Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Wrap

A sweet friend sent me an email Friday that there was a big stash of Pyrex at the local Goodwill.  What a great tip!  

Unfortunately, I had not checked my email until right before starting a work shift, so I couldn't go there immediately.  As you might suppose, by the time I did make it there, it was crickets in the Pyrex department.  Nothing left.

But all was not lost.  In my quest to scour the shelves for any misplaced or wandering Pyrex, I found some other treasures, like this vintage picnic basket.

I'm typing "picnic basket" here, but in my head, I'm hearing a Yogi Bear voice say "pic-a-nic basket."  Also, "Mr. Forest Ranger, sir."  You too, now?  Sorry, Boo-Boo.

Classic cartoon references aside, I also found a couple cute metal recipe boxes.  One probably dates to the late 1950s or early '60s and the other one with the strawberry motif is probably late '70s, early '80s.

That makes four such boxes in my house...another collection, yikes!

I knew nothing about these vintage serving bowls except that I liked them.  There were two, and who am I to separate twins?  

They will be brimming with with freshly picked raspberries in the coming months, and green beans.  Not together, though.  You really do need two different bowls for that.

There was more sewing this weekend too, since the weather was deciding to be all cool, cloudy, damp, and April-like.  I just holed up in the sewing room and knocked out a couple more scrappy string rings.

I think this one is my favorite so far:

On second thought, maybe it's this one...

...or was it this one?

Okay, I really can't pick a favorite because they're all winners.  I'm halfway there—six more to go!

I also made a few more string blocks for the String Thing Along charity quilt that Brenda will be putting together.  These will go in the mail tomorrow morning.

What kind of trouble (or fun) did you get into this weekend?

Friday, April 27, 2012


I got back into the sewing room this week, cleared the debris from the space immediately around my machine and put some seams together.  Awhile later, I emerged with this recommendation:  Next time you're feeling irritable or out of sorts, make a binding.  It cures all manner of ills, trust me.

Scrappy binding for the H2H Quilt
A simple task like that is what you want when you're in one of those moods—something not at all complicated, but one that nudges your brain out of whatever gear its been spinning in.  I think you'll find that once you've finished pressing and winding the colorful yardage of your creation, you feel not only relaxed but productive and ready to move on.  It's true.  You can Google it.

(And what would those search terms be, I wonder?  The "I-hate-everything binding cure"?  How about "Zen finding by minding your binding"?)

What also helps is when the doctor says your husband's fractures have started to heal and he can get rid of the hip immobilizer and start to bear weight and do some PT.  This was our good news on Thursday.  Hopefully, by this time next month, he will only be using a cane or—why not aim high?—no assistive device at all.

Norm admitted to being a bit anxious about shedding the immobilizer at first.  I'm sure some people want to fling the thing out an upper window when they're done with it, but he actually felt secure and supported.  I imagine it's like having to wear the big elastic compression bandage around your midsection 24/7 after a C-section, and when you finally take it off, it feels like your guts are going to fall out on the floor.  Or maybe that was just me.

While I worked yesterday afternoon on the computer, I heard him chinking around the house on his crutches, testing his freed-up extremity minus the Storm Trooper getup.  And so far, so good. 

Beyond the binding—and I guess I've really been talking about different types here, but back to fabric—I went on to make another scrappy string ring (Dresden).  Oh, they're so fun!  Especially when working with some scraps from friends.  They all played nicely together.  

Sometimes I get a fleeting moment of hesitation as I put mint green next to olive next to grass green in these assemblages.  But then all I have to do is look out a window or simply recall our drive through the Wisconsin landscape on the way to the doctor Thursday.  It's spring here, and that means varying shades of green bursting forth, all mixing together beautifully, along with barn reds, silo whites, and gravel grays.  Even the sky is various shades of blue. It all works.

I'm linking up to the party at Sarah's today.  Check out the creative fun at Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Sundry 4-22-12

Let's pop the lid on another edition of Sunday Sundry, shall we?  It's been awhile.

Friends, I have spent a good deal of my spare time this past week trying to piece together something other than a quilt.

I've been doing some genealogy work, and it's led down some interesting trails, one that leads all the way back to the middle ages and a place called Shropshire in England.  Does anyone who reads this happen to live near there or have visited?  It looks like an entirely lovely place, there on the border of Wales.  Of course, things must have been somewhat less than lovely when the ancestor decided to shove off across the pond around the mid seventeenth century.

Whittington Castle, Shropshire (photo credit)
I have had some crazy dreams in the midst of this research.  One night, after clicking back and back and back and back on an ancestral line on the internet, I dreamed I was part of a relay team, but the hitch was that we had to run a 13-mile course backwards—as in literally running backwards.  If you turned around and ran any of it the normal way, you would be disqualified.  Speed was not as important in this race as was just doing it properly.  

Now, I am not a runner in waking life, never have been, but this navigating the course backwards thing?  I thought, I can do this!  In my dream, the other members of my team disappeared one by one, dropped out, or maybe got disqualified, I don't know.  As for me, I was into this running backwards thing and really putting the miles behind (in front of?) me.  It felt kind of...awesome.

But back in the here-and-now, in my non-REM hours, I am eager to move forward. On Monday, I am due to have a couple of relatives drop by who are also researching our family history.  The plan is to share what each of us has, and I am hoping to pass the baton, as it were, to the more willing and able.  This work is fascinating, but I'd rather be sewing and working on things for which the finish line is in sight.  First, though, I'm going to have to clean up the paperwork strewn across my sewing table, ironing board, and numerous other surfaces in the sewing room.  I can't even see my cutting mat at the moment, and that's a bit disturbing.

A pair of mallards dropped in for a visit.
It's been sort of cool and dreary this week, but the sun shone today and Norm and I needed to get out of the house.  We went for a drive to a Goodwill about a half hour away, where I spotted this. 

In all honesty, my first thought was that it was rather fugly, albeit in an interesting kind of way, which prompted me to turn it over and look for a mark.

Haeger!  I should have known.  It had a layer of schmutz and spider poo on it, but it cleaned up nicely, and now I think its true beauty shines through.  I mean, just look at that gorgeous glaze.  No, seriously, the glaze.  It'll take your mind off the stuff that looks like brain matter.

I thought it was perhaps a cookie jar, but on finding this grouping on flickr, it appears that it was part of a canister set.  I intend to look it up in one of my Haeger reference books, but that's another thing buried somewhere around here that I need to excavate.

I've also been in the mood to find some good, new (to me) music.  What are you listening to these days?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Green as a Mallard Head

I don't spend a lot of time being envious of anybody, especially my brothers, but I will admit that when I saw this picture, I was a little green.

L-R standing: My brother Darrell, Jase Robertson, brother Russ, nephew Nathan, niece Samantha; cousin Jason in front.
My brothers and a couple of their kids spent some time visiting family in Louisiana over spring break, and during that time, they got to meet Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty!

Jase is my favorite redneck. Of course, my brothers probably didn't know that, so they didn't even get me anything autographed.  Hrmph.

Have you seen this reality show on A&E?  I admit I watch it, and spend equal amounts of time laughing out loud as I do groaning and rolling my eyes.  I mean, good gravy (with squirrel on top).

Of course, it was my brothers who introduced me to the Duck Commanders on DVD a couple years ago.  Then I caught the show and got sucked in.

I haven't heard the full story firsthand, but I hear my cousin (first cousin once removed?) Jason knows the Robertson bunch and made the introduction.  Otherwise, they're not in the habit of meeting with the fans that may wander through their place in West Monroe, Louisiana.  How cool is that!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Forward then Reverse

I ground through a lot of gears last week, and I'm not even sure I know what that means because in real life, when it comes to cars, I'm shiftless.

At any rate, I wasn't idle.  Progress was made on the H2H charity quilt, for example.  I got the top sewn together.  Woot!

I also finished a backing for it, using leftover strips, scraps, and trimmings.  What strings I have left may become the binding, if they're wide and long enough.  If not, I'll proceed to plan B, or plan M, as it were.  Daughter M. thinks a navy blue solid binding would be nice.  I can see that.

Someone asked me the names of these fabrics, and I wish I knew.  They were in a boxed quilt kit from JoAnn Fabrics, but I actually found the kit, along with another one, at Goodwill.  They were all decent quality fabrics and seemed to play together well, despite the various different prints.  

As mentioned previously, I used the nine-patch lattice quilt pattern at Oh, Fransson! but made it a couple rows wider/longer.  Mine measures 53 x 68.

Here Come The Judge
Norm needed a break from the routine of sitting around waiting for his fractures to heal, so we ventured to a couple of thrifts a town or two over.  Thrift stores are about the right size for him to amble around on crutches without getting too pooped.  He thought he might be able to do the Super Walm@rt, but I knew that'd be too much at this point, unless he rode the rider cart there, which he refused (can't blame him).

So a-thrift shopping we did go.  At the first little store, there was an sweet ride parked outside.  I remarked to the checker at the register what a cool looking old muscle car that was, and she said, "You mean my car?"  

It was her car!  They were short a vehicle so she had to take the collector car to work.  Gee, that never happens at our house.

I asked if it had been restored and the answer was a surprising no (this is, after all, the Rust Belt).  It is original (except the tires, of course), and they have owned it since 1972.  It is a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge.  I asked her if I could take some pictures on my way out, and she said to go ahead.

At the second store, Norm pointed out an old guitar, and we both immediately thought of the John Hiatt song, Perfectly Good Guitar.  "Here's your chance, Paulette," he said, "a Harmony with a crack."

Which is what we were looking at, but that wasn't quite right, as far as the lyrics go.  

It started back in 1963
His momma wouldn't buy him that new red Harmony
He settled for a Sunburst with a crack
But he's still trying to break his momma's back

Oh, it breaks my heart to see those stars 
Smashing a perfectly good guitar...

Anyway, I knew what he meant and it was funny just the same.  Wonder how it sounded?  I wasn't going to ask someone to climb seven feet up onto that shelf to fetch it down.

What I did find was a rust brown Steubenville Woodfield plate for 50 cents and some fascinating gargoyle postcards for five cents apiece.  I'm planning to frame some of them to display come Halloween. 

Back before I got the quilting bug, I was into genealogy.  One of my shirttail relatives recently asked about a branch of my dad's family he was starting to explore, and I said I would haul out my research and tell him what I knew.

And there went Sunday afternoon and evening.

My great-great-grandfather James Henry Owen c. 1900.  Deeds date to 1850s.
I had forgotten two things (which reminds me of another John Hiatt song*):  (1) how much I enjoy genealogy and (2) how fast the time swirls down the drain as you're pondering the minutiae.  Wow.

Now there's only two things in life,
but I forget what they are.
It seems we're either hanging on a moonbeam's coattails
or wishing on stars...

*Buffalo River Home, by John Hiatt

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's on YOUR Bed?

That was the question posed by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville a few days ago, with an invitation to link up and show everyone.  It just so happens that I have a Chunky Churndash quilt from one of her free patterns on my bed!

I originally blogged about finishing this quilt here.  In the meantime, different quilts have seen rotation, but a couple weeks ago, I put this one back on.  Spring has sprung, but it's still been pretty chilly at night.

It's a fairly small bedroom with the queen bed taking up most of the space.  Kind of hard to photograph the quilt, but if I stood in the very corners of the room, I could get most of it in frame.  And no, I don't have a headboard on this bed because that's how I roll (translation: I haven't bothered to buy one yet).  I do use pillows, however, usually three or four of them at a time!

Anyway, what I love about this quilt is the super scrappiness of it, and the memories those scraps bring to mind.  I used a lot of my late mother's scraps, along with some of my own, but this was a few years ago when my fabric stash and scrap collection were smaller. There are a few vintage fabrics in there as well, and the narrow red first border is from a man's plaid shirt.

It all came together in a beautiful quilt that remains one of my all-time favorites!

Check out the other wonderful quilts at Bonnie's What's on YOUR Bed linky party!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Muggin' and Peepin'

It was necessary—necessary, I tell you—to go to the Goodwill store this morning.  Since I am making coffee every morning for the rehabbing hubs, it has come to my attention that he likes a certain type of coffee mug.  Hey, we all have our preferences.  That left a choice of two in our cupboards, one with the name of my former employer emblazoned across it and one with snowflakes on it, neither of which I particularly wanted to be reminded of first thing every morning.

So he needed some new mugs, is what I'm saying.  I found these.

The retro kite was cool and seemed appropriate for this time of year, but the singing cow really cracked me up!
The green and yellow floral is mine.  Not that I really needed a mug, but why not?  It's pretty and springy, and for 49 cents, you really can't go wrong.
My daughter and her boyfriend came for dinner Saturday evening.  She still looks forward to an Easter basket.  I also gave her the table topper/wall hanging she designed with some leftover HSTs, called A Patch of Sun.
Do you know how difficult it is to find Easter candy without dairy in it?  Thank goodness for jellybeans and Peeps and the marzipan egg.  The Reese Pieces were wishful thinking, as it turned out.  My geezer eyes got tired of reading the fine print list of ingredients before I made it to the very last word, which was MILK.  Oops.  Those went to her boyfriend.
Lucky for me, they make sugar-free Peeps!
M. helped me lay out the H2H quilt after dinner.  I'm loving this one!  I'm going to start sewing it together this afternoon.
As I trimmed the nine-patch squares, I put all my trimmings into a little dish.  It looked like a little nest when I got through.
This chick didn't last long enough to get too comfy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

From the Rabbit Hole

I'm popping out of the rabbit hole for a quick post on what I've been working on this week.

I am making a lattice quilt for this year's Hands2Help charity quilt challenge, using the Nine Patch Lattice Quilt tutorial at Oh, Fransson!.  I decided to make it a little bit bigger though, so it should be twin size instead of lap.

All my nine patches are made and I'm in the process of trimming them.  Pretty funky, no?

The background neutral is a tan.  I don't remember the exact name of the color, but it's one of about a half dozen similar "tans" I bought a few months ago when I was making a different quilt.  Downside of buying fabric online: Things don't always look like they do on your screen.  Upside:  More fabric to use later!

I also made a couple of string blocks for a String Block Challenge at the String Thing Along blog.  The idea was to use some "ugly" fabrics to make a block that will go into a charity quilt Brenda will be quilting.  I don't think all of these fabrics are ugly, but I did try to use a few less loved bits.

I don't know about you, but with everything else to keep up with and the holiday tomorrow, I'm bushed!

This was our pet rabbit, Thumper - such a sweet bunny!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a Happy Easter!