Thursday, December 24, 2015

Stolen Moments, Guilty Pleasures

Christmas Season 2015 has been much slower paced and more laid back than many in our past.  Our holiday visitors from Wisconsin are staying in their own RV and spending lots of time resting up in anticipation of the rest of the trip to South Texas next week.  Our celebration with the grands will be Saturday at their house.  So, I’ve been able to steal more moments for stitching this week than usual, but it still makes me feel a little bit guilty. 

I’m now taking a break from sewing strips of paper pieced triangle squares.  Instead, I’m joining some of the strips I’ve already made into blocks.  It’s still mindless sewing, and very soothing.  Occasionally I come across a strip with an oops like the one above.  Maybe I was just a little too mindless when making that one.

To any who may read this post, I wish you a Merry Christmas.  I hope whatever way you choose to celebrate the season brings you joy and serenity.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I'm definitely struggling with a seasonal slump here.  So, it was with great relief when last night I put the last hand stitch into this small applique piece representing Texas Bluebonnets.  I need to rinse out the glue basting this afternoon and then it will hang in the closet with other projects waiting for quilting.  I’m glad to have reached this point.  It’s one less project haunting me.  My next handwork project will be getting to this stage on my hexagon quilt.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Back From The Coast

We spent last week on a trip to the Texas coast where I enjoyed a glorious week basking in the sound of the surf, long walks on the beach, and fabulous sea food. 

I even set up my Featherweight and stitched some triangle squares one blustery morning while Bob went on a fishing excursion on the bay.  I also continued working on my applique project.  My neck light and battery powered task light both came in very handy during the trip. 

For the most part I was pretty unplugged from the internet.  I could browse my favorite sites, but trying to comment using my mobile devices was problematic.  The reading list for the blogs I follow is so congested right now that I may choose to click the “mark all as read” option and start over from scratch.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

More Prepping and My Big Birthday Splurge

Today has been the quiet before our storm.  We will celebrate Thanksgiving Friday when Julia, two boys and one dog join us.  I carved out a few minutes to do some more prep work on my applique project as I don’t expect to be doing much machine work for a while.  I still have some more petals to prep and glue baste to the second stem, but I should have enough to keep me busy for a while.

…and yesterday my big birthday splurge arrived.  I unboxed it today rather than wait until “my” day on Saturday while we still have company.  Yep, it’s an Accuquilt Go.  They are on sale right now and I made the plunge.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Company Expected

We are expecting the grand kids later this week so this has been a day for housekeeping and clearing out the sewing room to make room for air mattresses.  We are well on our way to being ready for Thanksgiving which is a good thing because the grocery store is already a madhouse.  The only machine work I’ll probably be able to do this week will be tomorrow when I join my friends for our regular Tuesday sewing group.  It will be interesting to see how many regulars make it.

I decided to take a break from paper piecing long enough to make one potholder.  I’m still struggling with how to machine finish the binding on these little projects.  Wanda has some tips on how she finishes her mug rugs that help, but I’m just haven’t gotten to a point where I’m happy with my results.  Part of the problem may be that I use recycled terry cloth for the filler and that makes the thickness vary from potholder to potholder. 

We are expecting rain later this week, but for now the weather is brisk and sunny.  The dogs are at the fence begging for treats from the golfers.

Friday, November 20, 2015

It’s been a fun week with hubby and his hunting partner coming into town to take me to dinner one evening and the quilt club’s annual party.  The weather has been near perfect and I’ve even managed to dig around in the flower beds.  …and since it’s my birthday month, I’ve had an excuse for some indulgences. 

Every so often Wanda will list items for sale in her blog shop, Wandaful Quilts.  I couldn’t resist picking up these cuts from her prodigious stash of batiks.
This little scissor case was a gift from a neighbor who recently returned from a long cruise with lots of at-sea days.  She filled the time doing needlepoint projects and thoughtfully let me choose one.  I added the lanyard and my favorite embroidery scissors.  They will come in handy when I meet with my applique group.  The picture also shows my current applique project.  It’s taking forever, but I did manage to prep some more petals on one of the stems. 

Lately I’ve been listening to The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  I’m half way through it and am really enjoying the story about nine American boys who competed in the 1936 Olympics.  I feel like I’m getting to know these young men personally and I had no idea how complicated rowing a boat competitively is.  The story line contains lots of technical details, and I think I’m enjoying it more as a “listen” than a “read.”  I am so grateful my local library offers this kind of service.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

This and That...

I did make it to the “Club House” yesterday to spend a few hours sewing with my friends.  I have my vintage Singer 404 set up there and have found it to be a great machine for paper piecing.  I have really been enjoying it.  I was working on more triangle square strips for Sue Garman’s Good Golly quilt.  I think the pattern calls for something in excess of 280 of these strips and I have a lot left to do.

This is my birthday month and I am allowing myself some indulgences along the way.  I found this Kaffe Fasset book from a used book dealer on Amazon.  When we were preparing to move back to Texas 9 years ago, I thinned out my library selling online and am always willing to help out other used book dealers when I see something I don’t want to purchase in electronic form.  This book has some gorgeous quilts.

I made time this afternoon wrap the outside faucets.  No freezes are predicted in the long range forecast, but this year I don’t want to wait until it’s miserably cold to get that chore done.  And while the weather is pleasantly cool, I’m also tidying up the yard including attacking weeds in the flower beds and trimming up the rose bush and other shrubs. 

Like so many others, I am heart sick over yesterday’s brutal attacks in Paris.  I just keeping praying, stitching, trimming, and pressing trying to reclaim my serenity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Of Triangle Squares, Rain and Kittens

I had to skip sewing with friends Tuesday due to a kitten event.  Whose heart wouldn’t melt looking at this sweet face? 

Monday morning my dogs alerted to this little fellow and at least one other sibling hiding under bushes in our flower bed.  I was afraid they had either lost their mother or had been abandoned.  My fear increased even more when Tuesday morning I entered the garage to load up my sewing supplies and discovered two of them had spent the night there.  After calls to Animal Control for a live trap, trips to the store for litter and kitten chow and repeated glimpses of them scurrying behind the water heater I was afraid I was in the kitten business.

Fortunately for all concerned, Mama Cat showed up shortly after dark and the two youngsters dashed out of the garage as soon as I raised the door.  The little family was reunited and I was most relieved. 

Maybe I can join the group for sewing on Friday.  I really miss it when a week goes by and I don’t get to join my friends.

My stack of paper pieced triangle squares keeps on growing.  I will need to make 48 six-inch blocks from these, so I have a lot more to do. 

We continue to have periodic rain events, and so far no serious flooding in our immediate area.  Since I last posted, we have received .75 inches in town and .95 at the ranch.  Yay!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Working But Little to Show

One of several reasons I began blogging in 2010 was it seemed to be the easiest way to keep a journal of my quilting journey.  Sometimes, though, when I’m doing repetitive piecing, it’s difficult to figure out a way to log it.  That is where I’m at, and will continue to be for a good while, on my Sue Garman “Good Golly” project.  Even though paper piecing a bazillion triangle squares is monotonous, I find it very soothing and have been enjoying the process.  I know I’ll reach a point where I have to set it aside and get some variety in my life, but until then I’ll continue.  Here are some of the triangle square strips that I’ve been working on.  They will be joined into 6 inch squares.

Since I last blogged, we have enjoyed a series of rain events and recorded an accumulated 6.61 inches.  Unlike the areas to our east and south which are still dealing with floods, the rain we received mostly soaked into the ground.  It wasn’t until Friday that the ground became so saturated that we had really good run off.  All the ponds in our neighborhood, including the one closest to our house, are overflowing.  My grandmother always said that in order to have pretty bluebonnets in April we needed rain in October and this year we got it.

I continue to purge through my collection of books reminding myself all the while, that if I donate them to a thrift store where they can be put back into circulation, I am not wasting them.  Every time I get my hands on a good box, I go to work again, and I think I’m closing in on what I’m ready to get rid of.  

These two old cookbooks I’ll hold on to for just a while longer, though.  One contained a menu written out by an aunt.  And I had to smile when I read this comment by the author from a recipe for Dutch Apple Pie:  “2 quarts apples, quartered.  The apples are important:  Greenings, August and fall; Winesaps or Rome Beauties during the winter months; Green Transparents in June and July.  You have no business having this pie in the spring.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Found" Time for Quilting and Sewing!

To my great relief, I was not assigned to a jury Monday.  It was largely a matter of luck.  They needed 12 jurors and one alternate.  I was number 51 on the qualified panel, and all the positions were filled before they got that high.  Based on what little they could tell us about the case at that stage of the process plus what I learned by searching online for information later, I know it would have been a very difficult case to hear.

So, I was able to sew with my Tuesday group and continue working on my Sue Garman project.  Today, after the Quilt Club meeting, I stayed a couple of hours to help stuff and stitch up neck pillows.  These will be for sale in our February quilt show’s boutique.  We ran out of the stuffing so I brought several home to finish. 

I also handed in my anti-ouch pouches for the month.  I finished two more bringing my 2015 total to 102.  I picked up some more kits to make, but probably won’t hand them in until our January meeting.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Need" Had Nothing To Do With It

It’s no secret that I love using vintage straight stitch machines when piecing, and I already had three such machines (two 301s and a Featherweight) in my “herd.”  I just think these old machines produce a very pretty straight stitch, and with their narrower feed dogs I get better quarter-inch seams.  Recently Bonnie Hunter started touting the virtues of the old Singer 404s, so when I had an opportunity to acquire one at a reasonable cost Friday, I caved.  Here she is. 

She sews fast and has lots of power.  I really like the way she handles and was pleasantly surprised to see that, like the 301 and Featherweight, she has an aluminum body making her lighter than the all steel machines.  What I like best about her is that her bobbins hold more thread than my Featherweight or 301’s bobbins.  And I wasn’t entirely bad; I worked a trade for the 301 that I didn’t use, so at least the herd didn’t grow.  I think I’ll leave this one at the “Club House.”  

Between my Tuesday regular sewing with friends day, the monthly applique gathering and a last minute decision to join in on the group Friday, I had the fun of sewing with quilting friends three times last week.  Good thing.  I’m to report for jury duty early Monday morning and may not have an opportunity to join the fun this week.  We’ll see.  I kept hoping that all pending cases would plea bargain out, but the message at the call in center said we had to come in.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015


After I finished adding the borders to Texas Tumbleweeds yesterday, I decided it was time to finish the last 8 anti-ouch pouches so I could complete my 2015 goal of making 100.  I have a few more kits and may or may not get some more completed for this month’s quilt club meeting.  Time to play!

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Flimsy and Some Task Completions

Texas Tumbleweeds, a Bonnie Hunter pattern I started at a workshop in February, is a flimsy and I can add it to those waiting for their turn for quilting.  I really liked making this pattern and it did help me bust some stash.  It's from Bonnie's book More Adventures With Leaders and Enders.

In August I posted about a broken window.  Wednesday its replacement was finally installed.  It was quite the adventure as the installers broke three replacement panes before successfully setting this one.  We ended up having to brutally chop back a shrub in order to make it easier for the workers to get to the opening.  I’m not sure who was more relieved to see this task completed.  I strongly suspect the glass company lost money on this job.

Our bottle bush has started blooming again.  It likes our milder temperatures these days.

For the better part of two weeks, my mind has been consumed with making health care decisions relative to my birthday next month and the loss of my company sponsored retiree benefits.  To this point my decisions had always been straight forward no-brainers, and this turned into a time of information overload.  Fortunately, I was able to tap into some community resources to help me understand my choices and yesterday I finally closed in on my last decision.  Now I am in wait mode for confirmation from the various companies and agencies involved.  With that chore done, maybe I can resume quilting with a clear conscience and less muddled thoughts.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming...sigh...

After four delightful days and nights with quilting friends on retreat, I am gradually reentering the real world.  You know, the world of cooking my own meals, no desserts, and doctor’s scales…that world.  Nonetheless, I’m glad to be home with hubby and the dogs.  I made Friday a recovery and reentry day with a very long nap built into the afternoon schedule.

Our first Quilt Club retreat had 28 participants at the Compass Centre in Mt. Calm, Texas.  The center was designed for quilters by a quilter and is run by quilters, so you know it had to be good.  We had spacious, L shaped work stations that made it easy to spread out our work.  I took my 63 year old Singer 301 and she held her own among some mighty fine new machines!

We also had acres and acres of design wall space, but my little blocks were so small, I used very little of it. This paper pieced Sue Garman project is going to keep me busy a very long time!

Every day, sometimes twice a day, we were visited by the “quilt fairy” and everyone won a door prize.  The loot I brought home (some purchased, but mostly gifted) including my blocks and an emptied spool is below.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Getting Ready for the Retreat

I have been a cutting fool this past week as I prepare to leave for a retreat later today!

…The trimmings…

…The sewing related stuff…and this doesn’t include my suitcase….Good thing my friend has a big car and there are only two of us…

I also managed to finish four more anti-ouch pouches for the month.  This brings my total for 2015 to 92.