Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fill-In # 187

Friday Fill-In's once again. Answers are in bold.

1. I'm going to finish embroidering the wings on this angel before I go to work . . . I really am. They are lovely and ridged but the stitching is very dense and I can't get more than a few hundred stitches done without the thread shredding. I've used all my tricks . . . good thread, Q foot, slow speed, firm stabilizer . . . and it's still slow going. I know that once I get past the wings it will be smooth stitching. And in the meantime, I'm going to unclog the bathtub drain. That's my life this morning.

2. I could use a little adventure and daring. I used to be much better at it. Now I can actually feel myself holding back and I don't like it. And for what? Conserving energy? Trying to be safe because I've had several big changes in the past few years?

3. Perhaps today you can make it a point to help someone else feel a little better. A little "touch." A card, some cookies, a kind word, loving energy. Just be sure to give a little to yourself too.

4. Who do I know who has a true adventurer's spirit? My friend Jess comes to mind. Hey, Jess, if you're there, I admire your spirit.

5. Compassion is a deliberate slowing down to listen and think. It's energy out. I don't think it's the default setting for most of us.

6. I need to make some changes in my living space no matter how difficult. More color. Little updates. Taking off my interior doors and sanding them down, painting with Kilz, then white, and rehanging them. One at a time. None of what I have in mind is physically difficult, really, the difficulty comes in commiting to do it and and allocating the time. Or, maybe changing living space represents other changes. Now we're getting somewhere.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing my bag, tomorrow my plans include working, and Sunday I want to breathe a lot. Just breathe.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


My young neighbor across the street has a birthday today, she's sixteen. Her friends visited last night and decorated her yard. It strikes me as such a carefree thing, to have as top priority to stay up late at night and carry out a surprise like this. I think I need more carefree in my life. Her birthday plans include being at the Drivers License Bureau at noon, when the written testing starts, so she can have her learner's permit just as quickly as possible.

Below is the accessory bag that goes with the Martha Pullen laptop cozy. It's 6" x 10", lined with gingham and soft with batting, large enough for a mouse and peripheral cables. I had just enough lime green piping, left over from some other project, to finish the little bag.

I really like piping and the clear piping foot is one of my favorites. (I know, I say that about every foot.) Good thing I like it because my current project, a carry-all bag calls for 220" of piping. That's more than 6 yards and just doesn't sound right. I thought about doing some preliminary measuring to see if that requirement is correct but decided against it. If I don't need that much, I'll have extra luscious handmade piping that will be just right for something else.

If you like pretty handmade things, check out my friend Holly's new blog . Holly is a wonderfully creative and talented quilter and sewer and her latest post has some ever-so-pretty baby things. I can't wait to see what she'll post next.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blue Day

It was a day for finishing blue projects.

It's been too long since Nora has had a new Gran B dress, and this gathered panel was so easy. Serge up the back, turn up the hem, and add ribbons to tie at the shoulders. Done. Of course, it took a month from serge to ties.

This postcard was for a birthday exchange. I can't remember why I had the piece of embroidery that shows up in the laptop cozy below. Maybe I skipped the first bit of embroidery and had to start over again. The piece of piping was from that project too.

The soft laptop cozy is a work project, a Martha Pullen design that I made with hand-dyed blue fabric and blue gingham. For some reason, it took me a couple of tries, well, maybe three, to get it together right, but here it is.

And the last blue - I started this tote during Kids Kamp to show the kids the steps. All it needed was the binding. It's my variation of McCalls 6130, with a water bottle pocket in the side instead of their pocket. They say it's a 60-minute project and it actually is, not for kids who are learning but easily for experienced sewers.

I love finishing projects and picking up a bit. Since I've been sewing downstairs during this heat, I had things everywhere. I went to the post office and sent off a bag, postcard, and baby bib. A good day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Last Holdout

Lots of folks around here are stitching out this Anita Goodesign Seeing Double table topper, but for a long time I decided to sit this one out. It seemed like a lot of stitching and cutting, and I had other things to do. Finally, though, I decided to give it a try.

The nice thing is that it's embroidered in the hoop, which means that all the quilting is done for you and when it's done . . . well, it's done. I stitched a panel here and there when I was around my embroidery machine and as it went together it got more and more fun.

The really nice thing, though, is that it's reversible, so when you flip it over you can have something entirely different.

I did mine in summer fabrics, but you could do fall/Halloween, Christmas/Valentine's or whatever you want. The only thing that needs to coordinate is that the thread color needs to be the same for top and bottom. And it does use a lot of thead. I went through an entire spool of the large 1500 yard Sulky.

The diameter is 26". I think this is going to be my go-to for wedding presents and maybe even for Christmas gifts this year. It's that pretty.

Early this morning I set up my machine for the center design and went outside to mow the yard. We had several days of heat combined with rain and the grass took off. It's been several days now with heat but no rain and I noticed that several of my plants are drooping. Watering next.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Time and This Place

I was going to quilt guild with a friend and we stopped at her son's house. This was the house next door, and I was struck by the garden, with its stone work and its exuberance. Very pretty neighborhood - you should have seen the house across the street, like a small castle.

It's a good time for gardens. Really hot, but really rainy too. I don't think I've had such a nice garden since the Aberdeen days. Our water came from deep wells and there was a flat $10 monthly charge. I didn't have an appreciation then for conserving water - that was 25 years ago - and I remember one summer when I'd run the sprinkler all night on my little front yard garden. It was the prettiest garden I've had - until this summer. This is the first year for this garden, but it's filling in fast. I love to go out in the morning and see what's been happening overnight.

Some of my facebook friends were talking about Graeter's ice cream and one likes buckeye blitz. I usually have the sorbet but decided to order the blitz, with chocolate ice cream and peanut butter cookie dough and Graeter's chocolate chunks. Oh, my. Memorable, and it just seemed like summer. This particular Graeter's does a bigger drive-through business than walk-up, but I like the one in Steph's neighborhood, with all the seats full and people sitting outside too. I need to take Nora and Aaron again soon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Overnight Guests

Nora and Aaron spent the night with me last night while Steph and Helen had a sleepover just down the street at Bridget's. It was way late, with way too much popcorn, when Aaron finally crashed. Aaron stays up with the best of them, then suddenly says, "I'm tired" and that's it for him. His little stuffie Harry went to bed with him.

Nora was good for a little longer, then she went to sleep with Raggedy Ann by her side.

Nora was first up this morning and she crawled in bed with me and looked at a quilt magazine, admiring colors and designs.

I hope that when she's older she will remember a Sunday morning with Gran B, looking at a quilt magazine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Time and This Place

This is the first okra blossom I've seen in my garden. Obviously there have been others, because there are two okra veggies on the plant. I'm not especially a fan of okra, although I like it, but I really like the bloom.

I've been quiet all week since I've been super busy teaching six girls to sew. My only project for myself was this bag, and it was from a kit at that, at least in the sense that the fabric and instructions were packaged together. The pink wasn't with the package but I liked it better than the green stripe-y fabric that was. The green stripe-y stuff was also the other side of the quilted fabric, and it does make a neat lining.

The monogram needed a little touching up with more dots. When the software recommends a range of sizes for a particular font, it's a very good idea to stay within that range. Enough said.

Last night was a lovely night to sit outside and listen to the fireworks that happen after the ballgame when the Reds are in town, and they were, and they won. I had some lovely cherries to eat and the pre-rain breeze was perfect. I wished, just for an instant, that I'd gone down to the riverfront, but really, sitting on my porch was just right.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Post Ecovillage

Three years out from the Ecovillage and I feel a little guilty.

I use the dryer sometimes, although not for heavy things like t shirts and sweatshirts. If I'd just get a good drying rack that would take care of most of the rest, but I haven't.

I have an energy-efficient furnace and a new water heater, but the only appliances with an energy star are the freezer and dishwasher. If I'd have researched the water heater ahead of time, I might have gone with an on-demand model, but there was water all over the floor and I felt like I needed it right then.

Recycling vs. trash? Pretty good, about 50/50, although I'm wondering if Rumpke is going to miss picking up the recycling today, once again. I take short showers and don't use hot water for washing clothes. But, there's my fabric dyeing habit, and that takes lots of water.

My low-grade guilt feels a little better after getting a personalized data sheet from Duke Energy. For both electricity and gas, it shows that my usage is way on the low side for houses of similar size with one person.

Of course, there's always the matter of "do I really need a house this size?" and the answer is "no." I really love it, though, and still plan to use the second floor for an in-home business. Maybe I could get that drying rack and do just a little better.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


How could I not love this gift? A box of 24 spools of Robison Anton thread, my favorite, with no duplicates of what I already have? 24 spools!!! A real treasure, and what fun to add them to my thread shelves.

It's been a tired past couple of days, and I'm in the mood for little projects, so I made these little gift-ies. The tops to the pincushions have been on my sewing table for ages and really just took a few minutes to finish. The bib is from a new Anita Goodesign collection, done entirely in the hoop in no time at all. I can combine the bib and any name in my software. This one was for Baylee, the babe across the street.

And this was a birthday postcard. I don't even remember how I did the bird fabric, but it looks like I might have dipped a pencil eraser in bleach. We'll say that's what happened anyway.

I have a new exhaust system that I didn't expect when I started out to the fabric store this morning. I had just left, going slow in the parking lot, when the tail pipe broke, leaving the converter dragging along. Mike, bless him, wired it up with a coat hanger so I could get to the Car-X across the street. I am grateful for Mike, grateful that I wasn't on the interstate, grateful that it's fixed. Grateful that the converter didn't need to be replaced and it was a reasonably inexpensive fix.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fill-In # 184

After a few weeks off, it's time for Friday Fill-Ins. Answers are in bold.

1. Layers of fabric, batting, and stabilizer. I'm working on a new quilted project on the embroidery machine. Pretty mindless, just what I needed right now. And, it's's half done already.

2. Our cable company's called Insight. I get letters or postcards from them about once a week and someone came to my door last week. I wish they'd just leave me alone and stop wasting all that paper.

3. I'll be willing to bet that we have some rain today. Or maybe I'm just hoping. We did get rain last night, maybe some wind since one of the plants on my porch blew over. I heard nothing, was surprised to see wet sidewalks.

4. I don't have one, so nothing scares the dog. There is no dog food in my grocery cart and no squeak toys on my floor. And none in my future.

5. I'm fond of summer gardens, with something new to look at every day. Checking out the size of the tomatoes, looking at the squash plants poking out, admiring the flowers. Next winter I'm going to start plants inside - it's been several years since I've done that and I used to enjoy choosing just the right tomatoes and flowers.

6. Lately it seem like I've been complaining too much! Time to cut that out and be grateful instead.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to leaving work knowing I'll have three days off, tomorrow my plans include an early morning trip to Findlay Market, and Sunday I want to finish my embroidery project and do some early morning writing.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Last Bit

The last bit - Jack is doing his fly fishing on Helen's quilt. And the borders are quilted and bound. It's finished. (When I took the picture, the quilt was in the sun, it doesn't really look like there's sunlight.) Probably fly fisherman have a straight line coming off the pole, but I wanted a little artistic license.

The one remaining thing to do is to take some really good pictures for myself.

Monday, July 5, 2010

This Time and This Place

My hope is that by the end of October there will be two big pumpkins for Nora and Aaron. A bucket full of water every day, Miracle Grow, and Big Max seeds. Years ago, like maybe 20, I planted Big Max seeds and ended up with a huge pumpkin, so let's hope. And if the pumpkins aren't spectacular, the foliage should still fill in the first-year garden bed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bright Wasn't Right

I love brights, but they weren't right for Helen's quilt. I'm happy with this sashing fabric, will be happier yet with pretty quilting on it. Thanks, Steph, for your help. And yes, Nora has another pair of socks.

And I have a resolution: this is the last dyeing I'll do without measuring precisely and keeping a journal with swatches. I usually have a good idea of what I want and know how to get there, like a little surprise, and am content with one-time results. But the time has come to be able to replicate. I use just a few dye colors and mix from there. I think a loose-leaf binder with sheet protectors would be good, or index cards with swatches on the back.

Just finished a work project - Martha Pullen headband. I'm looking forward to using the scraps from the white wing needle background fabric, the thought of that kept me going. I recently got a clear piping foot and liked using it for this project.

Last night Steph, Mike, Nora, Aaron, and I went to Fort Thomas for their fireworks, or "the boom in the sky" as the kids call it. Those are my hands over Aaron's ears - he thought that helped with the noise.

Happy Fourth, everyone.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Bird Does Not Sing

A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song to sing.

Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Club. Hand-dyed fabrics, embroidery, and quilting.
I didn't enjoy this project until the free-motion quilting at the end, then I slipped into the groove so easily. And I like the finished result. Part of the problem, I think, was that I worked on it in bits and pieces and it seemed to take a very long time.
I orginally dyed the fabric for Helen's quilt - didn't work there but perfect here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Grandgirl's Socks

On a stop in Berea last September, I spotted some hand-dyed little girl's socks, very pretty, and wanted to make some for Nora. By the time I had purchased a package of socks, it was cool weather, not good for dyeing. When it warmed up this year, I put several pairs of socks in my dyeing batches, but they weren't quite right. The first pairs were nice but too solid, the next pairs had too much white and looked too tie-dyed. Finally, I've got it right. My plans are to put a pair in the various colors of dye that I'm using for other things. That girl will have LOTS of socks.

The socks above came from a batch for the borders of Helen's quilt. Once again, the first batches didn't look quite right (although just right for something else.) I think I can be happy with this, but I'm not sure whether the borders are too wide. And maybe the blue is too blue.

I'm just not sure. There may be more blue socks.