Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Next Up

As I sat down to write this post (which will eventually be about an upcoming project I hope to start soon), I started to recall a dream I had last night.  It involved a strange thrift store display—more like a sculpture or art piece—comprised of dozens of vintage sewing machines welded together in a circular pattern, kind of like a gigantic mobile or chandelier made of many different makes and models, colors, etc. 

The piece was suspended from the ceiling (the store itself was like a very big pole shed or barn or maybe an airplane hangar, someplace with a high industrial-type ceiling).  Everybody else in the store seemed to be ignoring it completely, going about their usual shopping, but I was fascinated and intensely curious.  I looked around again and realized my mom was there (this is the second dream I've had this week about my mom and something sewing related; she passed away in 2009, but it's always a nice surprise to see her in my dreams).  I asked the people in charge of the store about the sculpture and found out they actually wanted it taken down, and if we wanted to remove it, we could have it and all the machines that were part of it. 

My mom didn't seem all that interested at first, so I had to fill her in that since she'd been gone, vintage machines like those had become more popular with collectors/sewists, and that I bet we could separate them and sell them on eBay.  I did a quick mental tally and somehow came up with a figure of 10 grand in machines suspended above us (yeah, right...in my dreams!).  Of course, there was the issue of whether or not any of them were in working order or even had motors and/or their requisite parts, but I was willing to take a chance.  All we had to do was come up with a plan for removing them.  Mom was always a good problem solver, and I was confident that between the two of us, we'd figure something out.

The next thing I knew, I was lying face up on an open moving platform lift, rising higher and higher toward the ceiling and the monstrosity of machines.  Did I mention I'm not particularly keen on heights?  And that this was an open platform, as in no side rails?  And that it was wobbling?  Which explained why I was apparently frozen flat on my back, feeling that I did not dare even sit up to get my bearings lest the thing start swaying more, and I sure as heck didn't want to look down.
High Steel Heroes, c. 1932
Maybe I underestimated the logistics involved in accomplishing this feat.  Just a tad.

Things got fuzzy after that, but it was with relief that I woke up on the low platform of my own bed, safely back on terra firma.

* * * * *
Well, there is little more down to earth than men's plaid shirts, and I've been up to my armpits in them this past week. 

Specifically, I have been cutting them apart for a quilt project I'd like to get started on.

Over the past couple of months, I've been picking up a few men's plaid shirts here and there at the thrifts, having in mind to make the string quilt, "Dad's Plaids" from this book by Elsie Campbell.

I first saw this quilt on Pinterest and tracked down the pattern and book from there.  It is one of my most re-pinned pins (trumped by Ian Somerhalder, however), so apparently a lot of other people are enamored of it as well.  If any of you have made this quilt or are planning to, I'd love to know about it in the comments.

Anyway, I think I have enough shirt fabrics now to get started, although I haven't taken a complete inventory (oh yes, there are more in the stash) and something tells me I may still be in need of light colors.  But I'll sort all that out in due time.

Did you know there is a lot of fabric in a XL or XXL men's shirt?  As far as the deconstruction process, some may find it a tedious proposition; fortunately, I am one of those people who has always loved cutting things with a good sharp scissors.  After all, I apparently remodeled my mom's best girdle into a "cheerleader skirt" with a pair of her sewing shears and gave myself my first self-haircut by age three, so I think it's fair to say it's a predilection I was born with.

And because I am in a tangential mood, and I like this song, and the heights dream reminded me of it...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Scrappy Sixteen

The scrappy 16-patch quilt top is now stitched together, seen here sprawled on the steps of the deck and spilling onto the lawn, like a colorful guest who's had maybe one too many. 

Hold on there, buddy. In fact, why don't you lie down on the grass and try to nap it off. 

There you go.  That's it.  What's that?  It's too bright?  Well, just close your eyes, it'll be okay.
Anthropomorphizing aside, the quilt is, in fact, straight and flat, but the lawn needs mowing so it looks a bit rumply.  Plus with the sun behind me, I was dodging my shadow in the shot, so you get some wonky angles.  Sober as a judge, I swear.

It's only taken me two trips to Jo-Ann this week for backing fabric.  The first choice looked fine in the store, but at home mostly resembled a paper bag.  At first I thought it'd be a soothing contrast to the "Quiet Riot" of the front (that'll be the quilt's name, by the way), but no.  Just...no.  Six yards of no.

I'm linking to Whoop-Whoop Fridays, where Sarah's dancing granny is cracking me up!

If you feel like shaking your rump, here's one from the vault—Nikka Costa, circa 2001, "Everybody Got Their Something."  Yes, we sure do.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Monday...It's Miscellany

Overheard at the Flea Market
 "See this hat?" said the woman in charge of the pie booth, pointing to her head, "We Amish and Mennonite do not lie."

I didn't catch what the customer had pressed her about, but I had to chuckle.  Gotta love that Anabaptist sense of humor.

We came home from the flea market with nothing more than a couple pounds of bison from a friendly farmer (who wore a baseball cap, in case you're wondering).

Grateful for the Growing Season
The friendly farmer in my family, a/k/a Dad, has had a good crop of kohlrabi this year.  I think it's my favorite vegetable.

If you've never tasted kohlrabi, it has a mild, cabbage-y flavor, and the texture is kind of like a radish.  I enjoy it peeled, sliced and eaten raw alongside a sandwich for lunch.

The beets have been doing well too.  My favorite way to eat those is in the chocolate beet cake recipe, which I shared last year.  Can you freeze beets, do you know?  I'm wondering if I could just grate and freeze them in Ziplock bags, like you do with zucchini.

Media Musings
We watched Locke starring Tom Hardy last weekend.  I liked it very much, despite its mixed reviews on Redbox.  If you love your action flicks, you may want to pass, but if, like me, you'd like nothing better than to stare at Tom Hardy for a couple hours, then by all means, see it.  I found it fascinating and compelling the whole way through, as the viewer comes along for the ride and eavesdrops on a man trying to keep a handle on various situations threatening to spin his life out of control.

I'm still working my way through the Outlander series of books (in the middle of book five, The Fiery Cross, at the moment), but have taken a short break to read something different.  

A Wilder Rose by Susan Albert is right up my alley.  I loved the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but on discovering they were, in essence, ghost written/heavily edited by her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, I was curious about Rose.  Many years ago, I had read the biography of Rose Wilder Lane, A Ghost in the Little House, and then enjoyed one of Rose's novels, Free Land, after that.

I'm really enjoying A Wilder Rose.  It's been a terrific summer, weather wise, for grabbing some time to read every day out on the deck with my lunch.  I am savoring these days of sunshine and warmth and only wish I could soak it up and store it like a battery for those long winter months ahead...when the deck will look like this again, GAH!

(Okay, it is kinda pretty, I have to admit.  In pictures anyway.)

Palate cleanser/back to reality photos:

This little plant, whose name I forget, is doing well on my semi-shaded front porch.  And the barrel out front is a-blooming with some red and white star-like impatiens I tried this year.  

Note to self:  Forget about planting the begonia in the center of the barrel next year.  It got entirely swallowed up by the impatiens.

How is your summer winding down?  Are you grabbing the gusto of these last days before school and schedules?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chevron Baby Quilt No. 2

At long last, the second chevron baby quilt is finished for my friend Kathy's other grandson.  I delivered it this morning.

I'm really loving these colors together, turquoise and gray.  I incorporated a couple of the fabrics the mom had left over from decorating the baby's room and added a couple others to coordinate.

Once again, I used Crazy Mom's tutorial.  Quilted in an overall meander with Aurifil thread.  There's a glimpse of the gray/white chevron print backing as well.

The binding and a couple of the chevron rows are "Heath" by Alexander Henry in grey. So versatile, that stuff.

Also in process is the scrappy16-patch quilt top.  I made more blocks so it would be a comfortable size and am sewing them together now.

Here are all the blocks laid out on the floor earlier this week.  It's quite the riot, but I like it!

Linking to Whoop-Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Catching Up

Well, there's been quite the lull over here, huh?  The summer has been humming right along and here we are in August already.  How'd that happen?

I have been making 16-patch blocks here and there.  Here's how things stand so far on the scrappy 16-patch quilt.

I'm not sure whether to add more to make it five blocks across by six down, or leave it as is.  I'm not sure whether I love it yet, either.  I mean, I like it fine, and once it's done I'll be happy to toss it over me while I watch TV, and that's good.  I think it'll maybe grow on me. 

You may recall the Key to My Heart quilt I made early in the year.  It was recently gifted to my nephew Cody and Courtney's baby girl, Cali Jean, born a couple weeks ago.

What a cute little peanut she is, here with first-time grandma, my sister Nita:

And Cali below checking out her new quilt.  "Oh, how beautiful!" she is cooing.  Nah, she was just getting hungry, but I like her expression.

Norm went to the Renaissance Fair a couple weeks ago with friends.  It was Steampunk weekend, and they dressed in full garb.  

Photo by Brian Schultz, via Flickr
Photographer Brian Schultz took a nice head shot of Norm, which we found a few days later on Flickr.  There are a lot of cool photos in his Ren Faire and Steampunk groups, should you want to check it out.

When the new washer and dryer went in recently, I took the old mid-century, parental cast-off table that sat next to the washer outside to be hosed off.  It holds the laundry soaps and bleaches, etc.

This is after cleaning it, so you can see it's pretty worse for wear.  But I left it in the garage for now, because I feel another furniture painting episode coming on.  I'll probably use the tropical coral color on it, for better or worse (it sits in the basement where the sun doesn't shine).  I'm going to prime it first and use a poly sealer after its painted, not wax. 

But first, next week, I have to quilt and bind the second chevron quilt.  That's been in a stall for a bit, but I have a self-imposed deadline which I intend to meet.

Another project I've committed to is making some kennel quilts for the animal surgery where my daughter works.  She gave me a box of her "funky scrubs," with cute prints, that she can't wear anymore because they've gone to uniform scrubs.  I've been pinning easy quilt ideas on Pinterest to make use of the upcycled fabric.  Stay tuned.

Finally, I did a fun and quick little project last weekend, which took all of 15 minutes.  I made a dry-erase board for my daughter, who we helped move to a new apartment on Sunday.  

For all the new, um, information that comes to light that you have to write down (a favorite quote/scene from The Big Lebowski movie).  I also put an extra blank sheet of light-colored scrapbook paper inside the frame in case she wants to make a change.  

See the fine print on the board above for the how-to.  I should probably add that your frame should have glass in it.  Sort of a given, but you never know.  This one was 8x10.