Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pushing back the walls

I have been my worst enemy here loading more and more on my plate and getting myself overwhelmed but I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and it is not the oncoming train that I thought it was.   Whew....I just had so many weekends with either travel or house quests.  Both things I love and enjoy.  There have been so many dinners, picnics, evenings out and obligations.  Then the rains came.  The yard suffered, the to-do list suffered.  And then I got overwhelmed.    I actually had 9 Blue Apron meals I had to freeze - multiply that by Mr. W. being away and I  was 18 meals behind.   Good thing Blue Apron is EZ-PZ to cancel a week.  (I celebrated two years with Blue Apron in June.   It is not for everyone but I love it.)   So I actually took my birthday off from work to catch up.   Some didn't understand why I didn't treat myself to a spa day or mani-pedi but I nurtured my inner me by checking a lot of things off my to-do list that were building up and overwhelming me so ultimately I was treating myself.   But enough......I am in a better frame of mind and that is all that matters.

I finally spread my last 5 bags of mulch this past week.   Yes, I should have been done but the garden bed in question is one I have let grow over the last several years.   It is at the back corner of the property and where I toss the extra Iris and Daffodil bulbs,  the extra lilies and wildflowers seeds for a meadow like bed.   The result was not meadow-like but over grown. It was long overdue for an overhaul and seeking out the time was the issue.   But I am happy to say I am 75% done the garden but better 100% done what I plan to do it this year.   This should be one of the last garden overhauls I need to do and from here forward will just be maintaining with mulching every spring.  Before I started to clean out the bed, the brick path was totally obscured.   These bricks were laid when our front steps that were demolished years ago when we added a front porch added.   More work and mulch is needed but for now I am putting fork in this one for 2017.    I still do have my secret garden project that I hope will turn out and will share come the fall if it does develop as I hope it will.

For stitching, I finally, yes finally, I have picked up Corsica River again.   I am not too much of a SAL leader with benching this project to two months.   I think it was part of the whole I am-too-overwhelmed-to-think-about-it phase I just went through.   Now that I have picked it up, I am enjoying it.  It has become my Monday-Friday morning stitch.   I know at about an hour a day I may never catch up.  Hopefully I will take this monster (36 inches wide) on a stitching retreat in the fall and make great progress.  And then there is Camp Wannasew in January where much can be accomplished!  

My Longaberger Apple Basket is close to finished and may be my focus today.   What remains is something I need to pay attention, lots of counting on the last three colors that are close to each other in  in color and then the top stitching.  This one doesn't suit for Thursday stitching group.

I picked up My Stitchers Heart by Cathy Haberman of Hands On Design to start as my take along piece.   I feel in love with the simplicity of this and the beautiful colors the first time I saw it.   I was quick to contact Elegant Stitch and get on the list for this limited edition stitch.

This is the back - with a doggie theme for him.
I have also been working on 'the anaconda' aka my son's quilt re-do.   It was his childhood quilt that I made when he was about 5.  He requested I remake it queen sized.   The re-made quilt top has been done for awhile.   The quilting part has been started and stopped.   I actually bent my machine (the whole shaft part that holds the needle) to the tune of a $170  repair so the quilt has sat for more time than I care to acknowledge.     My mission is to sew one (or two) quilting lines a day until I can get the binding attached and take up the hand sewing to complete it.  The central portion s quilted.  I only have the border on four sides to quilt.   I think I may have to spread this on the driveway to lay it out smooth and spray baste the next section to quilt.  I had originally thought I could finish by son's next visit in late August.   I have revisited that and now have a goal of Christmas because I am all about no pressure.
The front is R-W-B and the binding is ready to add.
My daughter snagged this Standard sewing machine for me from a friend who had several old machines in cabinets to get rid of.   For now it is making an excellent plant stand for my orchids which might I add by my-green-thumb-self are still blooming since March!  They must like this spot.    The machine works while hand cracking but needs a belt for the treadle.  I don't think I will electrify it; I think I may leave it as it is.   This is a project I will pursue once retired.  

Yesterday I spent the day in Philly with No. 1 daughter.   My daughters gave me a serger for my birthday.   I had thought about one before but then convinced myself I didn't need one.   When they were both here over the 4th, they were using one and my interest was piqued.   And they noticed.  So for me and my inaugural plunge into serging, I took my entire stash of linen with me and worked on serging the edges.   Wow, that is a crazy amount of linen and that is the  pile before I was done.  I used to just zig-zag the edges with my regular sewing machine but like the merged edges better.

We also worked on yet another secret project that I can only share limited details as the final products will be gifts for stitching friends.    I had a bunch of little motifs that were stitched and didn't know what to do with them.   All those smaller motifs stitched that lay languishing in a basket.   I bought coordinating fat quarters and started making project bags.   It was not without trial and error.  There are many tutorials out there on You Tube which helped but I wanted a zipper on the front and not at the top and I didn't want a velcro closure so we had to adapt.  Here's a snippet of the first two I have finished.   Refinements will continue.

Some of the fat quarter pairings I have for future project bags.
And on top of all this, I taught a class at my EGA Chapter.   I thought I might throw up on my ride there but I talked myself in from the ledge, had a lifesaver and did relaxation breathing.  I am a more of a behind the curtain person than a center stage person.    It all worked out great.   We did three Christmas in July projects.   I made the kits and did the instructions for the Gingerbread Boy and Girl.   They were stitched on switchable cork from DMC.   That was something new for all of us.  

Thanks for stopping by and bearing with me and my (once) overwhelmed self.  I am off to stitch the day away on my deck!  I hope to post more often with less War and Peace like length!   Keep on stitching.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Another Drive-by

Quick, super quick, update on progress.....  soon to cross off the WIP list.   This is part of my 2017 Challenge - complete projects started before 2017 and never finished.

 Of course, I can't wait until all the cross stitching is completed to start the back stitch.  I like how the design *pops* when the backstitching is in place.

I hope to get back to working on Corsica River this week.   I just having been in the mood to stitch on  that piece lately.   I've got a long list of things I need to get done and maybe like that list, Corsica River too seems to be insurmountable.......well, how do we make that long step at a time.   I'm off to taking one step at a time and to hopefully cross a task or two or ten off my to-do list.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fourth of July, Part Two

I need to add a disclaimer.....we started on Friday and finished on Wednesday morning......we aren't that feverish to be able to turn out ALL that we did in just a normal weekend.  It was an extended weekend.

Also, my table top quilt is so far from perfect.   As we say, from the top of the bridge, my table topper may look alright.  I worry not.  Sharon at MoosecraftUSA , reminded me in a reply to a comment......I quilt for me.   It will never be in a competition.   My mistakes keep me humble and help me strive to be better.   As with every project I start - cross stitch, quilting or otherwise - it is my intention - the key word being intention, to complete the project without mistakes.   I sometimes get farther then other times.

So to that end.....a closer look at some of my corners on my quilt met

while others did not.  

Saturday night my son-in-law came in from outside to see what we were up to.   We had actually just stopped and we were all standing around the table.   He questioned,  "You broke crafting?" in the same disbelief and astonishment someone would say if you were to break the top secret code for launch missile sequences.    "No, Miki, we are only stopping to take a swim."   So fortunate he gets it.

Monday evening I left my daughters for some alone time without mom while I went out for a couple hours to visit friends that were visiting from out of town.  I was fearful of what my daughters might do.  Nothing bad but playful things.  Like putting confetti on the ceiling fan so when I turn it on it goes everywhere; or, putting balloons in the closets so I open the doors and out they fall; or setting the timer on my Amazon Alexa to go off at 3 a.m. playing the William Tell Overture; maybe short sheeting the see my reluctance was warranted.   I don't know where they get this from ((wink wink)) I came home and  all was quiet and dark.  Someone what in the shower but the other two were nowhere to be  seen.   I was waiting for someone to jump out at me........and then I saw it.......they made me a new ironing board cover.   You know how your's gets nasty from water spots, or you press iron-on interfacing on the wrong side?   Well this is something that I always forget to they made one.   Heather was given a stack of older flat sheets and was planning to sew PJ bottoms out of them.   They took the print I liked and made the cover for me.   It feels great to run your hands over the well worn cotton sheeting.  And I was thinking bad things.   How dare I.

Amy adding her binding and hand sewed one side in place before she headed out today.   I am sure she will curl up in a chair at home tonight and finish it.

My new take-a-long stitching piece is an oldie but goodie.   It is from a trip to the Longaberger headquarters in 2002 or 2003.   I thought it was cute and it was a complete kit with buttons, backing and ribbon included.   Yes, cringe, it is on Aida, but it is part of my 2017 challenge to complete some WIP's.   It is actually working up fast and the large count will be easy to work on at work.

It is my eldest's birthday tomorrow so we also celebrated that over this weekend.    I wrapped her presents in new tea towels with squirrels and gnomes.........she left it, so I wrapper up again as a bindle and will email a photo of it tomorrow at 5 a.m. when I get up.   Hmmmm, apple/tree....I am seeing a correlation.

So my house and craft room look like a tornado has been through them.   So thankful I was wise enough to take the day after off.....time to attack the mess and see what else was left here until next time.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Fourth of July Weekend, Part One

Wow, what a lot of things we got done.   My daughters were both here for a long weekend.  This usually means fun, good food, laughter, some adult beverages and crafting.   This weekend did not disappoint.   Iron board at the ready and cutting table were set up for not stop use in the living room as we stitched in the dining room.

For whatever reason I have four or five bottles of Prosecco.....
so one morning we started with Mimosa's and the another is was Bellini's.   Everyone shared the tasks of prep, cooking and cleaning up; and it was glorious.  My son-in-law cooked our dinners on the grill on the nights he was with us.  Nasty thing called work had him back in the city as couple of times.  

But we got our crafting on in a big way.   I know I am so very blessed to have not only great daughters but great crafty daughters.
 A bit of silliness in the mess.  I enter the room to find they have each donned the portion of the pant legs Heather cut off when she hemmed her capris.   Ninja seamstresses I guess.

They started like gangbusters cranking out dress after dress, shirt after shirt.   They both participated in a Wardrobe in a Weekend in Vermont in May and they brought the lessons they learned.   I made them hang their accomplishments on the line so I could photograph them.  There were groans of "oh mother".

And there was more that was either being worn or packed in their suitcases already.    I love the whimsy Heather has to jazz up the pockets in her pants.

Some of Amy's finishes.   She pieced a pastel lap quilt with a camping theme.   (Since photographing, she has quilting and is now hand sewing on the binding as I type)   Next she added the border to the middle quilt as well as pieced a back for that quilt.   Lastly, she quilted an outdoors themed table runner that has insulated lining (like oven mitts) so she can put it on her glass topped picnic  table for placing hot food when camping.  The camping connection is because she has a 33 foot trailer on a site at a campground in New Hampshire where she spends most weekends.

Me, I started out much slower.   I am teaching an EGA Christmas in July class so I had to kit up everything.   This took the better part of a day!  My sympathy to class teachers and what they must go through.
I finished two patriotic pieces I stitched last summer as pillows.  I am kind of thinking about unstuffing and trimming down the blue portion by an inch or two.

Same with this guy.   Why did I make it so tall?    We shall see.   Maybe when I have a few free minutes with nothing on my to-do list and I will alter these.    Like that may happen anytime soon.  LOL

 I also worked on a  patriotic table topper.   The finished size is about 48 by 48 and I am glad to have this one out of my WIP basket.

 I quilted this by using diagonal rows of stitches every two inches from the corners in towards the center.   I left the center unstitched, traced a holiday dish and quilted stars in the center section.

I may tea stain this to give it an aged look.   For now, I just want to put it in place....that is after I de-construct my house-turned-sweatshop.
My next finish is my Mon Ami Pierre, A Stitcher's Notebook.   This is another WIP that I am glad to have finished/finished.

I plan to use this as an insert in my current project bag to keep all my tools and threads together.   I'd like to get a thread sorter/horn book type to insert and carry along.  I struggled with what fabric to use as a lining.   As soon as I told the gal at Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro, DE, that I like to have my quilts backed with something that is a surprise when you turn it over, she brought a bolt of batik.   I would have never thought to look at batik and it was the perfect choice.

All this not without a blister from all the hand stitching.   Guess I need to learn to use a thimble.   
Glad to have accomplished so much, thrilled for all the things we were able to complete, glad I have one more day off to get thinks back in order (craft room is a mess!!) but best of all happy for all the memories we made.  But there's more.....stay tuned for Part Two.