Friday, February 21, 2014

Slow Mojo

How is it I can ignore two whole boxes of paperwork "to be filed" for years on end, and then all of a sudden decide that it needs to be addressed this very week?  
Hm, could it be that I am procrastinating on something else?  I think we can all guess the answer to that one.

This month marks my four-year blog anniversary, and that's about exactly how long it's been since I did any serious filing or otherwise dealing with paperwork.  The good thing about waiting so long is that 80 percent of it can be tossed.  Well, not tossed, exactly, as a lot of it is personal and financial type things.  I'll probably have a little party around the burn barrel soon.  Hear that, Dad?  I'm coming over to your place to set my stuff on fire. 

A friend and former coworker, who was a young lawyer at the time and now is a financial advisor, told me he threw away all his bills right after he paid them.  Like, immediately.  On hearing this, I remember being shocked for a few seconds.  This was before the days of going paperless and online access.  I was taught one needed to save such things, although I was never really sure for how long.  His response was, "What for?" and he went on to justify the rationale for his personal statute of limitations.  I've become better at adopting this attitude in the years since, but apparently I'm not quite there yet. 

I did find my mortgage paperwork in one of the boxes, along with an original car title and my sister-in-law's Health Care Power of Attorney.  You know, things one might need to put one's hands on quickly without first having to sift through a few hundred pages of financial statements, receipts, and a couple colonoscopy reports (with color photos!).

Not much has been happening in the sewing room this week except for one sample block.  I bought a Quick Curve Ruler so I could make the Mod Olives block following the tutorial at Sew Kind of Wonderful.

But I am apparently a big fumble-futz when it comes to curved rulers.  I made a mess of the first few cuts and finally gave up on the rotary cutter altogether and used a marking pen with the ruler and then scissor-cut the pieces.  I'm not sure what my problem was there.  I'll take another whack at it (probably literally) another time.

Finally, I am taking baby steps to try to sneak around my procrastination problem. So even though it's been slow, the flow (my word for 2014) hasn't stopped completely.

A few days ago, I doodled a quilting idea for the Hubcap Diamond Star Halo quilt, and today I finally got it basted.
What are you working on this weekend?

I love everything about this song, a song about flow of another kind, as in a river (and life, in general).  Darrell Scott can sure tell a story in his songwriting, and he is a master on the guitar.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Sundry 2-16-14

Valentine's Day began with a surprise while I was lying in bed (not what you're thinking) doing my shoulder exercises.  See there?  I know how to party.

Norm had been up making coffee.  He came back upstairs with a brown paper bag garnished with a red bow.

"Happy Valentine's Day!  It's not breakfast in bed."  We had just been talking about the whole breakfast in bed thing a few days before.  I said I kind of liked the idea.  He said he didn't really care for it.  Obviously, after 30 years, this is not a deal breaker.  Just one of those things you shrug off and go, "Hunh."

I sat up and took the package.  It felt like...a bowl??  But it was even better.

A cake stand!  Not just any one, but the Georges Briard cake stand I had seen at the antique mall a couple weeks ago.  He had gone back and bought it for me a few days later.

Isn't that sweet?  I love it!

I made him some brownies yesterday in return, which, no, I did not put on the cake stand (are you kidding? I just washed it).  I totally could have though.  I will definitely will use it in the future, just you wait and see.

We went shopping yesterday and I blew my Jo-Ann gift card from Christmas on a smaller rotary cutter, some blades, and these blazing lovelies, which I hope will help melt the polar icecap that seems to have dipped into our neck of the woods this winter.

What will I make with them?  Who knows!  Maybe I'll work some of them into the Tea Towel Challenge project.  I need to get going on that again.

I also need to baste the next UFO to be quilted, which is this one, Hubcap Diamond Star Halo.  Egads, I finished the flimsy two years ago.  Surely it has aged enough by now.

Frankly, I've been a little intimidated by it.  There, I said it.  But "feel the fear and quilt it anyway," right?  Right-o.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Come to Light

It's been quiet here on the blog for a week, but I have not been sitting on my hands.  Still working my way down the UFO list. 

I wanted to relay my second experience with the Coats thread I mentioned in previous post, because I don't want to give anyone a bum steer.  I've been using it as the top thread in the current project, with Aurifil in the bobbin.  Remember how I said it didn't shred?  Well, in the words of The Dude in The Big Lebowski (still one of my favorite movies):
I'm not sure if it's because I was quilting with a walking foot last time and now I'm free-motion quilting, or maybe it's as simple as one being polyester and the other cotton; but this same Coats thread unwinds itself at the ends (frays, shreds, whatever you want to call it).  By contrast, the Aurifil bobbin thread stays nice and tight.  You can see the difference in the two threads in the photo below.
I am burying my thread ends, and I don't think it'll be a problem in this wall hanging, which won't get a lot of manipulation like a bed quilt would.  But there's that, just so you know.
Karen gave me a tip on a great sale on Aurifil thread at Sue's Sew EZ Designs.  She's closing her shop soon.  I'm going to stock up on a few spools in different colors so I have some on hand.

We had workmen here two days this week installing a new whole-house humidifier which attaches to the furnace.  Our old April-Aire gave up the ghost during the depths of the recent deep freeze with high-pitched squealing and banging noises.  The new unit, a Honeywell, went in on Monday but got unplugged by Tuesday when it was determined it was defective.  We wouldn't have known anything was wrong except our neighbors called to advise us that our air conditioning unit outside was running underneath its winter covering!  That side of the house faces theirs, and we would've had no clue this was happening had they not called.  Apparently, the problem was more than a wiring issue, so a new unit has been ordered and should go in next week, hopefully uneventfully.

While the workers were here, I was happily holed up in the sewing room quilting "pearls on a string" while listening to Led Zeppelin.  I've never been a big fan of Robert Plant's voice, but I love Jimmy's guitar.  Here's one of my favorite Zep tunes, sans vocals, by a guy who seems to be channeling Page.  Sing along if you like!  There's even cowbell at 1:20.

Let me take you to the movie
Let me take you to the show
Let me be yours ever truly
Can I make your garden grow?

Yours ever truly ~ Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hemispheres Quilted

The Hemispheres Quilt-Along wall hanging is now completely done.  Another one checked off the to-be-finished list!

I used a walking foot to quilt it, following the arc of the curves and using a chaco liner to mark the curves where I didn't have the ditch to follow.

I wanted the top thread color to match the azure fabric but was limited by what was locally available on short notice.  The big box store had a turquoise Coats and Clark 40-wt. trilobal polyester embroidery thread, so I thought I'd give it a shot, with Aurifil in the bobbin.  I am happy with the result.  The CC didn't shred or lint and had a nice sheen.

The fabrics in the top are Robert Kaufman Quilter's Linen in azure, charcoal, and snow.  I love the bit of dimension you can see up close, yet it still reads as a solid from a couple feet away.

While I was at the store, I spied what looked to be an interesting fabric for the backing, so I grabbed a couple yards of that as well.

Some of you may recall that this JCP skirt was my inspiration. I found it while online shopping and pinned it on Pinterest, commenting that it'd make a cool quilt.

Not long afterwards, I heard about the Hemispheres Quilt-Along and saw the quilt pattern.  It was serendipity!

So there you have it for this week's finish.  Linking to:

February Finishes

Monday, February 3, 2014

Catch and Release

I took my camera along to the antique mall yesterday.  We came home empty handed but had fun looking around.  It was a whopping 15 degrees and sunny, a good day to get out and shake off some cabin fever.

The place is huge, encompassing several stories and hundreds of booths worth of treasures.  The prices are reasonable too.  It's sort of like an indoor flea market minus the smell of bratwurst and fried donut holes.

I spied a few colorful vintage quilts!

I intended to buy this Frankoma Pottery clover-shaped dish, and I carted it around for awhile before handing it to Norm so I could take a picture of something.  He noticed a pretty good chip out of one edge (about eleven o'clock in this photo).  Aw...there's one that got away.

If you have a fear of clowns, you may want to look past this next one.  This may be the creepiest clown picture of all time.  I cannot imagine a scenario in which someone actually would want this framed and on the wall, except maybe at Halloween.  The stuff of nightmares, I tell you.

If that doesn't give you the willies, I don't know what will.  Maybe this?

An angry chicken pulling a toddler in a cart...charming or creepy?  Yeah, I'm thinking the latter.

Now this next one really intrigued me.  What in the world is going on here?  

A man of the cloth accompanying a woman whose hands are behind her back, I imagine lashed together in some way.  The cart is flanked by a mob carrying bayonets.  Other than that, our gal Ginger looks ready for a party (a good old-fashioned stake burning or gallows swinging?) while the man in black looks like the remorseful one.  Fascinating. 

And also creepy.

There was plenty of Pyrex, all of which stayed safely in situ.

This little piggy was tempting, though.  It gave me a chuckle.

There was an old tackle box full of sweet vintage valentines, all addressed in pencil to "Gladys" on the back.  I'm grateful to Gladys for preserving her colorful collection for posterity.

Norm was a fan of this fan, and about a dozen others.  

Seventies orange lunch box, anyone?  But wait, there's more...

It' rollers?  

Ever wonder why people were skinnier back in the day?  Because Farrah hair was labor intensive, and lunch hour was the perfect time for a cup of coffee, a few cigs, a piece of Ayds candy, and a touch-up.  Don't ask me how I know.

And Away We Go!

I had a relaxing weekend and was able to spend a few hours on the Tea Towel Challenge quilt.  Translated, that means a lot of staring and pondering and fabric fondling...minimal actual sewing.

So I was thinking I'd start (easy) by making the first round a strip of triangles, picking up on the triangles in the neck area of the chickens.  Let's do a sample in green, I thought...but I didn't want to use my "good" green yet, so I dug through my green scrap bin and found a little piece of lime green and white.  Never intended to use that color with this project but—bam!—what do you know, I liked it.  Too bad there wasn't any more  than a small scrap available, so I puttered around to find other things I could use alongside.  Enter two more fabrics not on the originally-pulled-for-this-project stack.

And here is where it is so far.  It's way too early in the month to know if this first border will actually stick or fall completely off the design wall.  But that's the fun of working without a net.

Using this triangle border would mean trimming off the outside printed borders of the tea towel, which I'm totally okay with, as I think they're quite busy.  However, I would try to incorporate those back in elsewhere. 

We visited an antique mall yesterday, where we saw some more great Georges Briard (designer of this vintage tea towel) pieces.

Norm spotted this strawberry tray from several yards away.  Good eye, that guy!

Flower power!

I loved this cake plate.  Briard used the crown in many of his designs, and it's in my tea towel too.  I hope to find a way to incorporate at least one crown in the TTC quilt.  Appliqued?  Paper pieced?  It's a mystery even to me. 

I found a fab stash of Irish linen tea towels at the antique mall too.  Careful, those peaches are radioactive!

Speaking of hot-hot-hot, did you catch the Superbowl Halftime Show?  Bruno Mars...and the Chili Peppers!?  That's how it's done, son!