Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Quickie

It’s going to be a very busy day here at Chez Nana … and while we still have wi-fi, I’d better check in.

I’m walking with Lois this morning – 7:00 as usual.  And as soon as I get home, I’ll be scrambling to finish up getting the two rooms ready for new carpet.  We got everything out of the sewing room yesterday … well, everything except our router.  Gotta keep internet as long as possible … and it looks like disconnecting it shouldn’t be too difficult.  Here’s a peek at just a little of what we moved out of the sewing room.
There’s a lot of stuff to the right and to the left as well as on the other side of that bed.  Surprised smile  When we were done, I told DH that I was shutting the door to that bedroom and I expected it to be kept closed.  If I had to walk down the hall and see that, my head might explode from the disorderliness. 

As far as the great room is concerned, we took everything out of the entertainment center … the towers have glass shelves and hold a lot of stuff with sentimental value … I wanted to make sure they got moved somewhere safe.  I let DH talk me into waiting until this morning to unhook the TV.  I may regret that decision when it comes time to unhook it as I don’t have a huge window of time between when I get back from walking with Lois and when I have to head to Holiday Shores (to learn how to prepare our Guild’s newsletter … yes, I’ve agreed to be the newsletter editor).  Anyway, there are about a million wires connecting our TV to all the various components so I’m going to have to take photos and make notes about what goes where in hopes of being able to reconnect everything properly tonight. 

By the time I get back home from Holiday Shores, it’s liable to be time to start putting everything back.  After all, the carpet in the spare bedroom where we unloaded all the sewing room stuff is going to get new carpet too, as is our bedroom.  At first thought, getting bedrooms cleared out doesn’t seem like such an overwhelming task (other than clearing out all the sewing room stuff), but then there’s the closets.  All those shoes, all the stuff hanging … Confused smile  And of course, DH is going to want the TV hooked back up, too … after all, there are baseball and basketball games to watch!  And I’ve got the PBS series Last Days in Vietnam set to be recorded.  Winking smile

After we got everything cleared out yesterday, including my Kiss quilt, I spent most of the afternoon out on the deck piecing my EPP bow ties.  It was such a delightful day … too nice to spend inside for sure.  I completed another 8 bow ties.  It doesn’t seem like I got a lot done, but in my defense I took a nice long break and went over to visit with Lois and her husband when they decided to sit out on their deck.
I hope to pull out my half yard bundle of Primitive Gatherings neutrals tomorrow to audition the background for these bow ties.  I’d like to get them cut so I’ll have them ready to go for our upcoming trip to Hilton Head (just 10 more days!). 

And speaking of auditioning, I’ve gotten positive feedback from my handquilting Facebook group on the black and cheddar for the sashing and cornerstones for my gifted blocks.
I just do not have “the eye” for color … which is one of the reasons why I most often make limited color quilts … but with these scrappy blocks, I need some help to determine if these fabrics will work.  I’m glad that those with “the eye” gave me the thumbs up as I just love the black and cheddar.  I wonder if I can get the strips cut in time for the 1-day retreat next Friday. 

Ok, so maybe this wasn’t a quickie after all.  Eye rolling smile  Hopefully I’ll be back in a couple of days … assuming I’m able to successfully reconnect our router.  ha!

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Calm Before the Storm and Other Randomness


Today is likely to be my last “easy” day before things get pretty busy around here.  Tomorrow will be “moving day” … not as in moving to a new house, but as in moving everything out of two rooms (one of which is my sewing room) in anticipation of carpet being laid Thursday morning. 


And since things will be pretty crazy around here for the next three days, I’m putting together projects to keep me busy.  I’ve got plenty of fabric cut to work on my EPP bow ties.  I’ve got a big flat of groundcover to put in, and I’ve got our cucumbers and tomato plants and our green bean seeds ready to go into the garden. 


But today I’m going to quilt.  I mentioned here that I had decided to add more stitching and was filling in areas that I’d already quilted.  I’ve finished up those areas and am now ready to start moving on to unquilted area.


I’m not sure that you can really tell much difference between now and the last picture I shared here


Today is big trash pick up day here … I always wonder if they’ll pick up our stuff.  They always have, yet I can’t help but wonder what if this time they won’t pick it up.  Eye rolling smile  Crazy, I know.  Welcome to my world. 


Whatever kind of respiratory crud I’ve got this time doesn’t seem to have the same grip on me that the one I suffered through last month … and for that I am so thankful.  Even so, I’ll be glad when this is gone. 


Is it really possible for “little” ones to grow several inches in just a week’s time?  (Note I use quotes for the word little, as I’m talking about my 13 y.o. grandson who is *not* little any more!)  A week ago Saturday, I had a picture taken with me and my two grandsons.  IMG_3139

(Forgive the blurry photo … it was taken with my iPhone.)  This past Saturday, T#1 seemed even taller, so we stood side by side and I measured the top of my head … which came to his mouth.  Surprised smile  How is it possible that he could grown that much in a week’s time?  (Unless I shrank … and we won’t go there as I’m already shorter than I’d like to be.  ha!)


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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

Slow Sunday Stitching

And not a moment too soon.  Not only have I been unable to spend any time with my Kiss quilt over the last 4-5 days, I seem to have come down with some kind of respiratory crud, eerily similar to the sinus infection that I finally got over last week … ok, it was more like last month, but still…  That means that today is going to be a slow day here at Chez Nana … and what better way to spend a slow day than to spend it slow stitching?  Winking smile  Now I have to decide … quilting on the Kiss quilt or stitching up more bow tie blocks? 

I spent yesterday afternoon basting the small “knot” piece of my bow tie blocks and have 19 sets ready to be pieced together.  I have them clipped together so when I’m ready to start piecing, my pieces will all be together.IMG_1487I have 13 pairs of the “tie” ready, waiting for their “knot”.  And I’ve still got quite a few pieces (60??) to baste … these make a 4” block, so the finished quilt should finish at about 40”x40”.  And yes, I know I have a very generous seam allowance.  I find it easier to wrap my papers – especially when working in the car – with a more generous seam allowance.  While it makes an extra step to trim that seam allowance when I’m done, I find that it’s worth it – to me – to make the basting process less fiddly and more enjoyable.  Plus, trimming the seam allowances (done with the papers still in place to help ensure accurate trimming and no snipping errors) is something that I can do while in my recliner, watching TV with DH.  So it works for me.  Since the primary benefit of EPP is the portability (plus the fact that I just plain enjoy EPP), I probably ought to hold off on the bow tie blocks … save them for our trip to Hilton Head (just two weeks now!).  That decides it … I’ll spend my afternoon quilting. 

Friday was reveal day for the April BOM for the Facebook handquilting group, so I can now present my version.  But first a little backstory to the BOM.  The group has decided that there are no rules … at the beginning of the month, we’ll be given a block, a little of its history and a picture of a sample block.  Then we’re free to make our version of the block.  April’s block was Whirling Squares, attributed to Nancy Cabot.  I found a drawing online, which was similar to the sample block.  Since the version I found looked to be a slightly simpler design and since I knew that the rest of April was going to be a busy time for me, I chose to go with the simpler block.  The 4 neutral pieces in the sample block were rectangles rather than squares, perhaps 1”x2” instead of the 2”x2” in mine.IMG_1402I can’t wait to see what block is chosen for May.  If you remember, I’m going to make my all my blocks using blues and reds similar to the fabrics in April’s block … and use that same neutral in all the blocks.  When I have enough blocks, I’ll put them together to make a sampler quilt.  My only concern is that these blocks will likely be different sizes … which means that I’ll be having to create some filler blocks … IOW I’m going to need to find some designing skills somewhere.  Surprised smile

We’ve got a busy week ahead, here at Chez Nana.  This week, we will be getting our carpet replaced – throughout the whole house.  The carpet we have now is builder grade and just looks tired and worn out.  The installers will move our furniture, but we’ll have to move the electronic equipment and smaller (i.e. breakable) items.  Thankfully they’ll be doing two rooms at a time, so we’ll have some space to cram everything.  I’m excited about getting this carpet replaced, but I’m not looking forward to the work involved in getting things broken down and moved and then back together… I’m really not looking forward to trying to reconnect all our electronic equipment (TVs, router, etc.). 

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Getting Caught Up


Oh, it feels so good to be back home.  While I loved every single minute in Paducah, there really is no place quite like home. 


We left mid-afternoon Tuesday so we could get checked into our hotel and get a good night’s sleep before our busy day on Wednesday (Day 1 of the Quilt Show).  Because we decided to go just a few months ago, we had a difficult time finding a hotel room convenient to Paducah that didn’t want an arm and a leg for a room … we found one hotel that was charging $500/night with a minimum 4-night stay.  Surprised smile  Crazy!  We finally “settled” for a hotel in Marion, IL – about an hour to the north of Paducah.  Thankfully DH doesn’t mind driving, and it was an easy hour’s drive – all interstate except for the last little bit.  And it gave me a little extra time to do some basting on my bow tie quilt blocks.IMG_1483Yes, it’s missing the background fabric … I’m still looking for my background fabric.  Most quilters book their hotel rooms for the next year as they’re checking out the current year so we’re going to start checking for rooms in the next few weeks (as soon as the hotels start accepting reservations that far in advance).


This was our first trip driving, so we weren’t sure, we were able to find a parking spot just a few blocks from the convention center … one that took us right past Hexie House.  I love English Paper Piecing, so of course, we stopped in on our way back to the car.  Do you need proof that I love EPP?  The gal who waited on me on Wednesday recognized my name from my online orders.  Winking smile


The first thing I did each day, after we got to the convention center, was to check out all the beautiful quilts.  It sure seemed to me like most of this year’s quilts were appliqued … maybe they were last year as well and I just don’t remember that.  While I admire all the hard work that goes into an appliqued quilt, they’re just not “my thing” (no offense to any of you who love applique) … and ditto the machine quilted quilts (again, no offense to any of you who machine quilt).  I spent most of my time checking out the hand quilted and pieced quilts. 

IMG_3174This quilt is entitled 12,000 Pieces, and I believe it!  From what I could see, I’d say that the pineapple blocks were about the same size as the miniature pineapple blocks I’m working onIMG_3177


IMG_3178I was thrilled to see another traditional quilt.  And I was surprised that the quilter chose cross hatching for the open spaces.IMG_3180


IMG_3201See the blue “background” … that’s all pieced from teeny tiny triangles.IMG_3202










I also spent plenty of time in the vendor area.  And yes, I did my part to boost the economy.  Winking smileIMG_1479Any ideas as to what my “go-to” fabric style and colors are?  Ha!


I learned a few things … like using the Clover Wonder Clips to hold my EPP papers in place when basting.  I shared a few things … like tips and thread recommendation to a quilter who was shopping for thread for her first hand quilting attempt. 


I also visited the Museum while we were in Paducah … after all, no trip to Paducah is complete without visiting the Museum, right?  Winking smile  They had some pretty awesome exhibits, but my favorite is still the miniatures.  I wish I could have taken photos to share some of the little quilts that I have fallen in love with.  As it is, I’ll settle for a picture from the Museum’s Facebook page.


And while we didn’t go to Paducah for the food, we didn’t go hungry either.  No trip to Quilt Week is complete without the Boy Scouts’ strawberry shortcake.IMG_3158And we were finally able to have lunch at Kirchoff’sIMG_3248In fact, we enjoyed it so much (and the lovely walk to the Historic District) that we ate there twice. 


The only thing we didn’t do that I would have liked to have done was to stop in at Hancock’s of Paducah.  We drove by on our way in and way out of Paducah each day, and the parking lot was jammed full, including buses.  I’ve been twice and I picked up plenty of fabric at the show, so I had no desire to fight the crowds … although I had hoped to perhaps find the background fabric for my bow tie quilt.


I absolutely enjoyed our trip to Quilt Week and am already dreaming of next year. 


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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Miscellany


Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers yesterday.  I do not have a detached retina, but there is something going on with the vitreous (the gel-like substance inside the eyeball) and the ER doctor wants me to follow up with an ophthalmologist, as it’s possible that this could produce a tear in the retina.  While she didn’t think it was enough of an emergency to go to St. Louis (none of the hospitals nearby have an ophthalmologist on call on the weekends), she insisted that I follow up today. 


In the meantime, I had orders to avoid straining that eye … no reading or quilting.  Seriously?  If I can’t read or quilt, what IS there to do?  I mean, I don’t watch a game or a movie without a needle and thread in my hands.   I decided to go cut fabric for a new EPP project … I’m done with the basting of hexagons for my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden, so I’m going to need something to work on in the car on our trip to Hilton Head in 3 weeks.  And it occurred to me that I should be able to do some basting without straining my eyes … it doesn’t require the close work like quilting.  My new EPP project is a 4” bow tie.  Here are a few of the pieces I was able to baste while watching the Cardinals sweep the Reds.


I’ll be basting them on our road trip this week, too … we’ll be heading to Paducah on Wednesday for the AQS Quilt Show.  I’m going to be on the lookout for a neutral for the background for this quilt (among other things – ha!) while we’re in Paducah. 



I ordered the floss for the embroidery for the Crabapple Hill project I bought a few weeks ago.  The pattern calls for at least 5 skeins, so I decided to err on the side of caution and ordered 7 skeins.  The floss arrived Wednesday … and when I opened the package, I counted only 4 skeins.  Surprised smile  Even if I chose to throw caution to the wind, that’s not enough for my project.  And there was no note why they shortchanged me … the only upside was that I was only charged for the 4 skeins shipped.  But where were the remaining 3 skeins?  I had to send an email asking them for an explanation – and to ship me the remaining 3 skeins.  I got an email, advising me that the floss were on sale and that when they sold them all, they were gone so they sent me what they had.  Seriously?  Their website showed a price markdown, but there was no mention of quantities being limited.  And why no quick phone call or email to advise that they weren’t going to be able to fill the order?  I’ve gotten phone calls from other online shops when they had to hold up an order or make any changes to my order.  I responded that it would have been nice to have received a heads up that they wouldn’t be able to fill my order, but I haven’t heard back nor do I expect to by this point.  The sad thing is that I’ve read other bloggers complain about their poor experiences with this online shop, so my experience wasn’t an isolated incident.  I love their fabrics, but because of this experience, I’ll be purchasing my fabrics from other online shops.  Sad smile



Our dogwood was in full bloom over the weekend.  Planting it outside our kitchen window was a smart move, as I an hardly pull myself away from the window when it’s in full bloom … helps make working at the sink a little more enjoyable – at least in the spring. 




As I was typing this post, I decided to call the ophthalmologist's office on the off chance that they might be open early for cataract surgery patients … I was able to head straight up and get right in.  It turns out that everything checked out ok.  It’s exactly what we thought yesterday … all part of the aging process (along with the cataracts on both eyes - ugh!).  The flashes and floaters should both go away with time.  If not or if things get worse, I am to go back … otherwise I don’t need to see him again for a year.  Whew!  Now I’ve just got to wait for the vision in my left (affected) eye to return to normal (he put in extra dilating meds in when he dilated my eye) and then I plan to spend the rest of my day quilting!  In the meantime, I think I’m seeing well enough to do a little more basting perhaps. 


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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching


And stitching is all I plan on doing today.  My insomnia has returned, and it seems to have no intentions of leaving … some slow stitching has got to be just about the best way of spending a day following a sleepless night.


I am going back and putting in more stitching on already quilted areas of my Kiss quilt … I’m about halfway through, then I can start back in on the unquilted areas.


I did a fair amount of quilting yesterday afternoon, while watching the Blues game.  I hope to be able to finish up the extra quilting today so I can get to work on all that unquilted area.  Winking smile


But first I’m going to be working on my Martha Washington’s Flower Garden this morning as last night on our way home from the swim team end-of-season banquet, I suddenly developed floaters and flashes of light out of the corner of my left eye.  When I searched online this morning, I see that those can be symptoms of retinal detachment.  Since I’m very nearsighted, I’m not a spring chicken any more, and I have chronic blepharitis in that eye, I’m at increased risk for retinal detachment.  So I’m going to be heading over to the ER … and will be taking my slow stitching along with me. 


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


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Time to Crash


What a busy week it’s been … which would explain why I haven’t been blogging.  And very little of that busy-ness has included any time with needle and thread … but that’s ok. 


Tuesday, DH and I decided to take a road trip to Mexico … no, not the country but a town in Missouri.  ha!  It doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot to see or do in Mexico, MO … except Homestead Hearth, my very most favorite quilt shop.  It’s a little more than a 2-hour drive, so I don’t get there as often as I’d like … a fact for which my budget is thankful.


I went searching for some blues and reds for the BOM being put on by the handquilting group on Facebook and for some fabrics for sashing and borders for the blocks I was gifted back in February.

I remembered to take some samples of the red and blue I used in April’s block … but I completely forgot to pick up the gifted blocks.  Surprised smile  When I mentioned that I’d forgotten the blocks, the gal who was helping me steered me to the black, advising that black is often a good choice for scrappy repros and suggested that the cheddar would make delightful cornerstones.  I just loved the fabrics … I haven’t had time to audition them with the blocks, but even if they don’t work, I’m not worried.  Worst case scenario, I use the fabric somewhere else *and* I have an excuse to make another trip over to Homestead Hearth!  Winking smile  I also picked up a package of some Hiroshima handquilting needles … I’d been reading so much about them that I decided I’d like to give them a try.  Alas, they aren’t working for me … after a couple of hours of quilting with one after we got home that afternoon, the needle had already begun to bend.  I really liked quilting with that needle … it glided through the fabric so easily, but those needles are a little on the pricey side … they would have been worth the price had they not bent.  So back to my John James.  And as you can see, I picked up another couple of fat quarters of neutrals … I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many neutrals. 


On the way home from Homestead Hearth, we stopped at our favorite restaurant – Zia’s on the Hill in St. Louis.  I should have stopped after the salad, but when they brought my entrĂ©e (seafood ravioli), I just had to have a little … and the rest went home with us.  Gotta love getting two meals out of one. 



Wednesday through Friday found me spending my days at DD’s.  Her former step mom (with whom she’s still very close) was hospitalized, so I reported for duty at 6:30AM before DSIL left for work and was relieved at 6:00PM when he got home.  It meant for some long, exhausting days … but I loved every single minute. 


While I was at DD’s Wednesday, DH was “in charge” of our mantel makeover.  For the longest time, I was wanting to do something to that wall or the fireplace to make it pop, to make it more of a focal point of our great room.  I had decided that when it came time to have our great room repainted, I would have that wall painted a darker shade … to provide more contrast with the granite surround.  All of a sudden, about a month ago, I realized that we could really add some interest to the fireplace by adding an entire new mantel.  Here is the before:


If you can’t tell, the wall the fireplace is on is an angled wall.  Nice, but nothing special … maybe even a little boring?  And here’s the after:


Yes, the framed photo (of our favorite beach) needs to be moved up. 


I’m thinking that today is going to be a fairly lazy day here at Chez Nana.  I have a pie to bake – for tonight’s swim team end-of-season banquet.   Otherwise, I have nothing on the agenda, and that’s just fine in my book.  Not only will it allow me to “recuperate” from my busy week … it’ll allow me to reacquaint myself with my needle and thread.  The Blues play Game 2 this afternoon, and I’m planning on quilting while I watch the game … hopefully with a better outcome than Game 1.     Next week looks to be just as busy as this week, so I’d better take advantage of this time to crash.  Winking smile


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