Saturday, September 3, 2016

School Is back in Session!

Well friends... it has been a long summer. Hot! Dry! Muggie!

And filled with children "noise". To say I am happy that school starts on Tuesday would be an understatement. Yesterday when I left my daughters house for my last full day of babysitting I did a little two step and one vey big fist pump. I checked... no one was looking.  I found this picture on the internet... it was so me yesterday!

Now I am back to being an Oma... Regular after school, making cookies, laughing and hugging and enjoying precious moments with the kids. No more nagging and reprimanding. Just normal Grandparenting. The stuff that I love! "Been there, Seen it, Done it", has become too common a phrase for me this summer. I won't miss the little spats, the tears the crying, the phrase "I'm bored", the phrase "one sec!"! Brush your teeth, comb your hair, take a shower, pick up your toys, clean up your room, put your dirty laundry in the hamper, put your dishes on the counter, get off your iPad, get dressed, eat! Get outside!... no longer a daily part of my vocabulary.

Some evenings this summer I was so tired I could hardly climb the stairs to bed. And once I got to bed, the alarm went off way to early. I totally get why we have kids young. There comes a point where no matter how much love you have in your heart, there isn't enough energy left in the body to be two people... loving grandparent and full time caregiver.

Sewing has become a bit of a distant memory although I did get a quilt made for my grandsons 8th birthday on August 29. By made I mean the top is done. Its on the frame...and next week my goal will be to get it quilted. I hope. First I need to rest! sleep! Enjoy the quiet! And get myself back to normal...whatever that is!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Green Side up"

There used to be a joke about laying sod. I can't remember the joke but the punch line was... "Green Side Up".

Yesterday I started a Snails Trail baby quilt and I am using the "Square in a Square" ruler and method to make the blocks. I love this system for making any block that has a square in a square. Every block is square and the same size and although the squaring part is tedious, not having to be sewing bias constantly is a blessing. (If you are not familiar with the "Square in a Square method" check this web page )

 I find that the regular method of sewing triangles to opposite sides of the square and then trying to get it to square up properly or have an accurate 1/4" seam allowance so you don't lose all your points after squaring is painful!

Right side      -           Wrong side
My friend Aimee has a mantra when she sews... "Right side together".  I laugh silently when I sew with her as she reminds herself that she needs to match the right sides.

White is so hard to tell the difference from right and wrong sides and the fabric I am using is almost impossible. So I am continuously saying "right side up" every time I place a white strip down (sorry Aimee that I laughed at you). I have several pieces in the blocks I have made so far that I see the white is upside down but I am not taking them apart. If I couldn't see it before, no one else will ever notice. Right?

And there was one time when I remembered "right side up" but forgot to put the block right side down on it!  grrrrrrr!

I am also having to remind myself that the blue goes on the bottom. The centre blocks are little 4 patches of white and blue. I am chain piecing the white portions to the 4 patches and with 36 blocks at a time, I am repeating "blue at the bottom" 36 times x 3 rounds.

And last but not least... That pesky 1/4 inch.

The one thing about the "square in a square" method is that you have to sew an accurate 1/4". I don't always do that! I tell people as long as you sew the same 1/4" throughout a project it doesn't matter if you sew a little scant.  Just always sew the same. MY same is to put my regular sewing foot on and move my needle two places right of the most left position. I always sew like that... ALWAYS!

Except after putting the completed block above together, I realized my 1/4" was too scant. So I put on the proper 1/4" foot, set my guide and changed to the single hole plate and perfect... exact 1/4"!! Yeah!!

My exact 1/4" setup on my Bernini 790

Except for the fact that I had completed 3 blocks using my standard everyday, always use it 1/4" and after all six of the blocks I needed were done... the results were not pretty!

block on the left is my 1/4", block on the right is the exact 1/4"
at least 1/2" difference in the overall size of the block.
So I am back to making more blocks! I will have to make 6 using an accurate 1/4" and 6 using the not so accurate 1/4". But the good news is I will have a second quilt ready for the next little boy that comes along!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Becoming 40!

What a crazy week this has been.

My eldest son, turned 40 yesterday.

I remember turning 40 and feeling like I had turned a page in my life. The kids were almost adults and soon my house would be quiet and I could spend my days doing whatever I wanted. I was excited for the vision I had in my mind of what being a "real" adult meant. There was no big celebration. In fact, my DH had gotten things a little messed up and gave me a great 40th birthday party the year before! So turning 40 was almost an average day. I never shed a tear!

BUT... my oldest... turning 40! I have done nothing but cry all week!

I have spent almost a week digging through old pictures, looking at pictures, sorting pictures and taking pictures of old pictures, of Kris growing up, his brother being born... then his sister...


Sometimes, I couldn't see for the tears that remembered the moments!

Then there was grade 8 graduation and then high school graduation and everything in between. The memories were overwhelming.

Then his brother got married, then his sister...

Then a few short years ago, he found the woman of his dreams and...

Well, a "son is a son, until he finds him a wife" but for some reason, although I love his wife dearly, this week, I wanted him back. 

I wanted to be watching him as he took his first steps. I wanted his first time on a swing, his first day of school, his first time on skates, his first time he got lost in the store, his first time on a rollercoaster, his first hockey game, his first goal, his first time at the drive-in, his first time eating banana popsicles, his first girlfriend, his first day at University, his first job, his first everything! I wanted him to be my little boy again. I wanted to do it all over again. So...

I went and found all those firsts in the huge box of pictures I had stowed away in a closet. I scanned and edited and dated and sorted and cried. I made a slide show, and watched it a dozen times.  And I cried every time. I set it to the song, "The way you are" And I cried. I kept saying to everyone, "I am making a slide show for Kris of all his pictures growing up".  And I cried.

But after it was all done, and I had sent it too him, I came to an astounding realization.  I had really made it for me! He was turning 40 and I had forgotten who he was and where he had been. I needed to take the time to walk back through his life, to enjoy the moments that I had forgotten so I could enjoy the accomplishments of his life. And I cried, and laughed and smiled and... remembered, the joy, the sorrow and most importantly the unconditional love we have for each other. 

So yesterday is gone, and today I have given him back to his wife. He belongs there in the present. In 23 years since I turned 40, I have done many things and I think I have learned more than I did in the first 40 years of my life. Turning 40 was a great moment  and I am sure that it will be a great moment in his life too.

Happy 40th Birthday Kris! Enjoy!

On another note... last night I went off to my Thursday night sewing group. Didn't feel like it but I forced myself out the door and I had a great time. I have some great friends! 

And I made a bowl. I hated the idea up until I started working on it, but it was fun! I don't know what I am going to do with it, but whatever it is, I will love it forever, because it will be my memory of how I spent Kris's 40th birthday! LOL And I have pictures...

The "40th" bowl 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The great finishing...

Warning... Picture  Heavy!

Here are most of the projects I have finished since camp. Almost all were in different stages of being complete before camp. All most all are waiting to be quilted. So my UFO pile got smaller. My quilt top pile is huge.

Cute little table topper I started after camp
Heather Hughes was my inspiration
Right after I finished it I remembered I had the quilt b
from MSQC  started. 

Table runner. quilted and bound

this quilt was half finished before camp
Started two years ago
Table Runner I made at camp. Finished and bound
This quilt was started before my granddaughter
Ella was born. She will be 10 in November
This table topper was actually started after camp.
Inspired by my friend Sue Fiddes
Nickels were given to me as a challenge from Aimee
This was the second hockey quilt I made 3 years ago for my grandsons
I found a firefighter panel and made it for one of them
this one was quilted 2 years ago.  Now it is finished, quilted and bound
This is a wall hanging I started a lot of years ago for my sister
I have it all done, but can't find the pattern for the music notes.
I am going to down load some clip art and get it done!
Another finished and quilted but never bound. Its bound now.
This little quilt was made about 4 years ago.
I quilted and bound it in one day. Makes you wonder

This is a Missouri quilt company quilt I started a couple of camps ago.
The top is done. 102 x 102"
Just finished this week
I started this wheel of Mystery when Susan moved into her house
as a house warming present. That was 7 years ago.
I started this quilt at camp this year.
It is quilted and bound. (Quilted on my embroidery machine.)

Another almost finished, and two great notions.


Remember the other day when I said I was going to finish that quilt... well it got finished. I just haven't had a chance to post the picture. I just love this quilt. Can't wait to get it quilted.

Lakeview. Such a pretty quilt
Since my last post I have been watching my Grandchildren. Monday night and all day Tuesday I had 5. they spent the whole day in the pool so it wasn't too bad. But thats my Tuesday's for the next 8 weeks. Wednesday, I just had 3. We went to the beach. The kids were so excited to go. We went to this same beach all last summer and they barely contained themselves as we drove the 25 minutes to Beaver lake. We had a great day. I packed a picnic lunch and they swam until it was time to come home. I was exhausted!!!  Came home and right to bed. 

Beaver Lake with the grandkids

I have to tell you about these two great notions I own.I  have been using them a lot lately while doing all this appliqué.

First there is my self threading needle or as Leah Day calls them... cheater needles. Who could live without them when doing machine appliqué of any nature, or machine quilting. So easy to tie off those threads when you can thread the top one in a needle quickly and pull it to the back of your work.
Self threading needles

I love these needles but I was going through a lot of them. Not because they got dull or bent, but because I would put them in with my other needles or in my pin cushion and they would be impossible to find. Then one day last week I was watching Leah Day on The Quilt show and she was using these needles and keeping them on this cute little gadget...

the Pin Place/ Scissoor Spot.
I immediately reacted because, of course, I had one of those. But I had shoved it in a drawer somewhere because it didn't really suction cup nicely to anything. But... it is the perfect place to store my self-threading needle. (In fact, Leah Day even mentioned that the suction part didn't work well for her either.)

Tomorrow I am going to try and finish my butterflies and basket quilt, make an apron and start a baby quilt for my daughter-in-laws new nephew. They were keeping his identity a secret from us all and although he was born on Saturday last week, he had a few minor issues and they haven't introduced him yet. Hopefully I will get the quilt ready for him this coming week! No babysitting until Tuesday next week so I hope to get lots done.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Great Finishing - continued

Schools out for summer!...

I almost always spend 3 days a week babysitting my grandchildren in the summer. I don't mind but it curtails my sewing time and with that, not much time for blogging either.

My mood continues. Sadly it is affecting the way I am dealing with everything right now. I have felt very alone for the last year or so and up until April I rarely have spent much time in my sewing room. Of course I got sick in the middle of that year and it took me a long time to feel like sewing. So camp was a great energizer for me.

I came back from camp full of energy, and a little sad. MY daughter and her husband had parted ways just before I went to camp and I was very devastated by the whole thing.  I had hoped that they would make a go of it even though some things had happened that were almost impossible to forget. My SIL was very kind to me, and a wonderful father. We had always had a good relationship. I hope we always will even though he and my daughter are certainly not friendly.

When I am feeling my worst I always find that sewing picks up my spirits. I have always felt like that. And now is no different. Sometimes I force myself to come down to the sewing room and work on anything, and its not usually long before the hands of the clock have sped along and I am deep into whatever project I put my hand on. I bet I am not alone. There is something cathartic in putting your mind to a creative task.

Right now though, I am not really into what I am doing. I love the end result but the work is tedious. But I am determined to finish this today.

I am doing machine appliqué. Three panels are finished and I just have this one panel left to do!

Machine applique

I started this quilt a long time ago. I used the scrappy strips as "leaders and enders" for a lot of years. I was so close to having all the blocks sewn together when I came back from camp that I just decided to bite the bullet and finish it. But I got stalled by the appliqué. Its taken me this long to get back to it, but I am determined not to go to bed tonight until this quilt is totally pieced. Borders and all!!!

Lakeview from Australian Patchwork and Quilting Volume 9, Number 4 by Michelle Marvig

Now I am working on a new "leaders and enders" It will be an Irish Chain from Quiltville! I have been finishing so many piecing projects that I suspect it will be done very soon. Such a great idea to work on two quilts at once... Something old and something new! My quilting life is pretty darned exciting right now!

Leader and ender quilt. 2" squares. Irish Chain

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

So Ufo's are not new to me!

In 2010 I wrote:" You know its a hard decision to decide what to work on when you have so many WIP's (works in progress). I would like to stop "starting" new projects but I think it comes with the creative gee so medically, I am unable to stop "starting"! What a relief. I wonder if there is a pill?"

So in 6 years, nothing has really changed with me. Except for the fact that right now I am on a mission to finish some of the projects that I have in shoe boxes, gift boxes and sewing boxes everywhere I look.

And even though I don't think I am starting new projects right now, in reality, one of the completed blocks I started a year ago, isn't really a UFO. Its become a new project that has captured my attention...

One Stack and Wack Basket Block started at camp last spring
My EQ plan for the blocks that I drew up last year!
The plan...

The reality! Another WIP...

Baskets and Butterflies WIP

I have been procrastinating the last few days. I have three baskets to applique and about 6 butterfly blocks to appliqué and add antennae. Most of the quilt is together but like all new projects I have sort of lost interest so today I did some bindings...

Last day of school to work on bindings! #UFOfinally finished

Tomorrow, I am going to get that appliqué done!