And now, back to the Sewing Machine

I’ve been hanging out off and on with some lovely ladies at a local assisted living facility. My friend June, who is a resident there, asked me if I would come and sew with the residents. It’s really been a treat.

One day I came with a basket full of fabric, and this lovely lady in the photo below arrived (via her walker) with a tattered old pillow and case and asked to make a new cover for it.  She picked out fabric from my basket, and together we came up with a plan for an “envelope” style pillow cover. I thought it would be handy to have something removable that could be washed.  She liked my plan and I cut out the fabric.  She came with her “own” box of pins, still in their SUCRETS box (for the 1960’s I am guessing! She did all the sewing, I just stood by to rethread needles and wind bobbins, and iron as necessary.  In no time at all she had the pillow “slip-cover” made.  Then I took a look at the existing pillow.  Gosh, it was one of those pillow forms you buy and the actual cover of it was shredding.  My fingers went right through the covering and I could see where she had patched it over the years.

I suggested that the following week, we make a muslin cover for it, and stitch it closed.  So, the following week, I supplied an adequate piece of muslin, and again we  planned it out, I did the cutting and pressing and pinning, but Elsa stitched it herself. We stuffed her tattered pillow into that muslin case Elsa made, and sewed it shut. Then we put it in the lovely floral case that she made the week before.  It should last Elsa for many years.

Sewing with Elsa

Oh, by the way….did I mention Elsa had her birthday in early June?   She just turned 101 !!  My goodness she was happy to have that pillowcase!  (Did you notice her container of pins??)

I admired this grand “walker-tote bag” she moves around the assisted living facility with.  It has a lot of flair!  It was made by her daughter, and certainly was well done.

Elsa's walker bag

Our church project for the graduating high school seniors concluded in May.  We got together in early May and did the final layering and tying, then I brought it home to bind. (Susie’s Magic Binding of course….google it if you want to know more) Picture below is the finished quilt.

Lida Gannon quilt 2018

The quilt was presented on Mother’s Day, and the student in the photo below has the quilt over her shoulders, and is praying for her parents.  I just love the presentation at church.

Praying for parents The Gannon family

This is the first time in the 10 years I have been involved with this  program at church where we ONLY had one graduate.

My month of May was busy with a house hunting trip in the Washington DC metro area with my daughter. We spent a lovely week together eating interesting foods and wandering through countless rental properties trying to narrow down one that would suit her family for the next couple of years. I was in sticker shock over the costs of rental properties.

I had some time at 2 quilt bees, the Material Girls and the Queen Bees to do a bit more work on my “Autumn Jubilee” project.  I take the project with me when ever I go to a bee.  I now have 4 more placemats complete (except for the binding)!  No pictures until I get them bound!!

May and June also kept me busy with the From My Carolina Home mystery quilt – Scrap Dance Square Dance.  The final clue of the mystery came out in June, and was able to close the door on another successful quilt along. I had planned for a twin size, but once I had it all on the design wall, I realised the dimensions were just too small for my taste, so I made more blocks and “supersized” the twin.  (It is really a full according to the pattern, but I am calling it a supersized twin).

Scrap Dance Square Dance

It is 61×85 without borders or binding.  I will probably just layer it and quilt “as is”, because it is a perfect size. I love the spinning stars.  It is 98% scrappy. Only the white stars were created from yardage in my stash.

This project has been fun to follow on Carole’s Facebook Group – From My Carolina Home Project Sharing

I like seeing all the color choices others have made.

The pattern is still up on Carole’s blog page until the end of the month. Get it for free now, before she pulls it down to publish commercially.  It is quick, easy, and fun!

That’s it for me for now.  I have a sun dress pattern for a granddaughter all cut out and waiting to be sewn.  I am going to try to work on it “between things” this week.  I am handling the snacks at church again, all week, for the Vacation Bible School kids.  Right now, there are 113 kids registered. The shopping and organizing is done, except for ice cream and strawberries for later in the week. (And I have a volunteer who is handling that area).   I am gather motivation to crush 4 boxes of cookies in the food processor for VBS snacks tomorrow…..turning them into “sand” to go on top of vanilla pudding cups along with swedish fish!  And then there is the popcorn to pop for Tuesday…..wish me luck and pray for a wonderful week with the children.

How’s your sewing and June fun?

PS, if you are a prayerful person, pray for my friend June who broke her back in early May and is slowly recovering.

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Blue boredom Strings

I’m bored….I must be feeling better!

I’ve been cutting scraps for the last couple of weeks.  I can’t focus on my projects because I have had a run of bronchitis and the cough syrup and meds make me fuzzy.   I’m tired of being sick. I’m bored cutting scraps. I must be getting better!

I’ve missed a guild meeting, church services, my Queen Bee’s yesterday……My friends are calling and wanting to bring food or run errands, my Pastor called to find out if I was alive, I have missed newsletter deadlines at church…..I am not having any fun. 😦    I’m all done (out of patience) with the coughing!  With the terrible flu that is going around, I am avoiding going out to do anything. I don’t want to add my nasty germs to the mix.  Google said it takes 3 weeks to get over this, and my visit last week to the doctor confirmed what I already knew.  I decided it was risky to return to the doctor when I seem to be on the tail end. (Too many sick people to come in contact with at the Doc’s office)

For the last 2 weeks, all I have managed to do is stand at the iron and press scraps, and stand at the cutting table and cut into my “scrap management” sizes. This was a much needed therapy from being stuck in the recliner too sick to care.

Now, I am 3/4 of the way through the yellow tower of terror….down to the blue level, and only 2 more to go plus the basket on the floor underneath……progress…..

Scraps by color waiting to be ironed and cut

I’ve grown tired of fiddling with scraps. My string boxes (5 shoeboxes) were full.  No place to put any more cut pieces.  And my sewing machine is calling, loudly, to sew.  I can sit and sew for hours without expending a lot of energy. I MUST be getting better. It helps to just sit and stare out at the tree tops while I mindlessly sew.

I grabbed an old phone book, and removed some pages, got out the paper cutter and cut 6.5″ squares, and just started to sew. Three days, and 3 or more bobbins later, I have a few string blocks. 

Blue boredom

 The bronchitis is better, still coughing, reduced meds, so less fuzzy headed. My sewing room is calling to me. I am getting better.  SEWING IS THERAPY!

I just need 1 more 6.5″ string block to bring the number up to 60. (Fuzzy brain miscounted when cutting the phone book papers……)(Oh heck, why not…I should make 100…..)  Not sure what will happen to these pretty little blue blocks with their pops of purple. The will end up in a ziplock and I will add them to a charity quilt at some point.

Sometimes a little mindless sewing along with an audio book is the perfect medicine. (That, and the milkshake the hubby brought me when he was out running errands yesterday).  I might be cured……

Now, back to the scrap management. I feel inspired to clear out the rest of the blues that are pressed and on the table waiting to be cut……projects await and my fuzzy brain is clearing.

Do you do “mindless sewing” when you are bored? 

Linking up to  Oh Scrap! today.

 

 

 

BOMBOGENESIS and Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks 18-22

I did some “power sewing” yesterday ahead of the snow – or as the Weather Channel calls it the Winter Storm Grayson to Undergo Bombogenesis 

I was not sure what was going to happen overnight, as they have been hyping the storm all day on Wednesday. Honestly, the effort to “scare you to death” is something. Anything to make noise….I mean news.  I just know I am glad I am retired, and not making the 40+ mile commute to work!  Not to bore you with snow photo’s but thought you might appreciate a bit of my morning.

It snowed all night, and the cats were not sure about what was happening as they looked out their window perch. It was pretty early and so I had to use a flash….and got the eerie photo of Smokey with the glowing eyes…..Mittens is busy looking at the birds that are hanging out under the house eaves.  (This is the 1st time I have seen him up that high on the climber!!)

While the were peering out the window, I had to see what was up, and caught site of the oil tank which is only 1/4 full.  (I have “auto-delivery”, and did not like to see it that low with the days of extreme cold that are forecast between now and next week! Our low today is 12, and for Friday it will be 7 with a high of 17 both Friday and Saturday!)  A quick call to the oil company and they put me on the schedule for tomorrow!  (Keeping my fingers crossed….at least they “JUST” filled the propane for the heater in the garage……)

CHUCKY CAT!

There didn’t seem to be much snow piling up out front, and I noticed the winds were whipping from North to South…so I went out to the laundry room for a peak out back.

A little snow

I think that is about 6″ of snow in the foreground on top of the hot tub.  The roof of the porch along the garage has some interesting swirling snow. Note….my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage….I think I am staying in today!

Needless to say, I am VERY glad I power sewed last night!  Since I had ALL the fabric out in stacks on the work table for Grandma’s Kitchen (pattern by Pat Sloan), I dug in and worked on blocks 18 – 22. Hubby went to the train club yesterday afternoon and I sewed from 4 pm until after 11pm when he got back home!  It was funny when he came upstairs in the garage all covered with snow, and asked me if I realized how much had already fallen.  I didn’t have a clue.  I couldn’t really “see out” the window with all the sewing room lights on, but we had already gotten about 3 “.  I’d skipped supper and was oblivious to the weather.  (At least until one daughter decided to send me severe weather warnings!)

I set aside the fabric for Block 18 the last time I was out working in my sewing room.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this block with 4.5” corner squares.

Block 18 Pattern by Pat Sloan Grandmas Kitchen

I had fun with block 18, fussy cutting the yellow fabric.  I have used the pink and the yellow in other blocks previously.

I knew I wanted a stripe with block 19 –

Block 19 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 20 just had to be made with reds!

Block 20 Grandma's Kitchen

For Block 21, I dug in to a bag of scraps for the gray fabric, and actually in the leftovers from Addison’s quilt for the biggest part of the phone.  (Ok, so they are not 30’s reproduction fabrics, but I needed gray!) The dial circles were cut from a piece of “very modern” dot fabric.  Those dots were hard to applique stitch down.

Block 21 Grandma's kitchen

Block 22 wasn’t one that I felt excited about until I pulled the fabric.  Now I am rather pleased.

Block 22 Grandma's Kitchen

Just 3 more “feature blocks” and TONS of filler blocks to make.  A fun project.  I feel like I am catching up a little!  More color balancing to do as I proceed.

Are you on the East Coast of the USA getting hit with the storm?  Don’t you think these silly names they give the storms “over hype” what is just a snow storm???

Working on anything fun today?

edit – note – pattern for Grandma’s Kitchen is by Pat Sloan, and can be found at Grandma’s Kitchen Sew Along

Some Assembly Required

Thank goodness for great heaters! Our lows are in the teens and highs in the mid 20’s for the next few days and the last few days. (Some weather person fibbed about it getting into the 30’s yesterday….NEVER happened!) (In case you are a new reader, my sewing space is above our detached garage. I share the space with my husband and his model train workshop area). Hubby has a massive propane heater downstairs and I cranked it up to 60 yesterday for a few hours just after lunch, and it really heated up the “floor” upstairs.

While the hobby space warmed up we had a little “project” to assemble in the house.  Fed Ex delivered the present I got our cats….and hubby had to figure out which part went where!

Some assembly required

At some point, our cat inspector Smokey got involved in the activity –

Cat Inspector at work

He is the most curious cat of all and wants to be “in the middle” of anything you are doing! (He thinks he is helpful when I am trying to decorate the Christmas tree or dust the shelves).  Once the assembly was complete…I spritzed a little catnip spray on the new cat climber, and both cats were quick to climb around….and roll around…and like the fuzzy fabric….

Smokey's turn

There are 4 of those dangling white mice hanging from the new unit on elastic cording. We are expecting them all to be pulled off in the next week or so.  So far, only Smokey has been brave enough to climb to one of the higher perches.

On his perch

Once the cats figured out the new gift was for them, then we both ventured out to the garage to play.  The temperature went from  55 degrees when I started the all the heaters,  and before I was finished sewing for the evening it was 73, and I took off my sweatshirt!  We hate to “stop” out in our hobby area once it warms up, so dinner was not until 8 pm last night. Hubby was working on a “turn table” for the model railroad at his train club, and I was having fun  assembling the blocks to send to Carole.

In my last post, California Thomas Fire Quilts Help Wanted  , I shared with you information about making blocks for the victims of the fires out in California.

I had 6 blocks finished in that post. I spent some “quality time” in my sewing room yesterday, and I now have 16 finished.

Blocks for Thomas Fire quilts

I will be getting those out in the mail on Tuesday to Carole – From My Carolina Home

All of the fabric came out of my scrap storage system. Many were already cut into 5″ squares.   I did have to dig in the scrap bin of blues for those wonderful batiks, and in my neutral scrap box for the creams and off whites. So, there was some cutting involved as I prepped these blocks.  Truth be told, I now have about 15 or 20 MORE batik and neutral half square triangles made, so I might see if I can put a few more together before these go out in the mail.  I have some pretty floral fabrics that were part of a 5″ square collection that I made those coasters out of in my last post.

What are your plans for “making” things this weekend?

Model Railroad Open House

Today is the final day this year for the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club Open House.  Of course, we will have two more weekends this coming January to round out the 32nd Annual Open House Season.  What amazes me is the number of people I greet who are bringing their youngsters out to see the trains who came as a child!  I am also amazed to greet the “first timers”.  The club has been around for 33 years, and located in the same place for 32! It really is a tradition in many families in Maryland and Delaware to come “see the trains in Delmar” in November, December and January.  Disclaimer — I am the lady sitting at the front counter, shamelessly selling raffle tickets for 3 great train sets!  Check out this one –

Description on back of the box

Inside the box

Share with your friend in the Mid-Atlantic region, and come out this weekend or in January to see the great model train displays.

The club is located at 103 E. State Street in Delmar DE on the 2nd floor of Camelot Hall (Sorry, no elevator). Park behind St Stephens United Methodist Church.  Free admission, donations appreciated!

Alive and sorting

Greetings after a month on “the road and sea”!  I came home alive, but slightly unwell…with a nasty ear ache!!! That has been tended to, but flying home wasn’t fun!

I have been traveling since late October, and am glad to be back on my home turf!  I have been in Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Aruba, Columbia, Panama Canal, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, California, Texas, North Carolina (again), Maryland (again) and finally back to Delaware…..

Lots of great stories but no time until next week to share them, and the great photo’s with you of my transit of the Panama Canal.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving was celebrated with my daughter and her family. Then we rolled into the weekend with the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club Open House . We had nearly 900 visitors last weekend, and are gearing up for this weekend now.  (Yes, you still have a chance to come & see all the trains!)

This week we spent cleaning out & moving my dear friend’s ENTIRE sewing room out of her house to my house. (I did squeeze in time for my Queen Bees on Tuesday, while the hubby did some of the packing by himself). We packed out the entire room, including the wonderful cabinets her husband had custom built for her room.  Over 40 banker boxes and a dozen plastic totes, 3 loads in the SUV, and one load on the landscaping trailer later, we are tired and sore and overwhelmed with STUFF.  The pix of the stuff on the trailer is a bit “blurry”…probably because my arms are sore and tired~!!!~

cabinets

I have made 2 trips so far to donate items that are not things I will use, and to make room for her things.

off to the charity store

I had what I call the “sugar plum fairy vision” of how this beautiful cabinetry was going to work in my sewing room.  (This fair vision was without a measuring tape. )  My basic space (upstairs over the garage) is 10 x 17; exploding out into the 17 x 70 area….  I had hoped to replace my current furniture and use her wonderful unit, but it was NOT going to be an easy fit.

So; rather than tear my sewing room apart, and wait on the hubby to build new counter tops for the cabinets, I decided HE should use the wonderful L shaped unit. It is 10 foot long in each section of the L.   It fits PERFECTLY into the area where he was working on his model trains.

So, we spent yesterday clearing out stuff that had been sitting for 5 years; and moved the cabinets in.  Today, we had to summon up our muscles to carry the big counter tops upstairs.  They are solidly built and extremely heavy, and by the end of the day yesterday I begged off.  Once we got those counter tops upstairs, we had to get them set “just right” and get them secured to the cabinets.  It will be “after the train club open house” before hubby can start filling up the 16 drawers with HIS hobby stuff.

Hobby space for Bill

I am excited because he has been working off of a table for the last 2 years, and didn’t really have any space.  I am also thrilled he finally agreed to dispose of those things that have been “hanging around” for so long.  I think it is a real eye-opener, when you go to someone else’s home and help clear out.  We are buried in STUFF here, and I am beginning to convince him we need to “throw stuff out” or “move it along” to someone else.

Meanwhile, I have 40+ banker boxes of fabric and crafting items to sort through and “recycle”.  This is going to take me a while, and I want to do it with care and not get rid of something that my dear friend might be able to use at her new residence.  My friend has moved into an efficiency assisted living apartment with very little space.  I plan to make a small sewing basket for her, with essentials; and then will periodically take her a project that she had been working on. She was “in the midst” of embroidering some lovely pillowcases, so I am going to start with them.  I know she loves handwork, and if I only take 1 project at a time, she will probably not feel overwhelmed.  It was a good reminder to me to get busy and FINISH stuff!  She is like most quilters, a woman with many hobbies, and LOTS of projects on going.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video of my honey, holding up the light so I could take pictures. Don’t mind the mess….it means we USE this stuff & space!!

Bills new cabinets

Here after he is in my debt, because I gave up the coveted cabinets, but hey; that’s ok!  I gave them up for him to use!!  And I also gave him that great power strip on the table with 10 plug in spots and 2 USB outlets (Happy Birthday Bill! )

So, after being gone a month, I am behind on EVERYTHING !!!

What is going on in YOUR hobby space???

How do you measure success?

At the end of the day, as we left the Apple Scrapple Festival with an SUV loaded with boxes, my hubby asked if I thought the day was successful.  It is difficult to measure when you aren’t really there to “sell” a product.

Apple Scrapple is just a month ahead of the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club annual open house, and it is such a great opportunity to promote our coming event. It is FREE advertising for the club.  (One of our members RUNS the entire craft show and allocates the club a 9×13 booth space for no charge).

So, I figured the measuring stick was the open house brochures we passed out.   We took a case of 1000 brochures for our upcoming open house. (There were maybe 50 out of the top of the box when we started).   We brought back about 1/3 of the box.   Hubby printed out 210 “labels” with info on an EXTRA RUN (more about that in a minute), and every brochure with that EXTRA Run label was handed out.  I can say for certain, that we spoke to OVER 210 people.  My “guess” is we handed out something like 700 brochures, so I think it was a successful day.

All set up and ready for visitors

People would see and hear the trains running and walk over to the table to watch.  Usually they were in groups of 3 or  4.  The men were attracted because they had been “schlepping around the craft show” carrying bags for the wife.

(I am a people watcher, and most of the men would stand at the edge of the booth while the wife, mother, daughter etc looked at the various craft wares.  They were bored.)  (It’s a good spouse who will wander the craft show, but then…I’m sure those wives have done their bit at car shows, fishing shows, etc) (Please don’t be offended gentlemen if you happen to LIKE craft fairs…this is strictly my observation and conclusion with no facts to support my particular point of view.)

When the men got to the train layout the eyes would light up, and they got to chat with the club members, and we were not “hustling them” to buy anything.  Then the women would wander up, and look at the “display” more so than the trains.  It gave us an opportunity to talk about both areas of interest.

We would hand an Open House brochure to someone in the group, inviting them to come see the “big layouts” at the club.

2017 2018 open house flyer

Overall, for a week & 1/2 worth of work getting this display ready to go, I was really pleased with the reactions it brought during the day from the public. By the time you put the buildings on, the trees, the vehicles on the streets and parking lots, and get some trains moving, it starts to look like a nice little town.

Double track

This little 4×8 train layout was built on a Styrofoam base with a plywood bottom and sides. That is what we started with the first week of October.  In my previous posts, I talk about the scenery, track, etc. After we had it all set up, we added plexiglass around the edges to keep the fingers away from the trains.

20171014_083200

We took our 2 big open house raffle prizes to showcase.  We have a Polar Express and a Harry Potter set to raffle, and I was surprised that we sold a few tickets.  Not a lot, because that wasn’t the point, but some.  My point with the raffle tickets is to “show off” those great prizes, and not hustle sales.

20171014_083409

We had the special Maryland Delaware box cars, and sold a couple of them. (These are available on the club website if you are interested in one, and not in the area).

I took along my train “pillowcases” and sold 3 of them. That was all “bonus” in my opinion.  If we had a separate booth with more space for display, I imagine we could have sold more, and could have brought other items from the club to sell. Oh good thing we left those wooden train whistles at the club!

The member of our club running the craft show was pleased with our set up.  It “slowed” people down near the back of the cafeteria, and as they wandered away; they stopped at the food booth run by his church and family. A win/win for all of us I think.  His son is also a club member, and he did the big job of transporting the 4×8 layout and the saw horse it sits on.

I think we met our purpose, achieved our goal, and will encourage the members to do this again next year. We’ve had a few years without the train layout at the festival, and people “LOOK” for it. Of course, I wore the hubby out pushing to get this ready and to “do” this festival.   I took the lead and did all the planning and coordinating, list making, 75% of the loading and unloading; and a smaller % of the tear down and reloading. We had 10 folks show up during the festival to help with the “passing brochures”, talking to the public etc.

Now, it is time to unload what we are storing at home, and sort what needs to go back to the train club this week.  We have to get ready for NEXT Saturday, our EXTRA RUN, when St Stephens UMC has their Fall Festival.  The church asked the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club to open for the festival. This is a first for the club. The club is very grateful to be located on the 2nd floor of the church fellowship hall for the last 32 years!  So, if you missed seeing our little 4×8 display, take a run to Delmar DE and enjoy the St Stephen UMC Fall Festival, and come upstairs and check out the over 8000 square feet of layouts!  I’ll be there, at the front door, greeting visitors, selling raffle tickets and inviting them back for the annual open house season.