt (I’ve been making so many blue and white/neutral quilts) … and I have a lot of leftover Minick and Simpson Midwinter Reds.  Ding ding ding!  We have a winner!  I cut 2.5” squares yesterday afternoon and am now making slow but steady progress on another quilt top … when I’ve got all my squares pieced, I’ll cut and piece the 2.5” strips.

It’s been HOT and HUMID here!  After very springlike weather for most of the summer, we’re certainly getting summer weather – with a vengeance!  We hit 100 the last couple of days, with heat indices of 111+.  Surprised smile 

I hope that whatever you have planned today includes a little something that brings you joy.  Have a terrific Tuesday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

All Things Log Cabin

I mentioned on Wednesday how I can waste spend time on Facebook … I suspect I’m not alone.  Which means that many (most?) of you have seen those quizzes “What Kind of _____ Are You?”.  I ignore them … until I saw this one “Which Quilt Block Are You?”.  I had to try that one … and I was not at all surprised to discover that I’m a Log Cabin block.  Log CabinAfter all, I’ve made 4 log cabins … and am making one right now for T#1. 

I love, love, love log cabin quilts … they’re so simple, yet they can be set in so many different ways for so many unique quilts … they’re so traditional, yet with the right setting and right fabrics, they can be very modern.  I’m not done making log cabin quilts, either as I’ve got about half the blocks together for a log cabin quilt for DH, and I’ve got a quilt with this setting on my bucket list:Source:  Google search
Or maybe this one:Source:
Or maybe both?  Winking smile

Speaking of the one I’m making for T#1, I couldn’t wait to see how the spiral was going to look, so I laid out the first ten blocks on my design floor.photoPay no attention to the loose threads on my blocks … they’ll get all tidied up when it comes time to piece the top together.  And remember, the colors aren't as bright and vivid as they're appearing in my photos.

Today I hope to finish up the next 15 blocks … I’m chain piecing them, which means it takes longer to get to finished blocks, but when I do, I have enough to see it take some shape.  Winking smile  I’ll be making a total of 72 blocks … originally I was going to make 80, but T#1 has asked for borders.  I would have chosen no borders, but since this will be his quilt, I’ll honor his request.  Red heart

I hope that whatever you have planned today includes a little something that brings you joy.  Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What-Not on a Wednesday Morning


I can waste spend a lot of time on Facebook, if I’m not careful … between getting caught up with family and friends and enjoying the eye candy on Celebrating Handquilting group.  I do get a chuckle and some inspiration from some of the pictures and videos posted and stole borrowed a few to share with you all today.



Yesterday and Today


I got a few hours in the sewing room yesterday … but I didn’t get as much done as I was hoping, thanks to having to repair this:photo 1

All 8 blocks were sewn together incorrectly.  Sad smile  Here’s a block after I unsewed and resewed:photo 2Strip piecing log cabin blocks is rather mindless … maybe a little too mindless?  Winking smile  Squaring up after each strip helps ensure accurately sized blocks, but it won’t guarantee accurately pieced blocks.  ha!  Hopefully I’ll get these 8 blocks done this morning and can lay them out on my design floor to get an idea of the spiral effect. 


Hope that whatever you have planned today includes a little something that brings you joy.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Has Returned

With a bit of a vengeance, too, I might add.  It’ll be in the 90’s all week, flirting with that 100 degree mark in another day or two … with the heat’s BFF humidity. 

I got all of the fabric cut for the spiral log 2I cut 2” strips using my Accuquilt Go cutter.  I’m still learning how to best utilize my cutter … sure beats cutting 7 yards of fabric by hand!  Winking smilephoto 1

I had planned to start sewing those strips together yesterday, but I spent the day at DD’s.  She had to take T#2 to the orthodontist to have her braces removed and to the optometrist to get her new glasses … so I got to watch the other 3.  While I was there, I gave DD her quilt and pillows.  She was thrilled with it, which made every little problem I had with that quilt worth it 3The first thing she wanted to do was put the quilt on their bed, just to see how it fit.  Thankfully my initial measurements were correct, and the quilt fit perfectly!  Whew!  Forgive the rumpled appearance … we just put it on the bed quickly, just to see it all laid out. 

Thanks to another battle with insomnia Sunday evening, I was too exhausted by the time I got home last night … no stitching for me.

I received a couple of surprises in the mail over the last couple of days.  I was the lucky winner of the fat quarter of choice over at Kathi’s blog.  I chose this cute neutral.  photo (2)-001Isn’t that just the cutest fabric? 

And I received a free spool of handquilting thread.  Presencia contacted Pepper Cory who happens to be a fellow member of the Celebrate Handquilting Facebook group, offering to give away a limited number of spools of their 40/3 handquilting thread.  I was lucky enough to be one of the winners!
photo 4
That is the most adorable color of gold/tan and will be perfect for DH’s log cabin (half the blocks are pieced) or my pineapple quilt (kitted, to be pieced at my guild’s retreat in September).  I use Presencia 60/3 thread for piecing, so I’m looking forward to using their handquilting thread.

Today’s plan is to stitch, stitch and stitch.  I’m anxious to see how the blocks come together … and to maybe even get a few laid out on my design floor to see the spiral come together. 

Hope that whatever you have planned today includes a little something that brings you joy.  Have a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It’s Finished!

I’m SO excited … the chevron quilt is finally finished!  Woo hoo!  I finished up the quilting Friday evening … I spent the majority of Saturday making and sewing on the binding.  I’d forgotten how looooong it takes to sew down the binding to the 2But it’s done!  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get it washed and dried before gifting it to DD … I was surprised to see that it (barely) fit in our washer, but I had a difficult time drying it in our dryer … it kept balling up so only parts were drying.  I finally got it dry (1)Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t conducive for color accuracy … it’s raining so there’s not a lot of natural light coming in the windows.  I normally have DH hold my quilts over the deck railing, but the rain is making that impossible.  I’m hoping for a brief break from the rain so I can get a shot outside (even if it’s not sunny).  Overall, I’m very pleased with how the quilt turned out … even if it’s not fabrics or pattern that I would have chosen and in spite of all the difficulties I had with this quilt.  I can’t wait to see it on DD’s bed with these pillows I had my sister make. 

Friday, on our “road trip”, I found fabrics that have met with T#1’s approval for his spiral log cabin 1Once again the colors aren’t accurate … the red and blue are both more muted and the off-white isn’t as white.  Annoyed   We then headed over to St. Louis to visit a shop that advertises that they have among the largest inventory of extra wide backing fabrics in the nation.  Not hardly!  What a disappointment.  Since we were already in St. Louis, we took a detour to a third quilt shop where I signed up for a class … I’ve mentioned several times that selecting fabrics is very difficult for me.  Part of my “problem” is that I prefer muted colors, especially the classics – blues, reds, neutrals.  But I just don’t have an eye for choosing colors and patterns.  I admire quilts made from colors that I would never think of using, so I’d like to be able to expand my color horizon.  Winking smile  The class I’m taking won’t be using the color wheel or any technical tools … it’s designed to expand the eye to color and what we like and why.  While there, I bought some thread for T#1’s quilt … a blue and a variegated blue.  I’ve always been anxious to try variegated thread and thought that it might work well for this quilt.  I used YLI hand quilting thread on the chevron quilt, but YLI doesn’t have any variegated hand quilting threads nor do they have a blue that (at least online … I can’t find a local source for their thread) looks like it would work well for his quilt.  Sad smile  So I’m going to give Aurifil hand quilting thread a try.  Fingers crossed  It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had failed to even think about looking at storage for the sewing room closet.  By then I was gung ho on trying to finish up the chevron, so I put that off for another day. 

There will be no slow stitching today as I am anxious to get started on cutting strips for the spiral log cabin.  In case you all have forgotten, here’s my inspiration:I don’t plan to use borders on mine … my strips will be 1.5” wide, and I want to maximize the spiral effect.

Hope you all have a spectacular Sunday!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fabulous Friday

Yes, it’s going to be a fabulous Friday here at Chez Nana! 

We’re going to have fabulous weather … this unseasonably cooler weather is going to stick around for another day (ok, so maybe 85 doesn’t sound cool, but it certainly does when compared to 95-100 which is our typical mid-August temperature).WeatherWe’re going to relish the delightful weather today as storms are heading this way over the weekend, and we’ll be back to hot and humid weather next week. 

DH and I are going to take a road trip today, as I’m shopping for fabric for T#1’s spiral log cabin quilt.  I have a swatch of fabric that will be perfect for his quilt (and has his stamp of approval) so I know exactly what I’m looking for.  Worst case scenario and I cannot find what I’m looking for, I have a back-up in place, at least for the navy … I found online something that I know will fit the bill perfectly.  I’m not as worried about finding a suitable off-white. 

I’m also going to be shopping for storage containers for my new storage system installed in the closet in the sewing room.  I’m looking for something functional yet attractive.  I’m leaning toward something like this:or this:
(sources:  Google search)
Alas, I fear that it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to find something large enough to be practical and to fit the space available.  And of course, there’s that pesky obstacle:  cost.  Since these baskets will be in a closet, with the doors closed, functionality (and cost) will no doubt win out over esthetics.  Winking smile

I’m really on the home stretch on DD’s chevron quilt.  If I don’t get too many interruptions, I just might get the quilting finished this weekend.  Fingers crossed It will take me a little longer to get it bound as I have only large pieces of the binding fabric, no width-of-fabric yardage, so I will have to do some piecing to put together my binding strips. 

Wishing you all a fabulous Friday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday’s Trivialities

Summer is moving right along here at Chez Nana.

The Ts’ summer swim team had their awards banquet Sunday evening.  T#1 finished with the second highest point total overall, just 4 points behind the #1 point getter.  He also won the Hard Work Award, for going above and beyond during practices and at meets.  I’m so proud of all of them. 

Our garden is still producing nicely, even though it’s not been quite hot enough this summer for the tomatoes to take off like we expected.  Considering that we have 10 tomato plants, maybe it’s just as well.  Remember the big tomato we picked last week?  We picked another … even bigger!
photo (1)

I’m continuing to make progress on DD’s chevron quilt.  I’m very close to having the border and outer blocks of 3 of the 4 sides finished.  I expect to get the quilting done by the end of the week … then I just need to bind it. 
photo 1 (2)
I had really wanted to quilt something more than just straight lines on the border, and DD agreed, asking for something geometric/angular.  I just couldn’t find any stencils that would fit the border.

Today we’re getting the storage system installed in the closet in the sewing room.  It took me a couple of hours to empty the closet.  I can’t even imagine how long it will take me to get it filled back up, considering that I didn’t even touch much of my fabric yesterday (since the majority of it is in large vinyl tubs). 

I saw a school bus head past our house this morning … the local schools must be in session.  Seems like schools start earlier every year. 

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Busy as a Bee


(clip art courtesy of


I’ve been busy, busy, busy … quilting up a storm!  Wednesday afternoon, I finished up all the interior blocks and started quilting the outermost ring of blocks and the border. 

photoWith the end in sight, I spent Thursday in a marathon quilting session and got in a good amount of quilting on Friday as well.  I’m just over halfway done with the borders at this point … and that’s where I’ve been since Friday evening.


DD will be starting school back up tomorrow, so we spent the day together yesterday …  one last hurrah for summer 2014.  I brought the Ts back home with me for a sleepover, so Mama and Daddy could have a date night and so Mama could have a “teacher’s institute” day today. 


I took the blocks I had finished for T#1’s quilt for review … and those blocks will be set aside to become a quilt for DH.  Even though I used a limited number of fabrics, the quilt was a little too busy for T#1 … he would prefer more subtle and fewer fabrics.  Can you say road trip?  Winking smile


We got some much-needed rain … we got 3” Thursday and another inch yesterday.  Woo hoo!  There was some happy dancing going on here at Chez Nana!


Not only did I do some happy dancing over the rain, but I did a little dancing when our mail man delivered two packages.  One package contained my copy of Jinny Beyer’s Quiltmaking by Hand

(photo courtesy of 

As you all surely know by now, I love hand stitching, so I’d love to try some hand piecing. 


The other package contained a couple of quilt patterns.  I’ve been wanting to do a medallion-style quilt, but I hadn’t been able to find a medallion-style quilt that didn’t feature applique.  I want to learn how to applique … but it’s going to take a lot of practice before I’ll be ready to even think about tackling a quilt with applique as the focal point.  So when I found a couple of pieced medallion-style quilt patterns at Country Threads, I promptly ordered them. 


(photos courtesy of

Of course, who knows if I’ll ever get to either one.  I’ve already got blocks pieced to make a king-sized quilt for our bed, I’ve got half the blocks pieced to make a twin-sized quilt for DH, I’ve got to make quilts for both T#1 and T#3, and I’ve got fabric already kitted for two other quilts (both for us).  So many quilts, so little time.


Tonight is another Super Moon, and reports are that this will be the biggest and closest Super Moon of 2014.  We’ll see if I am able to remember to get out to see it this evening … I missed July’s Super Moon. 


Have a blessed Sunday!