In April, the Sweet Pea Embroidery design company had their “KISS” – Keep it Simple Sew along challenge. The offered pattern is discounted during the sew along to participants. There is a deadline to submit your finished project photo on the Facebook group. The pattern was called Wildflower Window Cushion and was available for hoops from 4×4 to 8×8. I chose to stitch out the 8×8 blocks. I used my Janome 11000 to do all the stitching.
The block pictured below has so much texture in the embroidery and lots of thread changes too. The white background, and the batik green around it are supposed to be the window pane and frame.
Once it comes out of the hoop, you trim the stabilizer back to the outer stitching line. After that is done, you trim the frame to 1/2 inch from the stitching. This gives you good seam allowance without so much bulk. During the stitchout, the batting is trimmed back as well.
There are 40,243 stitches in this block and my machine shows that the time it should take, at 600 stitches per minute was 114 minutes. That doesn’t account for the time for thread changes, trimming etc. I figure it took me about 3 hours.
I decided to go “scrappy with my window frames”, using some batiks from the scrap drawer.
The blocks with the applique like the red poppy didn’t take as long to stitch. I layered a tulle over the fabric for the flower on the left, and it added a shimmer and dimension to the flower.
I was on a pretty good roll by the time I got to the 3rd block. It was another applique block so it went pretty fast.
Once everything was all stitched out, I arranged the “windows” for assembly.
When I assembled them, I decided to add a narrow strip of sashing between all 4 blocks, and around the outside. Once I put the envelope backing for the pillow on, I stitched about 1″ in from the edge to make a bit of a flange. I stuffed the project with an 18″ pillow. I used all scrap batik for the project, including the backing.
I figure overall, it took me about 12 hours to make this project, using up about 1 1/2 yards of scrap fabric. Fits just right in this rocking chair.
I loved the pattern so much, I stitched out 2 more blocks and made them into placemats for my friend, June, who lives in assisted living. I think they will make a nice Mother’s day gift for her, and replace the fall placemats that are currently on her table.
All the fabrics came from the scrap bins and June’s box of fabric. I had fun with the variegated thread on the flower edges.
The fabric for the borders and backing were leftover twill from making a couple of aprons last year. I thik they will make great “reversible” placemats.
I think I got my monies worth for the pattern and used up some scraps as well. I’m counting a total of 1 yard of fabric “out” for the Stashbuster 2022 challenge.
We had a family trip away for Easter week, but were disappointed with the cool damp weather which hampered recreation plans! My daughters booked a “VRBO” (Vacation Rental By Owner) again on Lake Gaston NC. This year we were on the North side of the lake. The house was spacious, 3 levels of living / bedroom space, and plenty of room for 11 people. We had a great location to sit and ponder the water views. The first two days and the last couple of days we could sit out on the dock and enjoy the water views.
I did enjoy wandering around the yard and admiring the plants. The blooming azaleas were at their peak.
Like last year, we brought our bicycles along. This year, just the hubby and I went out for a ride one afternoon, on the Tobacco Heritage Trail. We went to La Crosse VA where we had been once before and rode about 3.25 miles round trip. Neither of us had been on our bikes since last fall, so a short trip was all the old geezers could manage.
On the worst of the rainy days, we ventured to South Hill Virginia and visited a model railroad display at
The chamber and HO train display were in the old train depot in downtown South Hill. It was fairly obvious to us that a lot of time and effort had gone into the display, and was well funded. It’s worth a stop if you are traveling in the area, and you have a rainy day to contend with. Our other stop that day was to Rosemont of Virginia Winery. We were pleased they could accommodate us without a reservation on that very rainy day. If you are planning a visit, I would recommend making that reservation.
There were high top tables and comfortable seating in the bar area, and a couple of other rooms that were filled with small groups.
Food for snacking was available, but we had just come from lunch in South Hill. The flight prices are on the website. I found it to be very reasonably priced, and the wine (all 4) were lovely. I brought a bottle back to our VRBO to enjoy as well.
As a side note; our VRBO was well off the beaten path, so lots of side roads were traveled going to and from the lake. We passed this place twice, and I was ready with the camera the second time. I always love interesting “roof decor”. Since we were on a back road, I asked the hubby to “slow down” a minute so I could shoot a photo. No shooting of animals of course!
This year, I chose to not bring my featherweight sewing machine. There really wasn’t anyplace that I could comfortably set up and not be in the way, so I am glad I left it at home. I did bring my English paper piecing, also known as the never ending project. I have things kitted up and ready to travel and I managed to sit & stitch one double diamond. Even with this project, there really was no good place to work. The one room with good lighting, a quiet sitting room at the entry of the house, only had two comfortable chairs, and were often in use by others. So once I finished my little project, I packed my sewing bag away. I will be working on these double diamonds for a few more years if I am going to get a quilt made. I probably have about 30 or so done and need close to 100 for a queen size quilt.
When the weather cooperated, we did enjoy the view from the deck and the dock.
Springtime along the East Coast has been very cool overall, and wet. I’m looking forward to our next trip which will take us someplace much warmer! More about that later.
In March I shared with you my small wall hanging that was done following a Pat Sloan pattern and a pattern by Oleksandra Derenovska.
Someone suggested in the comments of that post that I take a look at what Bonnie Hunter was doing on her page, and I found the Hearts of Hope Sewalong. This sew along is taking place between March and April and it is NOT too late to join in. The pattern offered by Bonnie Hunter comes with a recommendation for a donation to a charity supporting Ukraine. Be sure to get the directions weekly if you are interested. The pattern is going to come off the Quiltville blog at the end of the sew along.
Many who follow my blog know that I love all things Bonnie Hunter. I’ve done lots of mystery quilts and made several of her patterns over my quilting years.
I started this project last week, and worked on it off and on while my embroidery machine was running full speed. So far, I have 6 blocks completed and trimmed to 6 1/2″. I have a big collection of phone books in various sizes to use for foundation papers. I have LOTS of blue “strings” to use, and have started pulling yellow and gold out of my bins too.
I’m not sure if I am making 49 blocks, but I am enjoying the string piecing part of the project. I may end up making a table runner or a small throw. Who knows??
My spring project done on my Janome 11000 embroidery machine is finished.
I downloaded the pattern from Sweet Pea Embroidery Designs for this project. I participate in their monthly Facebook group challenge, and they offered a nice discount if you used the coupon code found in the group. As the month of March progressed, I kept seeing all the great projects being posted. I got on board a little late in the challenge to participate for the prize, but did get the discount.
As I have said before, you know when you use a Sweet Pea design with multiple panels/blocks, that it is going to take you some time, but it will come together very well. You may remember my posts about that Knitting bag or the Casserole Carrier from a couple of holiday posts.
I knew before I started where I wanted this project to be hung, and what my size limits were going to be. I selected the 7×7 block and used my 8×8 hoop on my Janome 11000 machine. Hubby and I scrolled through pages of completed projects on the Facebook group, and we both agreed that we liked the projects that didn’t use a white background fabric. We both agreed that a light blue would really make the tulips stand out. Hubby does have a good eye for these things and I like to get his buy-in since we are going to hang this in our home.
There were 8 blocks in the project, and I started by cutting the batting squares for the blocks and making a big stack. Then I dug out my little plastic baskets from Dollar Tree, and started selecting pieces in my scrap drawers. The drawers are arranged by color and I picked a variety of fabrics, for the tulips and the leaves. Once the bits were ironed, into the little baskets they went, ready to be used. Some of my blue back ground fabric came from the scrap drawers and some came from the “yardage” bins. I used 3 different fabrics in my backgrounds. It was fun picking the “right” fabrics for each of the tulips and I did my best to keep the green fabrics straight. The leaves and the stems continue through the blocks.
Block # 1 & 2 were really the hardest to do. When I am working on a machine embroidery project, I like to “pick my colors” for both thread and fabrics, and keeping them straight for the subsequent blocks was important. The block in the photo above on the left had 3 background fabrics , 3 leaf fabrics and multiple colors for stems. I use a “grid” to keep my threads straight. I label the “name” of the thread and set the spool in the grid box. (My machine might call for “pine green”, and give a number, but I might use something completely different on the first run, so I want to make sure that I always use the same thread when it calls again for “pine green”).
Essentially, when you work on this pattern, you start off with a batting square tacked down on your cutaway stabilizer, then you trim to the tack down line. 48 steps later you finish the block. My machine kindly tells me how many “minutes” of actual stitching time. I am set at 600 stitches per minute speed. Almost every block in the pattern had 40+ steps and at least 60 – 70 minutes of stitching time. That doesn’t take into account the time to do any of the trims, color changes etc. On average, each block took 2 1/2 – 3 hours total to create.
You can see in the photo above, there are 3 background fabrics in this one block, stems that connect with the block above and below, and leaves that connect below as well. All those curvy bits were trimmed after tack down stitches were done. Applique duck bill scissors and those curve tipped snips really help in trimming while the block is still “in the hoop”.
You can see how the stems look like they go “through the block” in Block 4. The larger tulip has about 5 fabrics in it. (Remember this is a 7×7 block total size). Using scraps for the flower petals was great, and pulling a big variety of colors to start with helped. I starch the scrap pieces pretty well before I cut the size I need for the petal. The starch helps you get a cleaner trim. It was a challenge finding scraps “big enough” to use for the leaves in the first 4 blocks.
It took me 5 days to get this project completed. I worked 3-4 hours each day on it, and found it fun to watch it grow.
As I made progress through the blocks, I kept the other blocks laid out on the nearby cutting table and kept in mind the fabric choices made on previous blocks while I selected colors and fabric for the next block. All in all I think I struck a nice harmony. Many of the fabrics make an appearance more than once.
Once the blocks were all stitched and trimmed, the assembly of the blocks took place. The 68 page PDF booklet of instructions had you join them in rows. I did that, but had trouble lining up the vertical stems. I ended up taking them apart and joining them in 2 columns for a better transition.
I had better success this way, using pins to locate connection points and easing the pieces in together. There are only a couple of spots where the join isn’t as satisfactory as I would like, but overall I am pleased with the final project. I added a layer of very high loft poly bat between the top and the backing to give it a softer look. (There was cotton batting in each square during the embroidery process). I did “quilt in the ditch” between the rows and down the center, and around the edge to secure the batting and backing. I did deviate from the instructions a bit with the method for backing and binding. I dislike backing that is pulled to the front and used as binding. I am not confident in the method and I chose to make my own binding
Overall, a nice project. I also put a hanging sleeve on the back instead of tabs, and it slid quite nicely on my 12″ hanger. The overall dimensions are 14. 5″ x 28″.
I decided to stitch out a label for the back on the embroidery machine while I was working on the binding. Of course, I used my favorite method, “Susie’s Magic Binding”. I use that type binding almost exclusively, as I hate to hand sew binding, and I like the piped edge.
I got the label hand stitched on and the hanging sleeve stitched down! Project complete, banner hung!
I love hanging things in the archway between our dining and living room. This was a fun project to make and I love how it turned out. I’m really glad I went with the blue background as well.
Now, for the all important #STASHBUSTER “yardage in / yardage out” count during March. I count this project as 1 yard for background fabrics and backing, 1 yard for the assorted leaves, flowers, binding, for a total of 2 yards. Thanks Carole https://frommycarolinahome.com/2022/03/04/stashbusters-challenge-march/ . Keeping track, one project at a time with using up my stash.
So, I have a fall wall hanging, now a spring wall hanging, and last month I finished my beach project. Must be time to get restarted on that Lori Holt Christmas Quilt project. I have a lot of the blocks made, but have big ideas for a setting and there are a couple more blocks to make to get the size I want. Hey, a project in progress for two years has lots of parts. It’s fun to finish up these smaller projects in under a week, so I feel like I have accomplished something, before I dig in on a long haul project.
What are you working on in your sewing / crafting zone?
It seems in America that we all “come from somewhere” else. My family comes from many places, but on my father’s side, they were called “black Germans”. As a kid, I never understood. You see, my father’s family came from an area near the Black Sea. They were “resettled” Germans in the mid 1800’s, who left Germany and went to the frontier at the bequest of the Russian Czar to repopulate an area where the population had been decimated during war time. There is a long history of Germans, living in what was then Russia. There are many articles about the why’s and how’s, but essentially, they were offered land and were able to resettle and build communities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_Germans ).
Growing up, I knew that my father spoke German as a young child until he went to school. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I understood that his heritage came not from Germany, but from somewhere else. My paternal grandparents were both born in the area of Odessa (Russia) Ukraine.
A wonderful history of the family was prepared by one of my paternal aunts, and she wrote the following about my Grandfather, Adam Lingor. “Adam was born 20 miles north of Odessa, Russia in a small German settlement called Josephstal Grosliebenthal. When they lived in Russia, their last name was spelled Lingore and when they came to the United states the E was dropped. The family immigrated to the United States and arrived May 17, 1900 on board the SS Kaiserine Maria Theresa. It took about nine weeks to cross the ocean and one of Adam’s brothers died of diphtheria on the ship. They settled in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Other relatives also came on the same ship but they settled in North Dakota.”
My Grandmother, Josephine, was very young when she came to the United States. My aunt wrote the following – ” Josie was born March 12, 1898 in Kleinlibenthal, Groslietenthal just outside of Odessa, Russia. In 1901 Josie and her family immigrated to the United States and docked at Staten Island, New York. The came to America because they couldn’t practice their catholic religion in Russia and also because the Russians were drafting men into their army. They traveled steerage to America and the trip took about nine weeks and was very uncomfortable because they were so crowded. From New York they took the train and traveled west not knowing where to go and finally stopped at Onaka, South Dakota.
Many Germans in Russia were leaving in the late 19th century, as restrictions on their practice of religion and military conscription, and much more were happening. Settlements in the central United States were opportunities for immigrants, as well as in Canada.
As we move forward a full century, plus a few decades, my thoughts go to my father, a first generation “German from Russia”. Looking back on the stories, I now better understand the challenge a child who only spoke German in the home, until he went to school. My grandparents raised 9 children in a home with an outdoor privy, and it wasn’t until my father was in his 20’s that they had indoor plumbing. My grandfather had a 4th grade education, and my grandmother went as far as 8th grade. Those grandparents made certain their children were raised in the church, they were educated beyond their own limited education and given the opportunities that America offered. My grandfather, an immigrant from Odessa, served the US Army during WWI, and my father, a WWII veteran was in the Army Air Corps. There are stories of my dad, being a tail gunner in a B52, and of being one of the few that could still speak a few words of German. He carried shrapnel in his legs his entire adult life. America gave him the opportunity to be educated, and he spent his life teaching in public schools. His brothers and sisters all worked in jobs of service to others, from Bureau of Indian Affairs to the local Fire Department to working at the local hospital as a nurse.
So today and in the last 3 weeks, I think about my family heritage. My cousin Vicky and her daughter Lisa helped me with filling in some of the blanks with dates.
It may have been Russia from where my grandparents came, but for nearly 30 years it has been Ukraine. I wanted to honor the struggles of the immigrants that left the Black Sea region, and emigrated to America. And I want to honor the Ukrainians who have built a democracy in the last 30 years, and are standing strong to fight for their country.
On March 1, 2022, Quilter Pat Sloan designed a quilt block and asked quilters around the world to help the children of Ukraine. Quilters Stand for Ukraine is a fund raiser, where individuals donate to UNICEF to help the children of Ukraine. The pattern for the quilt block below is available at that link.
Many quilters around the world have contributed, and at last look over $180,000 has been raised thru contributions to UNICEF. On the link above, Pat Sloan tells you about other ways to help as well. She makes reference in her post to Becky Petersen, who is “boots on the ground” in Poland doing AMAZING things.
When I made my block, I decided that I would hang it on my door which has a large window. I decided to make it two sided, and to find a way to honor my grandparents heritage.
I chose a pattern from Sashas Quilts (Oleksandra Derenovska) called Rise of Freedom. Her design is quite simple, and to be honest, I purchased it after I made my version. I want to support the designer, but I did not paper piece the one you see below. In my case I used 2″ squares for the project, (except the half square triangles).
What I loved about her design was what she wrote ” When I sewed my flag, I thought about my Motherland. Now this flag became a very great symbol of freedom and independence so beloved by me and each citizens of my country. I believe you will have fun sewing this quilt block. Looking at him, you will remember the struggle of my people for their identity and know that if we join together, we can turn the world upside down. I will always remember these days and the solidarity of the whole world towards my country.”
And I added some information about my paternal grandparents and their heritage at the bottom. i contemplated using the Ukrainian word for PEACE which is мир , but thought it worked better for my purpose to put it in English. I used my Janome11000 embroidery machine for the words on this project.
I hung it on my door, on the inside of the glass to protect it from weather.
There isn’t much, as an individual we can do, sitting here in North America, but the power of groups of people is amazing. Look for ways to help on Pat Sloan’s blog. Look for Becky Petersen’s blog & website QUILTED TWINS . Becky is doing amazing things in Poland, and her twin, Rachael, who runs the fabric store is helping from this side of the Atlantic. You know you can be confident that they are “real people” when someone like Pat Sloan has suggested them. (I’ve been following Becky in Poland on her blog for at least 6 years!) I love what Becky said at the end of this week’s blog post “On a macro scale, it seems like we can do little, but on a micro scale – in our little part of the world – we can make a difference. “
I took the class and we made the pattern she calls “To the Nines”. Carole writes a blog called From My Carolina Home . Do go check her her blog out. The pattern is available for purchase on her blog.
Last week, I was digging through my bin of blue fabrics and found a couple of pieces of yardage that went nicely with my To The Nines project. It felt great to take it down from my design wall, where it had been patiently waiting for a finish.
I added a 2.5″ white border all around and a 5″ blue border as the final border.
I had to piece the backing but that helped use up some stash too.
I quilted with Superior thread (Fantasastic 5021, 50 wt) in the color areas, and with Superior Bottom line SILVER in the white areas. I used a wavy stitch that I stretched to its longest size for the quilting. I think those wavy stitches in my border are making the whole border look wavy, but a good washing will help.
The finished quilt is a nice cozy throw size, 50 x 50. I used poly bat inside so it is a little puffy, but soft. Now, I just need to make a label this week and get it stitched on, then decide what to do with it.
For my “fabric out” count I will put 4 yards on the list for March.
Time to pull out another UFO to finish off. Do you make projects without an “end plan” just because you took a class or saw an interesting pattern? I will hang on to this one until after our April guild meeting show & tell, and then decide if it is a keeper or a gift.
You might remember my post a couple of months ago about cruising and the CDC. I did cruise in January of 2022 and had a fantastic time. We followed all the “CDC” protocols and felt perfectly safe the entire trip. As I said in that previous post, cruising felt safer than shopping at the big box store. Three of the ports we were going to had strict restrictions for cruise passengers, allowing us to only disembark on a ship tour, and maintain a “cruise bubble”. This was for our safety as well as the safety of the island residents. Everyone on the cruise was vaxed, tested, and some were boosted, so I doubt we were going to cause any problems on shore.
Side note – in January,2022, many cruise ships had to cancel various ports as their C-19 count on board was too high. While America was have 25-35% positivity rates, the cruise industry had less than 3%. Our ship got into EVERY port. That meant we had less that the number local governments were concerned with. As I write this, protocols are continuing to change, both in our state, and in cruising. Yes, I will cruise again, soon.
I flew to Fort Lauderdale and spent the night prior to the cruise in a hotel and shuttled over to the cruise port. Boarding the Enchanted Princess was fast & easy using the Medallion app. A quick document check and we were onboard before noon. My sister had reserved a handicap accessible cabin and I did a “video tour” if you are interested. Ours was a balcony cabin and I was surprised at how large it was, compared to a standard balcony. Plenty of storage and lots of room for a disabled person to move around in the cabin and on the balcony.
Next stop was a drink on the Lido deck!
Before I sailed, I booked excursion in many of the ports. This was a 10 day cruise, and I was ready for fun, adventure, and sun! (It had been snowing at home and I was already sick to death of winter).
Whenever I go to the Caribbean I make a point to “get in the water” if possible. January is best if you go to more southern ports for warmer water. With the exception of Antigua and St Lucia, I got into the water in each port. In St Lucia, I went ZIP LINING and that was the most fun I ever had….ever!
Our first stop was Princess Cays in the Bahamas and I made a beach day out of it. The water did take some getting used to, and the air temp was in the low 80’s. I played around with my little action sport camera there. It was fun to use, taking it under water while I snorkeled. There is a HUGE learning curve with these little action cameras, and between fins, masks, life jacket, goggles, snorkel AND camera, I was overwhelmed slightly trying to manage all the stuff and use the camera. I dumped my fins back in my lounge chair, adjusted the camera slightly, and kept at it. The water at Princess Cays is so darn clear. I chose to head to the quieter end of the beach where I had been in previous trips for my adventures.
I spent several hours on the beach and then had a break for an adult beverage and some people watching.
I snorkeled in St Thomas and we swam at Honeymoon beach. The current was a challenge for me at Buck Island where we snorkeled, but in the cove at Honeymoon beach it was fantastic. I have a waterproof bag for my phone and the video below is from my cell phone. We were enjoying just floating around with a plastic cup of rum punch in our hands.
In Dominica I did an excursion with a city tour, then to a waterfall and then to the beach.
The road to the waterfall is honestly the worst ride I ever took on a tour bus in my life. The ride took way more time than the time allotted at the waterfall, so I was disappointed. The hike was easy, and really, we didn’t have “enough time” to see the waterfall, or swim at the base.
The lush vegetation made the trip up the mountain worth the trip.
And knowing we had to go back down the mountain on the same road left me wondering why I ever booked this adventure. The description should tell potential customers that the roads are terrible, and it is an easy hike, instead of warning us of the “difficult hiking terrain”.
The views were great, the time at the beach was nice, but the food opportunities were seriously lacking. The beach was black sand, and you need your beach shoes/water shoes.
The water of course was fantastic. It was a relaxing end to the day after that crazy long bumpy bus ride.
Barbados is my FAVORITE beach island. The sand is like fine sugar. Because it is (was) one of islands where the local government required you to stay in a “cruise ship bubble” we had to take an excursion. We went to a place called Harbor Lights. The beach was great, the service good and nice facilities. I would recommend a beach day at Carlisle Bay. My friends on board wanted to go to “The Boatyard Club”, which we passed on the way to Harbor Lights, but it wasn’t available for the “bubble”. NEXT time I will give it a try. Harbor Lights had a cute bar area, shower area and food available for purchase. We had lounge chairs and umbrellas, but were directed as a group on where to “sit”, for bubble purposes. The water was warm and relaxing. It was a great place to swim, and to chill out. Not a spot for snorkeling but great for easy entry and relaxing.
In St Lucia, I went ZIP LINING and that was the most fun I ever had….ever! This was a bucket list item, and my daughters reminded me, none to gently, that I wasn’t getting any younger! I’m so glad I went for it!
No, I didn’t get “in the water” but the water got in me! It absolutely poured all day long. I donned my poncho and made the best of it.
We rode a gondola up the mountain and got rained on the whole time.
We hiked down the mountain to the first of 10 platforms for the ziplining. In small groups, with 2 guides, we had a ton of personal attention. This was a first experience for me and it was absolutely thrilling.
I was “partnered” to a fellow from Connecticut, and you can see in the photo below that he was making the best of all the rain. Yes, we had to wear our masks, outside in the rain, the entire time. (Glad I left a dry one in my bag in the locker down below).
The guides did all the work, hooking your harness to safety lines, and to both zip lines, and gave you a little shoulder push when you said you were ready. The guide at the other end slowed your speed down and brought you in to the next platform carefully, with no hard landings. I was a little nervous at the start but so excited and after the first run, it was obvious to me that it was extremely safe and I just smiled (behind my mask) the whole darn time.
If you can stand watching, this video is my “first line”. I had a wrist mount on my camera, and of course, was using my hands a lot, so there are lots of views that are of my shoes, and sideways etc. What you are watching is me on the first platform getting “hooked on” the line, zipping, then being stopped at the next platform. The guide on that platform sends a stop block out on the line to stop your descent and then bring you slowly into the platform. The first thing he did was hook a safety line to my harness, then disconnect me from both of the lines.
This next one is much easier to watch, and shorter. 🙂
All the platforms had a sign that gave you information, height from the base of the forest, weight restrictions and distance of the next line. I didn’t think to take pictures of all of them, but did capture a couple.
Soaking wet and laughing was the tone for the day! The only “not fun” part of the day was hiking back uphill in the rain and mud to the gondola platform for the ride back down to the base. That part was tough, and hard work, climbing up hill. Overall, if you ever get to St Lucia, or any other place that “Rainforest Adventures” has ziplining, go do it! The employees are awesome, and the safety measures top notch!
The only island I did not disembark and take a tour on was Antigua, and I have to say, now I wish I had.
I’ve been there before, and because it was such a port intense cruise, I felt I needed a break. I knew I would be a little tired after all the adventures, and I spent my day in the hot tub, on the back deck of the ship! The mountain hike with my zip lining trip was a serious workout.
Now, about the cruise – we were on the Enchanted Princess, a very lovely new ship with lots of technology. The best of that being we could use our Medallion App or our TV to order food and drinks for delivery wherever we were located. I spent my time onboard the ship going to performances in the Princess Theater and the various lounges, as well as going to see some of the fun game shows they have on the nightly schedule. The food, as always, was delicious and I made an effort to eat more fish this trip. Of course, I spend a lot of time walking the deck after dinner to work off the calories. During “sea days” it was nice to find a pool lounger and soak up some sun, or retreat into the shade after an hour or two. There were plenty of pools (4) and lots of hot tubs. The ship was about 50% capacity, and NOTHING was crowded. I won’t bore you with a lot of onboard photos, but will share one or two of my favorite views.
And, naturally, cruising in January means coming home to this —
With the snow in the forecast I reserved a hotel in Ft Lauderdale for disembarkation day, and knew well ahead that my flights were going to be impacted. I stayed an extra day and got home with no interruptions. It was a shock to my system coming home to the cold!
My next cruise is with my husband later in the spring, back to the Caribbean. I’ve already started planning our adventures for that trip! Fingers crossed most of the craziness in travelling with C-19 will be gone by the time we go.
What kind of fun is ahead on your radar? Would you go ziplining?
Hello to everyone who regularly reads my posts. I’ve been busy with travel and planning travel, and I promise an update soon on my recent trip. I have managed to get back into my sewing room and want to share a bit of what has been “under my needle”.
I did a project in February, start to finish. If you followed me for long you know some projects will “linger” a bit. This project was called a MONDO Bag. The pattern is by Quiltsmart. The pattern (and some 2 1/2″ squares) was a thank you gift my dear friend Nancy gave me. It was just what I needed to boost my behind back into the sewing room.
I studied the pattern, then took out the squares, and considered them all, and also dug out my box of 2 1/2″ squares, and pulled out some more. I think the pattern called for almost 200 squares. I decided on bright cheery colors. The basics of the pattern require you to “fuse” your squares onto pre printed fusible interfacing. The printed interfacing has a grid plus lots of other information.
I used glass head pins to pin my pieces in place so they didn’t “move” while I was artfully arranging them. I was trying to make sure that I didn’t have the same piece in the next panel. Once you fuse the pieces to the interfacing you do the stitching of the seams. You can see how the panels decrease in size once the stitching is done.
This was the fun phase of construction. Once all my panels were designed, pressed, and stitched, I really had to study the directions again. I even emailed a friend who “taught” this bag at a guild sit & sew for advice. And, to make certain I understood, I resorted to You Tube, where I found the actual company, Quiltsmart, with videos along with others.
I got the outer bag panels assembled, and to my dismay I had “matching” pieces touching. Sigh…..
Next up was the lining, pockets the handles and a key strap. The vote went to the bright fabric for this project. I decided to go with much wider handles that finished at about 2 1/2 ” wide. I hate to turn tubes, so I made them the way I would normally make a bag handle, putting some fusible fleece inside the handle, and top stitching. I also did two pockets inside. One is in a contrasting color.
So, all in all I enjoyed making this bag, and when I took it to my quilt bee in February, it inspired several friends to dig out their patterns and to work on theirs. I used fusible fleece inside of mine, as I had a bolt of it. Quick reminder was to change to a heavy duty needle (a 16 or 18) for the top stitching. It makes it so much easier!
I am counting fabric in & out of my sewing space and I will count this as 3 yards out, along with 1/2 yard in for those gifted squares.
At the end of the class, this is what I brought home –
I promptly “rolled it up” onto a cardboard tube wrapped in muslin and forgot about it because I was super busy with other projects.
Well….last week, I was finishing up some guild fabrics for Second Time Around and I tripped over a piece of pebbles fabric. Inspiration struck me and I need that 1/8th of a yard strip and pulled this project back out. I bought the piece of pebbles fabric and pushed aside what I was doing and added it to my panel from 2016.
Hidden away inside the panel roll was a packet of beachy buttons I had purchased at a show way back then. And, in amongst the goodies I received from Trish’s sewing room were packages of trims that got incorporated into the panel. I spent the last few days working on it and it is FINISHED and hanging in my living room. It took me 6 years to get around to finishing it, but only 3 or 4 days to actually finish it.
One thing I learned from Michelle Scott was that JUDGES hate messy quilt backs, and her trick was to “hide” all the messiness of the construction/quilting by “adding” another layer to the quilt after “most” of the quilting is finished. Well, adding all those couching threads and embellishments is messy work and I did just that. I finished the back with the same fabric as I had used when I made the sky. It was absolutely amazing to me that when I opened my bin of blues that fabric was there and had enough left to finish this project and squeeze out a binding too. Had to dig in stash for the contrasting piping color for the binding. So, for this project, 1/8 yard in, and 2 yards out!
I am working on blocks for a QOV for the Queen Bees, and counting my 10″ squares as ONE yard. The blocks are done, and ready to go for our March bee.
March Fabric IN = 3/4 yard March Fabric OUT = 6 March Total = 5 1/4 Year to Date = 7 out
NOTE – I “inherited” a whole lot of stuff from a friend in assisted living who passed away (Trish’s trims) early in February and am still sifting through it all. From the standpoint of fabric, most never entered my sewing room upstairs in my garage. 98% is in boxes, waiting to be delivered to a Mennonite group next week. I have 2 smaller totes that I took up to my sewing room and have not sorted through them yet. Once I do, I will add to my “IN” fabric .
Are you working on any new projects or keeping up with something that has been aging for a while? What about keeping track of “fabric in and fabric out” ? It certainly feels good to get a UFO off the list!
PETRI dish…..Avoid cruise travel……LEVEL 4….Regardless of Vaccine Status…..and so much more…GRAB a headline and run with it. Let me tell you WHY this is so overblown!
Here are a few travel bloggers / vloggers who spell it out clearly –
http://Morgan’s Unofficial Travel Guide – Morgan O’Brien spells out in this video the differences between cruising and visiting Florida theme parks. Morgan and his family spent 21 days in Florida visiting multiple theme parks and returned home (to Germany), and a week later popped positive for C-19, despite being TRIPLE VAXED. Be aware…NOBODY was checking vaccine status at the entrance to ANY amusement park in Florida or asking for your negative test results.
In order to cruise out of the USA, you must be “fully vaxed”, and present a negative test taken within 2 days of boarding the cruise ship. My recent travel (Oct-Nov 2021) on the Grand Princess required me to present my test results and vaccine card prior to boarding, and then I was tested 3 more times while on board.
The cruise ship I was on this past fall had a capacity of 25% !! Most ships are sailing way below capacity. As cruising restarted, the capacity has gradually increased, but let me tell you…it was like sailing on a private yacht! Yet, the CDC talks about the crowding…..
The theater never “filled up” so social distancing was NEVER a problem! Every entertainment venue on that ship was like this. EVEN the casino and sail away and deck parties.
My sister and I went to BINGO which is a popular activity on a sea day, and take a look at the “crowd”….
So; tell me about “congregate settings” ?? Petri dishes?? Nothing anywhere is as clean as these cruise ships. I have personally observed the rigorous cleaning, the mask wearing of the crew while outdoors, the mask wearing of passengers indoors except when eating and drinking. Elevator limits, hand washing stations at every food service venue, and all the hand sanitizer machines. Take a look at the “health protocols” with Princess Cruise lines – https://www.princess.com/plan/cruise-with-confidence/cruise-health/frequently-asked-questions/us-cruises/ NO WHERE else in America do you find this “level” of health safety protocols. Not in any hotel, airport, amusement park, shopping center, movie theater or sporting venue!
Another Cruise Vlogger – TONY – LA LIDO LOCA – talks about the CDC change to the cruise travel warning. He runs through the numbers and discusses an article from the Cruise Line industry association. The CLIA article states “Vaccination rates onboard a cruise ship are upwards of 95 percent—significantly higher than the overall U.S. population which is hovering at 62 percent” – “
The latest data show that, even with higher rates of testing, the cruise industry continues to achieve significantly lower rates of occurrence of COVID-19—33 percent lower than onshore.
According to the CDC’s color-coding system, a cruise ship may be determined to be “yellow” – and, therefore, subject to CDC observation – if a threshold of 0.10 percent or more passengers (i.e., 7 out of 6,500) have tested positive in the last seven days, or if even just one crewmember tests positive.”
So, yes, the latest variant is highly transmissible, but I submit to you that a cruise ship is far safer than a trip to your local supermarket, movie theater, big box store, restaurant, football game or other sporting events.
What do I love about cruising and why do I still plan to go in just a couple of weeks again?
I go for the FOOD
I go for the Entertainment
I go for the destinations
I go for the relaxation
I go for the fun in the sun
I go for the spa
I go to meet new friends
I go for the wine tasting and the afternoon tea
I go for the sunrise and sunsets on the water
and so much more.
Waiters who sing!
And I go for magical moments like this, when Hector, the head waiter, came to our table with his music and really lovely voice!
To quote Tom Pignetti, a doctor, who commented on the LaLidoLoca VLOG post linked above – “I do believe that the CDC is singularly focused on reducing cases and that they are NOT concerned with balancing out other concerns. Considering that, they exert their influence/control where they can. Since cruise lines share information regarding # of cases, that makes them easy targets. People are catching covid in their homes, grocery stores and other places in the community. I had ONE day this week where I had nearly 10 patients cancel appointments due to the patient or their spouse contracting covid. We continue to go to work and care for our patients. I will continue to cruise and am looking forward to my cruise on the Adventure of the Seas on January 26th. I am much more concerned about catching covid in the community BEFORE the cruise than I am catching it while ON the cruise.“
So, in spite of the CDC, I will continue to cruise. My next cruise is January 19th out of Florida. The risky part of the entire trip is crowding into the airplane, where I will wear my KN95 duck bill mask! I have chosen to spend my days “LIVING” instead of “WAITING”. And yes, I’m less concerned about catching covid on a cruise ship than I am in my community.
December is the month where I sew for gifts that can’t be shown on the blog until they have been gifted.
I’ve been sewing this month….a lot! I’ll share a few pictures now that the gifts have been opened.
A pair of table toppers, made using Moda Christmas fabric on the front and a heavier cotton twill fabric on the back. It gives the topper a little more weight, plus it makes it reversible for “after Christmas” if the recipient chooses. The pattern came from Carole Carter on her blog “From My Carolina Home“. She has several free patterns and this is the Hexagon Table topper.
I varied a bit from the pattern with the strip widths and chose not to do the really narrow strip. They were quilted in the ditch except that last round was done with two rows of wavy line stitching.
Aprons – One for the son-in-law, one for my daughter, and one for the granddaughter –
After the aprons came the pajama pants making. This year each grandchild got TWO pairs of pajama pants. I ordered coordinating long sleeve tshirts to go with the pajama pants. The paw print pair is fleece, the rest are cotton flannel. Some of the flannel prints GLOW in the dark.
My grandson seemed to really like the pajama pants from last year, and he was one of the first to put on those “gaming fabric” pajamas on Christmas. I prewashed and preshrank all the fabrics for the pajamas and the aprons. I washed with color catchers and one of those dark colors had a lot of “excessive” dye, so I gave both mom’s a few color catchers, and ordered them each a box on Amazon for “future washing”. It’s so hard to say which color ran because I prewashed together, but this is what the color catchers looked like after fabric was washed.
I was apprehensive about sewing with the fleece, but it was actually easier! No seams to worry about overcasting and raveling in the wash. I use a stitch on my Janome 8900 that is like an overcasting stitch –
It seems to give a nice finish to the inside of the pajamas.
I had a lot of fun shopping “pre-black Friday” with my friend Nancy. We hit a 60% off on flannel & fleece at JoAnn Fabrics and were able to find things to suit each kid, ages 5 – 9 – 11- 13. The apron fabric for the son-in law (Star wars) and one daughter (Harry Potter) were perfect. They really seemed to like it. The vintage style apron for my daughter was a royal pain in the neck, calling for 1/4″ wide double fold bias binding tape. I used the 1/4″ on the pockets and around the bottom of the skirt, but had to get 1/2″ for the front of the apron and straps. Oh, by the way….the brand at Hobby Lobby is only 3 yards in the pack, and the Wright’s brand at JoAnn’s is 4 yards…..just an FYI. My friend Nancy listened to me moan as I was making that vintage style apron…and suggested I shred the pattern!!!! I zipped right through the rest of the projects, but I have to say, I am very glad I did that vintage apron first, or it might still be on the cutting table. I pressed myself to finish, so I could get on with the rest of the Christmas sewing.
Now that the gifts are given, I need to get back in my sewing room and clean up the cutting table. I have the oddest amounts of left over fleece and flannel and will be looking for clever ways to use the bits up. Any helpful suggestions appreciated!
Hopefully your Christmas projects were received with smiles too.
Steve Sews Stuff! zipper pouches, pocket tissue holders, aprons, decorative pillows, aprons, fidget marble mazes, Christmas Stockings, Bowl cozies, baked potato zappers, pot holders, face masks, quilting and other sewing projects that Steve Sews. Plus blogs about sewing and quilting and other things.