Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lunch Bucket Bag

I started my second bag from the Sew Serendipity Bags book last Sunday, but I'm taking my time with it. It's more complicated than the first one that I shared with you last week. It is constructed using Peltex 71, plus regular interfacing. It is a very stiff interfacing and I had to buy a denim needle for my machine to sew through all the layers.. Now, if I could only find industrial strength pins. I'm bending my long quilting pins. I found a few "T" pins in my box of blocking supplies, and used those. I tried to be very careful in the stitching of the seam that attaches the side onto the round bottom piece, but there are a few puckers. I don't think anyone will notice, but of course I have to tell everyone. One of those things I just can't help. Everyone always knows about every mistake I ever make. Usually, I try to un-sew and try again, but this seam was so difficult that I don't think I could improve it. Just don't look too closely. I'm working on the lining. There's also a whole top half that's still missing, so stay tuned...

I also put a lot of time into the embroidery on the quilt I'm making for Halloween. Notice, I didn't say this Halloween. I've been working on it for two or three years. I should have said that I started it two or three years ago. Obviously it spends a lot of time not being worked on at all. I've finally completed the center panel. Progress. A friend of mine is currently working on an embroidery project, and yesterday I noticed the back of her work. It is as neat and tidy as the front. Mine certainly could never be described as neat and tidy. Never. I do love playing with all the color in embroidery threads.

I've been dipping my hand, or should I say my brush in some watercolor. I've been sketching a bit, and playing with markers. Nothing worth showing, but I'm having fun playing with color in another form.

See what I mean about a mess? I don't know why I'm showing this...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Crispy Crunchy

We can see that autumn is on its way. The acorns are falling and keeping the squirrels very busy. Because of the drought, our garden is very dry looking. We have cut our water usage basically in half. My husband is the gardener of the family. He has worked so hard trying to keep everything alive, and I think he has succeeded.  Our plants are so stressed, but alive. Well, everything except for a thirty foot tall pine that is dying. I have been keeping my eye on it for a few weeks, and at first I thought it was just losing some needles, which the pines do in the autumn. Last night while we were eating dinner on the deck it became very obvious that it is on it's way out. Still, if that's the only thing we are going to lose after this summer of very little water, I think the gardener of the family did a great job!

I knit a lacy feather and fan patterned cowl to wear this autumn with my wool jacket. It's knit with a lovely Noro yarn that's angora, wool and silk, on size eleven needles. The yarn shop that I visit frequently, By Hand Yarn , in Sonora. provided the cute pattern with purchase of the yarn. It was a little more than I like to spend, but because it only took one skein, it was affordable. The Feather and Fan  pattern is a perfect way to learn how to knit lace. Yes, you have to count, but it's small enough and simple enough that a beginner could certainly handle it. Really.

 I dreamed of a pumpkin latte, and pumpkin ice cream and apple donuts while I stitched away. I've seen a lot of wild turkeys strutting across the crispy gold fields around and through the oak trees. I love to see the males displaying their iridescent tail feathers for the girls. The girl turkeys don't seem all that impressed, but I sure am. Come on autumn, and please, oh please, bring us some rain...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday Sewing

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in so long that I can't remember when I last did it. I sewed, with my sewing machine. I started a project, and I even finished it. All in one day. I bought two books a few years ago by Kay Whitt, before I developed autoimmune issues. After those hit and before I started taking medications, I just didn't feel like sewing. I'm feeling better at the moment, and can't wait to use my not quite new books. The one I used for my project is Sew Serendipity Bags.


 I have a very talented friend who is also a gifted cook and baker. She buys cookbooks, and "works her way through them."  As in, starts at the beginning and cooks to the end. I'm sure she skips things that she doesn't like or isn't interested in. I thought I might try the same thing with the "Bags" book. Who doesn't need a lot of bags? From duffel bags, to purses, to lunch bags. The bags are organized from easy to more difficult. The one I worked on was easy, but I had to concentrate. Some of the directions were a little confusing, because not only am I a little rusty with the sewing machine, but bags are not something that I've had a lot of experience with.

The bag that I made is the Green Grocery bag. I think it's way too cute to go to the grocery store, but I can think of a lot of other places where I can use it. How about transporting projects to Bee? I made the large size, so I can take a lot of yarn with me, plus patterns and accessories. The outside pocket is perfect for a bottle of water and my phone. The cute little bag even folds up into the outside pocket, so that you can hang it up when it's not in use. How clever is that? 

Kay Whitt has a great blog as well.  Go take a peek at all the cuteness...

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Don't ask me why, but it's four o'clock in the morning and I have been awake for hours. It happens every once in a while, and rather than toss and turn in my soft nest of a bed, I'm awake and writing this oh-so-interesting story of how I organized some of the chaos in my life. I'll be right back... I think I better go brew a cup of tea. Cinnamon toast sounds perfect too.

Yesterday while on my ordinary morning walk, I pulled out my phone and used one of those list making apps for the first time. I probably would have been better off not to have discovered it. I must have stopped my speedy power walking about ten times to add "to do" items to a list, and must have items to a shopping list. It's a good thing that I really don't know how to use most of the apps on my phone. I'd play with it for hours and never have time for anything else. As a consequence I not only cleaned, but had a little teeny shopping trip to my favorite yarn store.

The good news of my list making is that it reminded me to finish organizing some of those unfinished projects that have been buried in various boxes and bags throughout my sewing room. When I got home from my walk, I unearthed my unfinished projects, and placed them in individual extra-large Hefty ziplock bags. The stash yarn is all in one very large plastic storage box, and the bagged-up projects are all in another storage box.

I may have spent the morning sorting and cleaning and doing errands, but I had a very quiet and fun afternoon and evening. Two friends and I went to tea in the afternoon, and the evening I spent in a favorite chair knitting a new Noro cowl. I love Noro yarn. Seriously obsessed with it. In fact I found a bright, colorful Noro sweater pattern and yarn that just may have made its way home with me. Because I need another project don't you think?

Sunday, August 10, 2014


My goal with this blog is to post frequently about my adventures with my obsessions, as I call them. I also like to post about my family, as they are my reason for living. Sometimes I become so busy that I just don't have time to post. I want to put something on my blog multiple times a week. Sometimes that doesn't happen, and I'm sorry. I've been very, very busy for the last week, and away from home.

I try to spend some time every day stitching. Either quilting, or knitting. Right now, I'm diligently working on my Birdsong quilt blocks. I want to finish them so that I can start on a quilt using Di Fords book, Primarily Quilts...19th Century Inspirations. These photos are not mine, they are photos that I found using Google of Di Ford quilts.


 I've made a discovery. Something you probably already know if you are a quilter. Fabric styles have changed. I don't think my choices have. There was a quilt shop that carried fabric that I loved and used, and most of my stash consists of. Unfortunately for me, they have gone out of business. I've visited many quilt shops, and I just can't find my fabric style. Then I remembered something that a nun taught me in high school. I can't remember who, and I can't remember why the subject came up. She said that the reason a lot of older people are grumpy and out of touch, is because they refuse to change with the times. Everything changes, and life goes on. I don't want to become one of those grumpy people. I may be getting older, and if you are lucky, you are getting older as well. I'm going to expand my fabric choices, but not for the Di Ford quilts. They need reproduction fabrics, don't you think? I'm going to have to break one of my self-imposed rules and buy fabric online. 

Oh, and one of the reasons that I was away from home this week, is that I was being diagnosed with a third autoimmune disease. It's not going to stop me though. I am my fathers daughter, and I don't give up. Ever...

Thursday, August 7, 2014


There is progress in our construction. Some progress. The carpet is finished, but the laminate is not. We had a leak in our kitchen (the refrigerator). So, the laminate we removed from the dining room is going in the kitchen. It rained the day it was supposed to be installed, so we were postponed. Now, we are lost in scheduling limbo, if you know what I mean. I think we need to call the flooring company and put a tiny little bee in their bonnet so we are back on the list. So, now my kitchen is also totally in a mess. My trash compactor is on the deck and my refrigerator is in the family room.

The rest of the house is almost back together. The bedrooms are done. The living room still has the dining room furniture in it as well, so it is over stuffed, but I can sort of visualize what it's going to be. We still need an electrician and the "geek squad" of our electronics store.

I knew I was going to hate doing this stage of our remodel, and I was right. I don't know about you, but living with the upheaval of construction just makes me crazy. When they are working every day and I can see the progress it's all fine, but when I have to sit here day after day and just look at the mess I can't stand it. Part of the problem is that I'm tired. I've made hundreds of trips up and down the stairs putting everything away that we had to move out. Pile after pile of books... Family photos that all needed to be stored in waterproof containers... my fabric that all needed to be re-folded and stacked on my sewing room shelves. I need a soak in the tub and a nap, I think.

The good news-after all this whining- is that I've been working on applique, and I spent a lovely, warm day with my friends. We had "art day" and a perfect lunch on a shady deck. Of course yesterday was "Bee", and that is always perfect. Friday is a field trip to a fun quilt shop, so I guess things are looking up.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Another UFO

While I'm living in my sewing room until my floors are done, I thought I could show a few more unfinished projects. I've actually been working, or I guess I should say, have worked on quite a few things. I can't say working, because these projects have been locked away in various storage containers just waiting for me to take care of business.

This will be a quilt for Halloween. I adore Halloween. It's in the autumn which gives it a big old gold star in my book. I wish I could leave my autumn decorations up year round. The weather is cool, the leaves are pink and red and gold and orange. It isn't hot... Oh, and throw in some apple and cinnamon desserts.  It's a holiday that doesn't require presents. What's not to love?

Okay, back on track... I love this Crabapple Hill  pattern. The name is Vintage Trick Or Treat . I started stitching it a few years ago, and I need to finish it. 

I'm very sorry about these photos today. It's very dark in my sewing room this morning and I don't dare get in the way of the "floor people".  So think of the fabric as white, not blue and then you'll get the true color.