Airplanes and Ships

December was a busy month for us with hobbies, family and travel. The month just “flew by”.  This has turned into a “multi-modal” post!  Having been retired for over 6 years from the “transportation industry”, I love using those old “work phrases”….

Between Train club weekends, I had 2 workshops for 2nd Time Around, played host with my Queen Bees and worked on the final assembly of the Carolina Hurricane Quilt, got a 10 1/2 mile bike ride in with my daughter & granddaughter.

I started the month of December at the Train Club with the 2nd weekend of the open house season, and followed it up with a trip to the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting for the annual holiday luncheon, and another gathering of the Queen Bees for our Christmas luncheon and fun gift exchange.  Sadly in between, I was squeezing in trips to see a dear friend in her last days of hospice care, and got there as often as I was able.  No regrets, I did the best I could and hoped it brought her some cheer. I was blessed to be asked to help contact my pastor for the family, and my friend as well.  Somewhere in between all this, we managed to get the Christmas tree out of the closet and assembled, and some of the lights put on.

Hubby and I were at Philadelphia Int’l Airport waiting on our flight to Florida when we saw Air Force One land. Here is a quick video I shot – Air Force One at Philadelphia .  No matter which President is in office, seeing that plane land is always an awesome sight!  (And I worked in an industry where I saw giant cargo planes land all the time, and had Air Force One on our ramp on many occasions). I just think it is a beautiful sight.  The President was in Philadelphia for the Army – Navy game.  We made sure to arrive at the airport early, so we would not get caught up in the predicted traffic snarl that accompanies any US President when he travels to a city.

Heading to Ft Lauderdale to go on a cruise in December was a lot of fun (but a crazy idea given our calendar, but a much needed respite).  We arrived on Saturday, December 8, and sailed on the lovely Regal Princess on Sunday Dec 9. We had a beautiful mini-suite on board this ship.

Princess Cruise Ship - Regal Caribe 330

Regal Princess C330

The welcome aboard glass of champagne is always a pleasant greeting!

Welcome aboard

Of course, I have a full album of photos of the trip, and you are welcome to browse through them. Regal Princess Cruise photos .  I won’t bore you with them here, but suffice to say, I took a lot of photos.  Our week on the ship was lovely, and this ship is one of the ships using the new Medallion instead of the cruise card. It was an interesting, relaxing week.   I certainly enjoyed just being at sea, taking great walks on the ship, eating endless amounts of food and desserts! We finished out the week with an airboat ride in the Florida everglades before we flew home.  Like I said, multi- modal kind of week.

We got home 1 week and a day before Christmas, and ran thru the house getting the tree decorated, the other decorations up, and the lights out on the porch before the grandchildren arrived. We got home Sunday, and they arrived on Friday and let me tell you, we were zooming around getting ready, along with unpacking and a weeks worth of washing to do!

There is lots more to the December story, but I am out of time today!  Stay tuned….I have 20 minutes to get ready for another Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting before I race out the door.  Happy New Year.

 

 

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Cat bites the hand that fed it… and Secret projects

I have been very quiet on my blog lately, because it is time for SECRET PROJECTS!!   I am writing this on Thanksgiving morning (Nov 22, 2018) in the USA, but will schedule it to post for “after dinner”.  Thanksgiving Day feasting will take place at my daughter’s home and we have a bit of a drive to get there today.  My SECRET PROJECTS are being delivered there today, which is why the delay in the post going live.  I like to gift before I show them on the blog!

I’ve been playing with my embroidery machine a lot lately.  It seems that I can manage the embroidery machine and changing threads pretty well, 6 weeks post-op. My fingers are still pretty stiff, but moveable, and the surgery site is now healed nicely.

I have done some sewing, webbing together the quilt top for the My Carolina Home Hurricane Quilt Drive. Now I need to clean up the embroidery supplies, pack away the box of stabilizers and make room at my sewing machine to get the rows on that webbed top stitched.  My motivation will be delivering it with the backing fabric and the batting at my Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday!

Before I show you my SECRET PROJECTS, I want to share another story.

 We have 3 cats, one outside and 2 inside.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know about my cat Mittens….of the pet mosaic quilt.

20160820_224628

                           Sweet face Mittens

That sweet innocent face inspired the quilt below –

 (If you do a search on my blog you will find many posts about that project.  Here is just one –  Pet Mosaic piecing complete  )  

Mittens wins Viewer's Choice at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show

Mittens has chosen my husband to be “his person”, while Smokey has chosen me to be “his person”.  Our outdoor cat is their mother, and she has chosen us both.  She really like my husband “better” than me.  

 Anyway, here is the story.  Hubby does floor exercises daily for his back, and Mittens likes to help him.  While he is on the floor stretching, Mittens loves to chase his shadow, get petted etc.  

Well, one day a little over 2 weeks ago, hubby stopped petting Mittens while he stretched, and had his head turned away. Mittens decided he wanted more attention and pounced, as cats will do.  Along with the pounce came a “love bite”…only this time, it was a BITE that broke the skin and punctured into his hand,  4 canines! Got the hubby’s attention, got Mittens some negative attention as a result! Hubby washed it off, and didn’t think much about it until 72 hours later when his hand got swollen, and red marks appeared.

 A trip to the doctor was already on the calendar, so he showed it to the doc at the appointment and was immediately put on antibiotics, and scheduled to return the following day.  By the next day, the swelling was worse, a red streak up the arm and the doctor took one look at it and sent him to the Emergency room for IV antibiotics.  Long story short, he spent 3 nights in the hospital, with IV antibiotics, the surgeon checking periodically to see if he might have to do his bit to clean out the hand etc. The hospital stay was followed by another 15 days of antibiotics.  Fortunately, he did not need the surgeon, and is on the mend!

 Moral of the story according to our family doctor – a cat bite is the WORST bite you can get.  He told us that we must come in to see him if it ever happens again, and get on antibiotics immediately!  Turns out, cats have bacteria on their teeth that gets “sealed in under the skin” when the teeth retract from the bite. The wound is considered a puncture wound, and no amount of washing & application of antibacterial cream will reach the bacteria.  Web MD has some really good information.  I read that before the visit to the doctor the first time, so I knew what was coming. 

So between recovery from my own surgery and dealing with hospitals for hubby, I have been able to spend time in my sewing room.  I do feel like I have given the embroidery machine a good workout.  Some secret projects will wait for after Christmas for the reveal, but others, you can see now.

I am enjoying what they call “in the hoop” projects.  With my little Brother PE500 and it’s maximum 4″x 4″ design space, I have found countless designs to stitch!  I love these little Gingerbread boys and girls –

Ginger boy and girl

I stitched them out on vinyl that I picked up on Sunday.  I also stitched out some on craft felt and I like them too! They were so much fun to stitch, and I thought they would be fun Christmas ornaments for this year for each of the grandkids.

A collection

I also had some fun stitching out other ornaments on white vinyl –

Ornaments on White

This is a first working with vinyl on the embroidery machine, and each time I played a bit with the stabilizers, toppers etc.  Overall, I had fun and I am pleased with the outcome.

I also thought I would take the Thanksgiving host a few dishtowels.

Enjoy life one slice at a time

Save room for Dessert

Bake the world a better place

These terry towels I picked up last winter, and have been “waiting” for the right time.  I have now run through about half of my supply, but have a few left waiting to be used for other projects.

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and for taking the time to comment.

I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!

Stitches and more

I am still hanging out…waiting on the stitches in my hand to be taken OUT in another week!  Things have been quiet on my blog because I haven’t been doing too much.  (Stitches are from surgery, not rotary cutter injury!!!)  Anyway, I am healing and puttering about trying to find ways to entertain myself and not get totally bored.

Two days post surgery I had a morning gathering of quilters come work with me on “Second Time Around” fabrics.  I was pretty useless, so I did things like pretend to iron, and organize, teach and answer questions.  My helpers were great.

The next day I was able to remove the surgical bandages and wash my hair~!~  (If you have been restricted you must know how great that was!) There is really nothing worse than trying to shower with you hand in a plastic bag all taped up! I am now using small bandages which I can change myself and do so everytime I wash my hands.

By the time the next round of helpers came on Monday to work with the “Second Time Around”, I was in much better shape and able to do the ironing with no difficulty.  We got a lot of fabric worked in the last week, setting some aside for the April  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show.  I have a big booth to fill with fabric at the show for the guild, and there are going to be some beautiful pieces for sale!  One of my faithful helpers, Joyce, worked at home folding and sorting and arranging fat quarters.  I picked those up from her on Friday morning and I have to say, the arrangement is beautiful.  I think there were at least 75-100 that she folded in cute little triangles.  I am setting those all aside for the quilt show, along with those fantastic patriotic ones I got from another friend on Thursday! It’s hard to not put these all out at the OWQG meetings and to save them for the show, but I want to have the very BEST items at the show!!

I’ve been sorting through donated buttons too, bagging the sets up to prepare to sell.  My dilemma with buttons is how to make all the work of sorting and bagging pay off.  Buttons are a funny thing.  We all buy them, we save them in metal tins, and cute jars or funny boxes. We dig through the box looking for “just the right one”, and when we can’t find it, we go to the store, pay $2-12 for the PERFECT button, use one on the card and throw the rest in the button tin!  I’m looking for creative ways to “market” those buttons at the guild meeting and the quilt show. One of my daughters suggested some “button craft ideas” might help, so I started a Pinterest Button Fun page to gather ideas.

I figured out how to pad the palm of my hand successfully so I could go bike riding, 1 week post op. I have enough grip strength in my right hand to operate the back brake, and to hold on to the hand grips.  This week we got in 2 rides, so I  am happy!  (Last week I only got in the one ride on Sunday at the State Park, so I needed to get out!)

I rode on Wednesday night in the Lifecycle Community Slow Cruise with 25 or so folks.

bike ride milford wed 10 10 18

Headlights, tail lights, bright clothing are in order when you ride just after the sun sets.  I added a light to the back of my bike helmet that flashes red, along with the usual ones on the bike.  I also put on my bright yellow reflective safety vest that I picked up at the local WalMart.  I want to make sure drivers can see me at dusk and later.  Here is a picture of our group right before we set out for the ride.

Bike ride wed night 10 10 Milford

Our usual Thursday morning ride got “rained out”, so I asked my daughter if she would like to try for Friday morning. Hurricane Michael passed through our area on Thursday as a tropical storm, and the weather changed to FALL on Friday.  We got together at Lifecycle and 4 of us went for a ride.  Check out this great video & post. Burley babies  .My daughter led the ride, pulling her toddler a Burley trailer.  I am trying to keep up with those young parents, and do ok most of the time. Our Friday ride was wonderful, great crisp weather, though half way through I had to stop and take off my red windbreaker and stuff it in my backpack.  (Note to self…bring the thinner one next time or wear a long sleeve tee-shirt!)

My daughter leads this route and the only challenging thing is crossing one road near the fire station in Milford.  Took us about 5 minutes to get a break in traffic to get across.  There is a wonderful path in front of the shopping center along the highway, and around the corner…then it just “ends”.  No crosswalks etc.  And no real way to cross at the traffic light.  So we try to cross just down the road at the next corner, but it is tough, because there is so much traffic from the highway, and so much traffic coming out of town toward the highway.  Overall, Milford is a very bike friendly town.

bike ride Milford Friday 10 12 18     5 miles

For the most part, drivers in Milford are very respectful of the Delaware bike laws, which gives bikes “the lane”.  Delaware Bike Code is also very “bike friendly”, yet a lot of motorists are not aware of the latest changes.  A prominent citizen was hit and killed last year on a bike and the driver went to trial recently. The driver is awaiting sentencing later in the month.  Basically, the law requires that vehicles can pass a bike in a lane only when it is safe to do so, giving the bike at least 3 feet of space between the vehicle and the bike, or by going into the opposing lane.  There are not many shoulders that are safe to ride on (unpaved), and attitudes about bikes are all over the spectrum.  One reason I like riding in Milford is, for the most part, the streets in town are wide, all have 25 mph limits.  Bikes are allowed to ride 2 wide in the lane, and operate just like a motor vehicle.   The more I ride in group events the more I see drivers who are aware of the laws.  I observe the other riders giving friendly waves to motorists and see the friendly waves coming back.  So, being seen is good, being acknowledged by a motorist is better with a wave. Did you know, in Delaware, it is illegal to HONK at bike riders to facilitate them to get OUT of the motorist way.  We did have a friendly tractor trailer driver give our big group a nice air horn “toot” when he was traveling in the opposite direction the other night.  He was waving out the window too.  That type of honk was friendly & fun, not scary!

After riding, I did need to ice the hand a bit.  Keeping it in one position on the grips was challenging, so I did try to adjust periodically.   I am trying to follow orders, so I am keeping the ice on periodically through the day to prevent/reduce swelling.  This makes it tough to do any real sewing or spending long periods in the sewing room.

I did make some pot holders on Sunday. My husband has been my assistant, taking things in and out of the oven and was complaining about our old thinning pot holders.  My friend Nancy tossed a scrap bit my way Saturday that was perfect for pot holders, and using my Fiskars 60mm stick style rotary cutter and a fresh blade, I was able to cut the pieces and some batting and Insul Bright thermal batting to size.  Sewing was easier than I thought, and since these were 8×10 pieces, they were easy to quilt. I quilting some warm and natural to each piece of fabric, then sandwiched the Insul-bright in the middle, and added just enough quilting to hold the layers together and keep the Insul Bright from shifting.   I had a terrible time binding them, as my fingers were just not “nimble enough” yet.  They are about 7.5×9.5 finished, and they work, but every time I look at that binding I cringe.  Not my best work, but I do have an excuse and they function.  I certainly won’t take the binding off to fix them at this point. He likes the Insul Bright layer, but said they were rather “stiff” .  I think washing will help to soften them up.

worlds worst binding

There was “just enough” of this cute fabric to get 3 pot holders.

I have played a bit with my embroidery machine this week.  I was able to get something hooped and stitched out.  The project turned out well. I took the embroidered piece and incorporated it into a project for a Christmas gift. No pictures until after Christmas. Secret stuff……  

My embroidery club had the monthly gathering on Tuesday, and I stitched out some free standing lace (FSL) ornaments.

Free standing lace ornaments

I got a little worried when the 2nd one was stitching, thinking I might just “run out” of the gold thread!

Close call

 I still need to put the item back in the hoop and get one or two more stitched.  I learned from one of the members to cut a “larger piece” so I could get more than one in the hoop.  This saves on the stabilizing products. The next ones I stitch out will require a different spool of thread I think!!

 I had a couple of Free Standing lace  (FSL) “FAILS” on Monday when I stitched up a couple of designs.  I don’t know if it was bad digitizing or poor efforts on my part, but the designs fell apart when the vilene was washed out. I was so disgusted, as one design was more than 20,000 stitches.  That was a lot of wasted thread!  I got so mad I deleted all the designs in that group from my computer !  They looked perfect until you washed away the vilene!  Keep your fingers crossed on these designs.  I have 3 friends doing LOTS of FSL to decorate a Christmas tree for a charity event, and I thought I would give it a try.  I am going to survey them to get info on the designs they had success with to order and add to my collection.  

I got a little “design crazy” with embroidery downloads this week, and have some plans for gifts.  I found myself overloaded with the “color charts” that I print when I download a design.  I added 3 new “notebooks” to my filing system, and spent an afternoon “filing” designs in them.  I broke out a couple of categories into their “own” notebook.  I belong to several Facebook groups that send you in search of free designs, so I didn’t spend much on the designs, other than ink and paper.

I read comments/questions from people in groups about how to organize your embroidery design downloads.  I feel like I have a good system.  I have a folder on the computer for all my embroidery design downloads.  Inside that folder are many subfolders, by category.   I have 53 MAIN categories, the rest of the folders are “sub” folders.  My categories are things like Animals, alphabet, verses, sewing designs, Christian, transportation, holidays, seasons etc.  Inside a category, like SEASONS, I have sub folders, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, FALL.  Inside each of those sub folders are many ZIP folders with the designs.    I have 1.5 g b in files – 8007 files in 500 sub folders.  That is a LOT to contend with if they were not organized.  

Usually when you download a design it comes in a ZIP folder, so that accounts for the number of sub-folders!  When I print out the color change sheet, I try to file them in a notebook under a tab  that mirrors what is on the computer.  This helps me “find” the actual design on the computer when I want to use it.  I also try to “add” detail to the automatically assigned file name when I download, using what is printed on the color change sheet so I can make sense of it later when I want to stitch out the design.  All in all, this seems to work for me. Most of the designs I have were freebies.  I’ve posted previously about my “sources”.  I very rarely buy a design.  Hubby saw one the other day while I was working on the computer that he wanted for a gift project, so I did break my “no buying” rule.    I am curious how others organize their designs.  I have a friend who just keeps them in the “download” folder on the computer, but has challenges finding what she wants.    

I hope you have been taking the opportunity to follow along with Carole’s Autumn Jubilee posts.  Her post yesterday included an Autumn Jubilee Placemats Sew Along.  Be sure to follow her blog and sew along for a chance to win great prizes.  Are you “sewing along”?  I am following along this season due to my limitations, but enjoying all her posts!

Have a great weekend!

 

The little things

I do believe it’s the little things that make life fun.  Hubby and I took a ride to Philadelphia last week.  On our drive, once we broke free from the rain, we had a chance to see a fantastic double rainbow.  I was not driving so chanced a few shots thru the wet glass.

Double rainbow

And just when I thought we wouldn’t see it any longer, we went around a bend and I got this –

RAINBOW

The rest of the drive was without rain, for which I was thankful. I called this shot God’s Promise!  It did help me to find a bit of calm to get through the next few days. (Boring medical stuff ….insert sigh here). (No you can’t see those pictures!)

Once back home, we got ready for the arrival of the grandkids along with their parents for the weekend. Coming home from an outing on Saturday, we had a visitor in the driveway. My observant daughter saw the visitor, and I was able to encourage him into the lawn to avoid being run over.

Yard art

Since the kids were visiting on the first day of fall, I decided to put my Autumn Jubilee placemats out on the table. Early one morning the 6 year old was playing with legos at the table, and making a little vignette. I reached into the china closet and pulled out some extra “goodies” to help decorate her lego village.

Autumn has arrived

These little pumpkin candles and cornucopias were favorites of my husband while he was growing up, and he cherishes them. Vintage bordering on antique! His mother carefully packed them away every season into a “cheese box” and into the china cabinet they went. My 6 year old granddaughter loved the little girl witches and the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. They are fun to take out and have on the table for a little while!

Vintage candles

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a 29 cent price sticker on the bottom of one from the  5&10 store! (Circa 1950).

My 6 year old granddaughter needed a little extra grandma time on Sunday morning, and asked to go to my quilt room.  Once there, she decided she just LOVED a block on my design wall.  Well, she loved 2 blocks, but narrowed her choices to one. In no time at all, we had a little 15″ envelope style pillow case made and stuffed with a pillow form.  She did all my pinning, while I chatted with her about what I was doing. She wanted to make a gift for her big sister, and in under an hour, we were finished!

quick Pillow project with granddaughter

We got the pillow form stuffed in and into a gift bag just in time for departure!  (No the pillow didn’t get quilted, but I think the recipient didn’t mind or notice!)  The funny thing is, she was drawn to the colors of the blocks that my friend had “handed off” to me as UFO’s.  Thanks for the blocks Pam!! The block went to good use!  The little things…

Before you knew it, the weekend was over and the house settled into quiet again. I miss the little voices when they leave. It was wonderful to have both daughters and all 4 grandkids and 2 son-in-laws around the dinner table on Friday night and to listen to the laughter and the chatter and the stories.

I have continued to play with my embroidery machine as time permits.  I had fun working on dish towels – 

Start with Coffee

Espresso design

These 2 designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies website.  I have a special person in mind for these.  I did two other designs, but won’t show them quite yet…because I forgot to photograph them!

I did a little more quilting on the never ending placemats —

Batik placemats

This is the end of the line with 18 placemats. These need trimmed and they all need squaring up and binding.  I did all the quilting with ONE of my favorite Superior Threads –

Superior Batik Blue #5021

Batik Blue #5021

Superior Batik Blue Fantastico

It’s the little things…..I finished my machine quilting with thread left on the spool and 1/2 a bobbin full. I usually shop for thread at quilt shows, and will have to keep my eyes open for someone vending Superior Thread in the next month or 2! Otherwise, an order will have to go out.  This is the 2nd spool of this thread that I have used and I just love how it blends!

I brought home a quilt to bind, from the assisted living facility where I have volunteered for the last 9 months. I made the binding 2 weeks ago, and this afternoon got it trimmed and bound. I think the “first time” quilter, Trish, did a fine job.  I will deliver it on Thursday to her when I go to volunteer.  I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” and love the little pop of color the flange gives the edge of the quilt. This method is done all by machine, no handwork, which is why I love it.  It’s the little things…

Trish's baby quilt

I’m feeling grateful for the new members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild who have come the last 2 Monday’s  to help me with 2nd Time Around prep for the Quilt Show. And for my co-chair who keeps taking home large quantities of fabric to prep!  I love that people are so willing to volunteer.  And I love that people in the guild are willing to donate their “scraps” and unwanted fabrics. We had the most BEAUTIFUL batiks come through the donations!!  (No – my placemat batiks did not come through the guild…they came from a friend at my church!)

The rest of this week is busy busy busy, with the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday, and hopefully a bike ride on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning!  I missed riding in the last 3 weeks!  Another fabric donation pick up on Wednesday morning, a few appointments scattered in, and more 2nd Time Around prep for the guild meeting next Monday.

In the coming weeks, I am not going to be going at my normal pace.  I need to have 2 surgeries on my right hand; so my involvement will be limited to doing what I can with the “other” hand.  For a 2 handed typist, my blog posts will be scarce, projects limited etc. For 2nd time around, I will be restricted to folding and pressing with “the other hand”.  I guess I can sort and price buttons!!   And boy, do we have some awesome buttons!   Like I said, it’s the little things.

As you go through your day, look for the little things to find joy!   

.

 

Summer fun and never ending projects

At our house, summer is always full of projects that will never end.  

Several years ago I spent the entire summer (it seemed) rebuilding a picket fence, sanding and staining fence pickets.  Thinking back it was BEFORE I retired, so that was more than 6 summers ago.  

Then there was/IS the porch swing that I sanded and repainted, the summer the garage was finished. (Again, before I retired).

Swing frame

 All of it, except the swing part.  I got distracted and the swing stands in the garage waiting.  Maybe next week!  If it ever quits raining! Oh, and those porch rails and pickets that I sanded and restained while the porch was being renovated…the top rails need some work again.  Seems as though it is always something that is less fun than sewing!

 The garden…well…it is overgrown with weeds and it is simply to darn hot and humid to get out in it to weed.

 The ONE nice day we had last weekend was consumed by a yard work task.  Hubby decided he wanted to tackle some of the overgrown stuff that had been neglected for 2 years.

SO, I left my sewing room, donned my gloves and pitched in.

 We tackled brambles, and vines, and wild cherry trees, and BAMBOO.  EVIL AWFUL TERRIBLE BAMBOO.  

Honestly, I would like to strangle the person who planted this crap decades ago.  On our property, we have wisteria, privet, trumpet vine, honeysuckle and bamboo. One would be problem enough, but all of these run and have to be constantly taken down, cut out, trimmed back or they overtake the property.  We have finally gotten the worst of the bamboo that ran along the property line under control when the neighbor started to work on “his side”.  There are the odd bits out front but they are not anything like they used to be and an afternoon of cutting eliminates them.

 Out back, well that is another story. Behind our garage we have a big open gravel area that we had cleared when the garage was built. Then we have woods. About an acre and 1/2 of woods behind the garages. The bamboo has overtaken part of the woods to the point I don’t think we can do anything about it.   We could cut everyday for the next month and not make a dent in it.  

Hubby had a nice bed of daylilies between the lawn and the back driveway that he enjoyed tending.  Then, it too filled with bamboo, (while I was sewing one day I think) and he was overwhelmed. We really know it got out of hand during the 3 years where his back just would not allow him to do much more than mow the lawn, and I was sewing!

So, this past Sunday afternoon, with my gloves on, he and I tackled that 4×15 foot bed cutting bamboo.  We spent 4 hours!  He was able to hold back the top of the stocks with the rake, while I worked with the big clippers cutting it off at the ground.  Can I explain how my legs still hurt 3 days later.  TOO much bending over at the waist!!  He would pile it up in his cart and take it to his “spot” in the woods where he piles brush. Nature takes care of the composting and over the years, our cuttings have made great beds for the rabbits and the deer that frequent our back acres.  Once all the cutting was finished, he uses his mulching mower and cuts away any stalks that stick out above the ground level, and mulches up all those “leaves” the bamboo has left behind.  He has been working hard at finding the big runners that have crossed under his gravel driveway, digging them out.  This little area we cleared doesn’t look like much, and he will spray it with ground clear for the next 2 years to kill off any other sprouts that might pop up.  Then, and only then will he try to plant some grass back in the spot, and hope the bamboo doesn’t return.  

EVIL Bamboo

Yes, those are pile of cut bamboo stacked up in the foreground, and in the background all that you see is mostly bamboo, mixed in with the hardwood trees.  We were hoping the tree canopy would prevent the bamboo from growing, but the bamboo just keeps getting taller and taller.  Some of those stalks are 30 foot or more high.  What a pain!

NOW you can see why I was happy to escape back upstairs to my sewing room in the rain on Monday!

Tuesday morning I took another long bike ride with my daughter and granddaughter. What a relief to escape the yard work! We got out early before the rain!  We biked from 9 until noon, a total of 6 miles, with stops at the nature center to see the fish and at the playground to let the littlest person run off some energy.  Much more fun than cutting bamboo.  Don’t think the back of my legs was ready for another 4 hours of work in the yard.  We have been bike riding now together 3 or 4 times, 6-8 miles each time.  Turns out, I really enjoy the diversion, the exercise and of course, the company.  Once a week has been our goal together.  Of course, she is working on me to invest in a newer, lighter weight, more efficient bike. This antique I ride was her older sisters bike all thru school, and she is having her 20th class reunion this year.  Maybe a 21st century bike is in order.  Pondering…..

Biking fun

When I came home, I saw the hubby was occupied writing an article for his model railroad club newsletter, so I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in my sewing room. I told him I was held captive in the garage by a rain shower!  (Good excuse for an 8 pm supper!)

Remember those placemats?  Well, I made MORE.  I got the 4 additional ones finished, and had my 12 I wanted.  And then, well…just kept sewing.  We are up to 18 now.  I am starting to think about how to back them.  Since these are totally scrap happy, I wonder if having a plain muslin back would make sense?  I have LOTS of muslin thanks to Dottie L. at church.  Going to consider that….while I prepare some “scraps of batting” for these.  I was happy to use some of the batik scraps my friend Nancy B saved out for me to give some more bright colors to the last 6.

More placemat fun

I still have 6 blocks left and miles of batik strips, so I am certain there are more to be made.  Maybe I will mix them all up, and dole them out in groups of 6 for gifts, and just keep the table runner for myself.  I really have had fun playing in the batiks.  (Much more fun than yardwork!)  Off to the sewing room…..shhh…don’t tell the hubby the sun is shining!

What are you doing for fun this summer???  Do you have some of those never ending tasks that you hate to work on??  How do you balance things?

Small projects and small bits

Gosh, since the last post I have been washing & ironing that fabric I talked about.  The vinegar was a great success in ridding the fabric of the smell of smoke.  The big pieces washed up nicely.  I can’t say that about the small pieces.  Even putting the pieces in lingerie bags the strings created a balled up mess of fabric.  I have spent countless rainy days untangling the mess and ironing those bits of fabric.  Has it paid off?  I hope so.  There were LOTS of 2.5″ strips that I will trim to 2″; and many blocks that were sewn in preparation for joining into a quilt that need now to be squared up.  I have over 100 pieces that were parts of a quilt that I pressed and will end up subcutting to rid the ragged edges and turn the fabric  into something that is usable.  There were yards and yards and yards of fabric that just needs a slight trim, and measured & folded to be sold at the guild.   So, I will let you know when we sell it at the guild and see what kind of money it brings.  The small stuff may not be worth selling and end up in the scrap boxes. And, if you read my blog, you know I love scraps.  Our guild had a class in March that got people excited about scraps, and I had someone stop over this week to go into the scrap boxes, looking for bits for her “wonky houses” she wanted to build.  At our quilt show next spring, we will fill a playpen with scraps and let shoppers fill their bags for a nominal fee.  While sorting to wash, I found small quilt tops that hadn’t been finished, and now they will end up as charity quilts later on.

In between the rain storms that have kept the entire East Coast of the USA wet and soggy for nearly 2 weeks, I have ducked out to my sewing room and made another sundress. This one is also a size 3, for my youngest granddaughter.  The one I made previously I had to shorten.  I shortened the pattern before I made this sundress.

Front Size 3 cotton dress

FRONT – size 3

Size 3 cotton dress back

BACK – size 3

This is a BURDA pattern, and goes together quickly. The dress is 100% cotton, and her mother is not going to like that it might need to be ironed.  Grandma will have to stick to “Tutti Fruitti” fabric for future sundresses. (Or bring it home to be ironed….)  I dropped it off on Sunday after church, and hoping she will “fit” into it for a time!!  Kids grow so fast!

I had an opportunity early in the week to go fabric shopping with my Queen Bee friends and I picked up more Tutti Fruitti at JoAnn’s for my stash.  Since I have been in the “fabric washing mood”, I washed it, along with all the other that I had on hand.  I’ve mastered this pattern for sundresses, and have dug in my drawer of patterns and began thinking about other sundresses I might want to make.   I made a lot of sundresses for the older girls when they were “this size” and may now repeat some of those patterns for the youngest.  The big girls are coming to visit next week, so there will be at least one size 5 started while they are here.

Sunday afternoon.  I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.  I picked up a stack of 4 3/4, and 5″ batik squares my friend from church gave me. I played around with them, making half square triangles.

Batik HST

I ended up trimming them to 4.5″ when they were finished. And then I decided to build some blocks.

Playing with batik HST

This was kind of “no pattern/mindless” sewing.  And FUN sewing.  My hubby wondered what I was up to .  He & I played with some of those fuzzy stringy strips that I washed….and wove sashing in between and up and down.  Nothing really hit me, so I left the strips and the blocks hanging on the design wall for a few days.

Today, I came up with a plan!  Table runners…….so I have got one started!

batik fun

The blocks are 7.5 and the strips are 2″.  As is, I think, finished, it will be about 18.5″ wide by 35.5.  I like my table runners a bit longer, as I have the leaves in my table all the time, so I might go one more ‘row’, if I have enough fabric for those cornerstones.  Otherwise, I will leave it “as is” and start putting the other blocks together with different sashing and cornerstones, and make another runner or maybe placemats.  Fun to just play around with fabric that my friend from church didn’t have a use for anymore.

Thinking of ironing….I was counting irons…..in my sewing room I have 4.  Two Oliso’s, which are always in use.  One ironing station, and 1 ironing board.  I have an iron “in reserve” in case I have a need.  I also have a travel iron in my little ironing bag for trips to class and other locations.  In the house, I have an ironing board and an iron.  So, if the granddaughter’s dress needs pressed, I do have the technology to handle it.  (I actually ironed the hubby’s shirts 2 weeks ago……and showed him where the iron is stored in case he wants them done in the future!) (Just kidding !)  Quilters don’t iron, we PRESS!  🙂

Hope you are not roasting in the heat and humidity of July…but able to find a cool spot to keep stitching.

Little girls Sun Dress

In a previous post this month I mentioned making a sundress (https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/summer-sewing/ ) with fabric my 8 year old granddaughter chose.  That dress went off in the mail yesterday after I put a size tag in it.

When I finished her dress,  I pulled fabrics that I considered “suitable for sundresses” for young girls.  Look at these fun fabrics!  I’d forgotten I had an entire tote full of “tutti fruiti” fabrics.

Tutti Fruitti fabrics

This batch is that puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric. I have a couple of yards of each print. I think I used the green plaid (c) in a sundress a few years back.

Tutti fruiti choices

This group is my favorite of all the prints. Again, it is the puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric and I have at least a yard or more of each.

coordinating prints

These two are also Tutti Fruiti, and are coordinating prints. They would make a nice outfit together.

I also dug into my stash of “pink cottons” and came up with this –

fun cotton fabrics

They of course don’t play well together but each is fun on it’s own.  I must look for some lime green to go with that fabric I marked with a J.  These are quilters cotton.

Digging deep into the box of red & orange & pink fabric in my stash I pulled out these more “grown up” fabrics –

from the pink stash

They are soft, lovely cotton pieces that don’t scream “kid fabric”.  That box was overflowing, so I pulled out ALL the pinks and refolded them (ruler fold), and created a container of “just pink”.  Now both lids will close.

All of these fabrics were the choices I sent off to the  5 year old granddaughter to ponder!  You might remember she decided she wants to “feel the fabric” before she decides!  (Makes my heart sing with joy, because I am like that when I am in a quilt shop!!)

Meanwhile…..I decided to  start on a size 3 for the littlest granddaughter. She didn’t get a choice in fabric selection, I chose for her.  I chose a yard of fabric E, and after the pattern tracing got started with the sewing. I finished up today, attaching the bodice to the skirt, making the button holes and sewing the buttons on by machine.  The dress is in the wash and ready to deliver tomorrow.

front of size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – front

Size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – back – 11 buttons!

I can’t wait to try it on my youngest granddaughter and see if I guess right on the size.

I always find commercial garment patterns to run rather large, or maybe I just have small grands.  I’ve never recorded her measurements, but this grandma is taking the tape measure along tomorrow when I deliver !!

Middle granddaughter will make her fabric choices when she is visiting in August.  Her mommy said she is SO excited about all the fabrics and getting to chose!

That’s all for this StitchingGrandma this week!  What have you been up to lately?