Friday, August 31, 2012

Border Dilemma

Okay, so maybe dilemma is too strong a word.  After all, the world doesn't turn on this border, and thank heavens for that. 

How about choices?  Here they are, in no particular order.  I've given them numbers simply to differentiate, no indication of preference.

Number 1 - inner purple/outer gray print:

Numero Uno
Number 2 - purple:

Numero Dos
Number 3 - inner blue/outer purple:

Numero Tres
Number 4 - blue:

Numero Quatro
What do you think?  Cast your vote or offer opinions, please!

By the way, I took off the word verification and set comment settings to registered users.  I hope that works out better.  So far, no weird spam (*crossing fingers*).  I find the word verification has gotten more and more difficult, which can be frustrating.  I thought it was my imagination or yet another sign of geezer eyes, but there was something about it on G4 yesterday that there is some rationale behind their appearing more difficult.  Did you know that was called a CAPTCHA?  Me neither...learned somethin' new.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I've spent some time playing this week.  I looked at the mess that is my sewing room and my very random stash, and...well, it overfloweth.  So I decided to pull some fabrics for a little quilt.  I actually began with some prissy little pastel prints, but who am I kidding, that is so not me.  I gravitated then to a rather eclectic mix, the stuff that makes my heart sing!

It included a couple of cool pieces gifted by a friend, some batiks and other lucky thrift store finds, and a piece via etsy from Jenny, who was paring down her stash.  The rest were leftovers from past projects.  Oh, and the lovely hand-dyed purple piece from Vicki!

So, a bit of this and that, but all of it pretty wonderful!  I enjoyed coming up with each of the pairings, but I really wasn't sure how well they would play together.  The cutting was easy-peasy, no template required.  Just 7-inch squares, stacked into pairs, sliced twice, reassembled, and trimmed to 6 inches.  The free pattern is here.  I happened upon it quite by accident—or serendipity!

And here it is laid out on the floor.  I do believe it works!

I had one more block which I threw together at the last minute, but it didn't seem to work in the body.  I have set it aside for now, but I may bring it back into the border.  We shall see!

Linking up today for the first time to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Welcome visitors!  Also, this is one of my "NewFOs" for August, so I am linking to Cat Patches as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Winner Time!

It's a few minutes before noon as I start this.  In about 20 minutes, I'll have my trusty assistant—that would be my hubby—draw the winner of (and from) the vintage sugar bowl and mini giveaway.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a photo of the baby quilt I made a couple months ago for my friend Kathy's daughter, who is expecting a baby girl in about a month.  Amy, the mom-to-be, has the new baby's room all decorated and ready to go, and she used my quilt as an inspiration piece for the colors of the baby's room.  Isn't that cool?!

"Some day I'll be a Super Hero," says the wall art.  I love it.

The wall color reads blue in the photo above, but it is actually turquoise or aqua, as can be seen in the crib photo. 

I love the raspberry and green accents.  And check out this shelf, which one of their friends made, and the cat was exploring.  Incredibly cool.

Okay, 12:01 says my clock...time for Norm to pick the winner (and me to snap and upload some pics of the process).  One moment please...

And the winner is....

Texas Jenny Wren!  Congratulations Jenny!  I will send you an email shortly!

Thank you all for for the lovely comments.  I wish I could make a mini for each of you.  Now I am off to listen to some live music on this lovely summer day.  Hope you are all enjoying a great weekend too!

Monday, August 20, 2012

From My House to Yours

Back when I worked in a cubicle, I didn't like Mondays.  These days, although I may complain about working on the weekend, Mondays are all right by me.  They're usually my slow day, until evening.  An anything goes kind of day, time to catch up on housework, reading, paying bills, errands, shopping Goodwill's 50% off sales, and, yes, sewing.

I finished this mini today, inspired by the vintage covered sugar bowl I found about a week ago at the thrift store.

Me and Juki Jane became reacquainted when it came time to quilting.  It was awkward at first.  I should have made a peace offering of some kind, blew the dust off her or at least given her a squirt of lube after all this time, but no. The P. did not stand for patience today.

It's no wonder she fussed and made big eyelashes on the back side on the first attempt at little curlicues.  She complained about the thread.  There was not enough tension, then too much.  And as for my part, I could not seem to settle into a rhythm with stitch length or speed.

(Flip side)
Still, we got the job done, compromising on a meander with standard thread.  I only sewed my Supreme Slider onto it once.  Nothing a seam ripper and a little Scotch tape (on the slider) couldn't fix.

Binding was uneventful, I am happy to report.  Nearly plum perfect, in fact.

Ah, home sweet home.  Where the heart is, the house, and the hedges, not to mention the horse, prancing up on the sugar bowl there.

You might not want to use it for sugar, but I'm thinking you could put almost anything in this little covered dish—jellybeans, buttons, jewelry, pocket change, love notes.  Maybe a little votive candle.  A hearth for the home.

You know, life is sweet.  I've been on the receiving end of much generosity and goodwill this past year, and I so appreciate the creative community, even though I've been somewhat sidelined and sidetracked lately with other things.  So with a case of the warm fuzzies (and I'm not talking about my mouth, which is a wee bit better lately, thanks), and as a small way to pay it forward...

I'd like to give this set away!   [Edited to add: Giveaway is now closed.]

That means the mini, which measures roughly 10 inches square, and the covered sugar bowl.  Simply leave a comment, telling me what you might put in this little dish, or any other sweet nothing you might want to say.  I will draw a winner on Saturday 8/25 at noon Central Time.

If you don't want to enter the giveaway but would like to leave a comment, just mention "no thanks" or "pass" or something so I know.

Please make sure your email address is linked to your comment profile, or type it out in your comment.  I need to be able to contact the winner by reply email or I will re-draw.

Thank you, and good luck!
August Finishes

Friday, August 17, 2012

Was It Something I Said?

Dudes...ladies...especially ladies.  As if being 50-something isn't already hard enough, what with hormonal changes and all the weirdness that comes with it.  Now come to find out there's more shit that can happen.

Like Burning Mouth Syndrome, which my doctor just diagnosed me with today.

Maybe it was all those naughty words.  Karma's a...well, you know.

I mean, we've all burned our tongues, right?  Which is what I thought a dozen or so days ago, though I could not remember a specific incident.  And it's an annoying feeling, but a burnt tongue heals and it goes away.  Except when it doesn't.  Then it continues to be annoying.  Like, possibly forever annoying.

What causes it?  Get this: Nobody knows for sure.  Could be stress (check).  Menopause or perimenopause (check).  Being female (check).  Anxiety or depression (I didn't think so, but maybe I'm in denial). 

So the pamphlet I brought home says, "One-half to two-thirds of patients will experience at least a partial improvement in symptoms within SIX to SEVEN YEARS [emphasis mine] after symptoms began.  A SMALL NUMBER will return to normal with no residual burning.  [For the others] symptoms tend to remain at about the same intensity."

I hope I'm among the "small number."  In the meantime, it's a good thing I've always liked spicy stuff, because it feels like a never-ending jalapeno pepper up in there. 

I'm going to hit it with everything that may help—extra B vitamins, alpha lipoic acid, baking soda rinses and/or Tabasco sauce rinses (I kid you not, it's on my sheet here).  Everything short of prescription pharmaceuticals, because I just don't want to go down that road if I can help it, and they are only sometimes effective plus have side effects.

Okay, so...end of rant.  On a positive note, before the week got busy work-wise, I went thrift store browsing and found the cutest little vintage covered sugar bowl.

It's from the Horizons line by Steubenville, though I can't find the name of this particular design.  Farm scene?  Anyway, it's a mid-century piece, probably from the 1950s.

I love the colors.  I thought about pretty pinks and greens in my fabric stash. 

One thing led to another and pretty soon I was making a mini.  I got as far as piecing the front and back and sandwiching it. Then I got slammed with work, so I don't know when I'll get back to quilting and finishing it.  I decided not to wait until that day, though, to show you.

The doc's parting words were, "Try to have some fun this weekend," a prescription I do hope to fill.

Heard this song on the radio recently, from John Mayer's newest album.  I like the laid back vibe.

Have a good one, all! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pumped Up Kicks

I know these are not what was meant by Foster the People in the song, but it makes for a good enough title, no?

Kosmic Platform Pumps at Payless
I tried a pair of these babies on this evening, just because...because they were there, in my hard-to-find size 12, and what the heck, it's my birthday.  Plus who doesn't love a pair of red shoes?

Also, I wanted to see what the world looked like when you're 6'8".  Because that's how tall I am in these shoes.  

No, I am not making that up.

So I did not buy them, because who wants to duck for doorways, but it was fun.  I felt like I was on stilts.  I had to hold onto my husband's shoulders to walk to the mirror.  You know what though?  Heels do wonders for your legs, even if you tend toward cankles.  They were fairly comfortable too.

I am going back to get these boots though.  I probably need a pair of skinny jeans to make them work, which is always a hassle to find because, well, see above.  

Rory Slouch Boot at Payless
But it occurs to me that they don't have to be exactly long enough inside boots because who will know, right?  Right.

One has to think creatively when it comes to clothing conundrums.  Speaking of which, here's a funny twist on sizes.  I could not find a pair of capris to fit me in the stores (too short), so while I was at Goodwill, I thought I'd try on regular pants and then maybe alter them to capris.  

Surprisingly, what fit the best in the waist and hips was a pair of Old Navy petite slacks!  Go figure.  So I cut off a few inches and re-hemmed them to capri length (about a 26-1/2 inch inseam for me), and they fit like a dream.  I have another pair of brand new Lands End pants that I will do the same with.  They were also $3.99 at Goodwill.  Can't beat that!

That is all.  I am going to have a freshly baked gluten-free, dairy-free brownie and go proofread for a few hours.  Partay!!  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It Could be the Red Bull

As Charlie McChatterbox bagged my groceries the other day, he asked, "What's for dinner?"  The bratwurst were for the following day, I replied; as for that evening, I had absolutely no idea.  To which he responded, "I think someone needs to make you dinner."  Well, I had no argument with that, although I was thinking, psh-yeah, in my dreams.  Anyway, nice thought, Charlie.  Promise me you will say that to your spouse one day.

He nattered nonstop all the way to my car, at one point talking about right brain versus left brain something or other (I know, right?).  It was all quite entertaining.  Some people just have the gift of gab—or it could be the Red Bull.

I shirked other responsibilities this morning to play with fabric, finishing this little mini.  Sometimes you gotta finish something, you know what I mean?  Starting is all well and good, but too many things in a state of not-quite-done can get to a person.

Here is the back.  Back in black.  (I'm not sure whether to say something next about AC/DC or Dr. Seuss.  It could go either way.)

We had some nice people over on Sunday (because mean people aren't any fun to have over).  These included my daughter's boyfriend's parents and sister.  Nice folks.

We had good food, conversation and fun, including a beanbag toss game, which my dad ruled.

Speaking of Dad, he picked up his book proof on Friday.  I had to take a picture of the momentous occasion.

So I am reading this baby through again and making final tweaks.  If it's kind of quiet around here again, you'll know why.

Friday, August 3, 2012

String Ring Quilt Top Finish

I met my goal of getting the scrappy string ring quilt top finished this week ~ woo-hoo!

Thanks to your helpful input as to how it might be finished, I went with a bit larger corner triangles (which form squares on point, in lieu of sashing), finished the outer squares into the border, did a scrappy string border, followed by more of the crosshatch fabric in an outer border. I did have just enough of the crosshatch fabric to squeak out the last border, with only inches to spare.

I am very happy with how it turned out!  As to the quilting of it, you know what?  I am not going to quilt this one myself.  Rather, it will be packed off on a fabulous quilting vacation somewhere, destination to be determined.

It feels like there's not much more to say that hasn't already been said since I started this project early in the year.  To briefly recap, the inspiration was a vintage quilt in a Gwen Marston book, noted here.  The scraps used were various blues, greens, creams, reds, and grays—colors I seem to gravitate toward instinctively, as they are all around me here in the Wisconsin countryside.

I enjoyed the stress-free piecing of the string "strata."  I usually made 4 different strata of strings and cut 5 wedges out of each one for a total of 20 wedges per ring.  Then the fun began when reassembling the wedges into rings (Dresdens).  It was always a cool surprise to see how they came back together!

It was so much fun to work with the beautiful and diverse scraps, many of them shared by friends from their stash.  That makes this quilt all the more special!

Linking up with Sarah today.  There's always lots of good stuff to see over there!

Au Revoir, Old Car

We said goodbye to an almost 20-year member of our car family today, my husband's 1993 Buick LeSabre.  It was a true "grandpa car" in every sense.  For one thing it originally belonged to Norm's dad, who bought it new out of the showroom.  A lot of things happened in and around that car, and it drove like the big bad boat that it was, logging a mere 60,000 original miles.

It took an unceremonious dump in the middle of the road on my husband's way home from work last night.  The rusted out motor mounts gave way and it literally dropped the engine and simultaneously lost steering ability.  Then it laid its front tire against the curb and that was that.  Thankfully it made it through the intersection before giving up the ghost, right there in front of the taxi service.  How ironic.

We had it towed off to the junkyard today by a stubby man smoking an equally proportioned cigar, who kvetched about writing a check for junk value. I suppose that's in his job description, kvetching.  He got a full tank of gas out of the deal, as we had just filled her up two days ago, but he even had a negative remark about that.  Whatever, stubby dude. 

This got me thinking about what I would have been doing when that car was brand new, and if my math is correct, I was getting my daughter ready for kindergarten.  Seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago.

I also looked at the Top 100 songs of 1993.  Whitney Houston had the number one spot, but I chose to embed two that I actually owned CDs for and played regularly.  Both Raphael Saddiq (of TTT) and Jon Bon Jovi are still going strong with no outward signs of rust.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Turn the Page

Time to flip the calendar again.  Can you believe it?  Even though I don't have to do back-to-school shopping anymore, I still get that familiar twinge come August—a mixture of excited anticipation and that time-is-running-out-on-summer feeling.

August seems to have its own distinctive hue.  Sounds change: fewer songbirds and more crows, cicadas by day and crickets by night, and soon the prep school will start football drills in the field across the way.  Even smells become more pungent and earthy, and the evening light more golden.

I'm not sure, but it may be what inspired me to add the corner block to this little mini.  I was thinking it needed a little something, and the notion of a page turning crossed my mind.  Since it was an afterthought, I fused the square down, but because I had pressed the seam to the turquoise side, the fuse didn't take the same way along the doubled up seam allowance.  Maybe it'll quilt out, maybe not.  Live and learn.

The black and white pieces are bits I cut off the corner blocks of the string ring quilt.  They'll finish at 1-1/4 inches, and the whole mini will be about 10-1/2 inches when all is said and done.

So I am sewing a little again.  Yesterday I hemmed curtains (necessary but not exactly blog worthy) and today I worked on this little mini, which came about just messing around with leftovers as I sat at the sewing table for the first time in weeks.  Tomorrow I aim to finish the string ring top, the impetus being that I have to get it off the living room "design floor" so I can clean house.  Company's coming on Sunday.  I've also got a couple pairs of capri pants to hem before the weekend.

Hot as it's been, it felt like a good time to try some succulents in the kitchen window.  Wally World had an interesting variety.  I tucked them into a couple of vintage pots that seem complementary.

I am listening to a fascinating audiobook at the moment.  It's called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. While I in no way consider myself shy, I know that I am most definitely an introvert.  I am finding myself nodding and smiling again and again in agreement as I hear so many things that ring true.  Good book.