Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting Caught UP

I've been able to get some good sewing done in the last couple days. I have now caught up on the Blogger's Block of the Month. I had been sitting with only September done for several months. Yesterday and today I got Oct, Nov, and Dec done. Phew.
In addition to the regular BOM blocks I have been working on, I also got caught up with my Christmas themed blocks.
Here are the blocks grouped together.
I am ready to get going on some fun projects,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Girlie Fabric

I have purchased some girlie fabric to make my granddaughter her big girl quilt. Can't wait. I just have to choose a pattern.

Back to Sewing!

What a great day. The semester has finally ended. The Christmas rush is over. Today I was able to spend a few hours in my sewing room.  See the new table that I got for Christmas? It is perfect to support my sewing/quilting as I work on it.
   I finally finished putting together the Marmelade quilt top. The poor thing has been hanging on my design wall for several months waiting to be finished.
   The next step is to practice working with my walking foot so I can begin machine quilting this quilt. My plan is to machine quilt my unfinished tops before I die. That is why I have to use the machine. I don't have enough time left to hand quilt all of my tops.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

24 Hour Omelet

This is my family's favorite Christmas tradition having to do with food. Well, OK. Other than all the cookies and candies. Christmas morning is the only time we all sit down together to eat breakfast. When we are ready to open presents I put the omelet in the oven. When we are finished, so is the omelet. 
7 slices white bread (I use the thick cut Texas Toast to make a fluffier omelet)
Room temperature butter or margarine to spread on bread
8 eggs
3/4 tsp. salt
2-1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
Dash cayenne pepper (or a couple drops of hot sauce)
3/4 lb. longhorn cheese
Cubed ham (amount is totally up to you)
Butter one side of the bread. Cut off crusts and fit bread into 9x13” pan. Cut to fit. Beat together eggs, milk, salt, mustard, cayenne. Pour over bread. Sprinkle cheese and ham evenly over the top. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered @ 325 degrees for 1-1/2 hours until eggs are set. Uncover for the last 10 min. of baking. Let sit 15 min. before cutting. Serve and enjoy.
Before baking I ‘tent’ the foil so it doesn’t touch the cheese. If you are using a dark coated or glass pan, reduce the oven temperature. You want your omelet to be fluffy, not crusty. I have used different breakfast meats over the years, but we like ham the best. If you try this with sausage or bacon, cook the meat first and drain the fat. I have also used different cheeses. Use whatever your family likes best.  I have doubled this recipe and baked in my large roasting pan (approx. 13x18). It is Teflon coated. That is how I discovered that the temp needs to be lowered with a dark pan.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit!

First of November already. I can't believe it. Once again I am buried in work, and not the sewing kind. I don't know when I'll be able to get back to my partially assembled quilt top. (Tear drops) I am in the middle of my annual review report. It is due on Nov. 15 so I am trying to work on it while grading student work, supervising field placements, doing undergraduate advising, and keeping up with regular committee work. Phew! I am dancing as fast as I can.
I can't wait to be past all of this so I can get back to my machine. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

   I was able to participate in the Friday Night Sew In for the first time. That was fun. I continued working on my Strawberry Marmelade quilt. It has been sitting, lonely, waiting for me since Sunday (see previous entry).
   So much for thinking I wouldn't need to use the step stool to reach the top of my design wall. I was up and down on that stool. I think I should have gone ahead and made the design wall go up to the ceiling. Then my quilt wouldn't be drooping off at the bottom.
   I started joining my diagonal rows at the bottom left corner. I know a lot of you speedy sewers would have accomplished a lot more than this. I only spent a little over two hours before I became too bleary eyed to continue. Thanks to the organizers of Friday Night Sew In. Without that appointment, I might have let Friday night slip by without getting into my sewing room.
   Today DH and I will make a trip to my LQS in Lexington to pick up my walking foot. Then I will be able to do more machine quilting practice on that baby quilt. My plan is to get good enough at machine quilting to be able to get some of my unquilted tops quilted. I'm not getting any younger and these tops have been waiting around for YEARS to be completed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Productive Day

What a great Saturday. I spent the whole day diddling around in my sewing room. I found two more of my grandmother's quilts and got them hung up in the quilt closet. I spent time getting the correct needle position for a consistent scant 1/4" on my sewing machine. I also made a few projects that have been on the top of my to do list.
I made this cute little thread catcher. It is from Primitive Gatherings, copyright 2011. I have to pay closer attention to where I come across these things. I would like to give credit and thanks to the designer. I am keeping this on my sewing table. It is meant to use when hand sewing, but I don't do that anymore unless I have to.
I also made this chick pin cushion. I got the pattern the other day on a blog I follow. It was designed by Deonn Stott from Quiltscapes Quilting. I still have to stuff it and get some little beads for the eyes. When I saw these online I knew I just had to make some, so here is the first one.

I made the blocks for the Strawberry Marmelade quilt that was posted on Moda Bakeshop recently. It is from Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe. I love the fabric. It is Together by Brannock and Patek. Today I plan to sew the top together with the background and setting squares.

It's been a long time since I have accomplished so much sewing in one day. Feels great. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Blogger BOM

While pawing through my stash, intending to use some of my red/white/blue, I came across some scraps of Christmas prints. I have never made a Christmas quilt. These pieces are left over from various crafts and a tree skirt that I made. I think it is time to come up with a Christmas themed quilt. So I will be making two blocks each month. What fun.

Blogger BOM

I have finally had time to complete the first block in the BOM sponsored by Canton Village Quilt Works. If I knew how to put in links or how to attach buttons I would. I just don't have those skills. I have caught up with grading all of my students' work and have submitted midterm grades. Phew! This afternoon was a well-deserved time for sewing.
I hadn't intended to do a black background, but I didn't like the look of any of the neutrals in my stash. I had a very small amount of a light gray solid that would have worked, but I didn't want to run out of the background. I have my fingers crossed that I will have enough of this black. I really love the other fabrics in the block. The gold and the greens are left overs from other projects. The purple/magenta/turquoise are fabrics that I bought YEARS ago with a project in mind. Unfortunately, I never got around to the project (now long forgotten) so the fabrics will find a life in this project. 

I am still getting used to my machine so my quarter inch seams are not really consistent yet. My block is slightly under 8.5" and it is a bit off square. I am not going to do any trimming until it is time to assemble all of the blocks.

I am thinking about making a different color way while I am at it. I have lots of red/white/blue. I know I have enough to do another quilt. 

Hey, those Tigers are giving us a nice extended season. I don't know if they will be able to hang in there for the World Series. They have so many injuries right now. They may cause me to have a heart attack if they keep playing the way they have been. I'm looking forward to the next game on Saturday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit!

It's the 1st of October already. Where has the time gone? No pictures today. I haven't had much opportunity to even touch the sewing machine this week. This is the week my students submit their biggest assignment of the semester for me. I am buried in correcting.

I am camped out in front of the TV this afternoon while I grade papers. This is a red letter day. Michigan State football and Detroit Tigers both play on the same day, and both are televised so I can see them. Go Green! Go Tigers!

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

TV and Music

DH has set up my old TV (with TIVO) and the speakers so I can listen to music from my iPhone. Now I can record all of those terrible reality shows that I seem not to be able to look away from (like an accident), especially those housewives. They sure make the time go fast. DH took the larger entertainment center for his new wide screen TV that will be delivered on Monday. He deserves it. Even though I said 'no' to the 3D, he is getting 3D. Whatever. I have my sewing room.
I am practicing my machine quilting. I bought the kit for this quilt when I found out that my daughter was going to have a boy. I was really disappointed when I got it and found that the largest section of the quilt is cheater cloth, not a pattern for applique as I had thought. Now I will use it to practice my machine quilting skills.
I have added a few more quilts to my quilt closet, but I still have to find two more. I know I have seen that box since we have been in this house, but now that we have arranged and rearranged boxes in the storage room when rummaging around for furniture, etc. I can't find it. I have two twin sized log cabins in red, white, and blue. I know I will find them sometime.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Have A Design Wall!

Oh, happy day! The design wall is done. Reader alert: this is a long blog for purely self-indulgent reasons.
Step one: Go to Lowe's to buy the extruded foam board, 2@4'x8'. They are too long to fit in our vehicle, which we knew because we measured the space before we went to Lowe's. Solution: lay them on the floor and cut 2' off the end of each one right in the store. I should have gotten a picture of that process, but I just wasn't thinking.

Step two: Go to Hobby Lobby to buy the batting and white felt (72" wide). I had intended to buy 3 yards (12 extra inches for good measure. You quilters understand). They had 2-7/8 so I got it. DH picked up the spray adhesive. We looked at every possible gadget they had for hanging things. Discussed the advantages and disadvantages of EACH.

Step three: Take the foam board and batting and felt home.

Step four: Go back to Lowe's. Look at every possible gadget they have for hanging anything, of any weight or shape. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of EACH. Leave Lowe's without buying anything because DH has a brainstorm when we are looking at the hardware used to hang window blinds. He has saved some of this hardware which he never used when installing window blinds in three different homes we have lived in in the last 40-plus years.

Step five: Go home and listen to DH go through all of his tool boxes and containers of odd gadgets only to discover that he had discarded all of those unused window blind gadgets when he came to the conclusion (Captain Obvious) that he would probably never use them for anything. This is apparently the only time in his life that he has decided to throw something out.

Step six: Check online for the appropriate adhesive to join the two foam boards. Apparently, everyone is temporarily out of stock. DH decides that the caulk/adhesive that we used when we installed the window/screen units on our upper deck would be 'good enough.' Container of said adhesive has had several months to dry up. DH uses his drill to try to open the application tip. DH drills into his finger. It's OK, he didn't need major medical help. We just cleaned the wound and bandaged it. He kept moving forward on his task.
Pictured above: the glued boards drying. Notice that poor, sad, old sewing machine is used at the weight to provide pressure against the boards as they dry. You will notice along one side of the boards that there is a piece of leftover Cherry that was used in the construction of our home. That is one of about 10,000 methods DH considered to attach the design board to the wall. This picture was taken about 24 hours after step six.

Step seven: While wife is getting the house ready to be seen (builder wants to bring a family over to see our basement) DH goes to Ace Hardware to have a discussion with people who really know how to get things done.

Step eight: DH comes back with the best and easiest idea for attaching the design board to the wall. He has some clear plastic fasteners meant to be used with pictures or mirrors, 1/2" spacers, 2" screws.
The design wall was attached with three fasteners on the bottom, three on the top, and one on each side. Viola! I have a design board.
This is a 6' high by 8' wide design wall. I had decided early on that I didn't really need an 8'x8' board. would I really get out a ladder to attach quilt pieces all the way up to the ceiling? I didn't think so. Also, I didn't want to cover any outlets. I am thrilled with the design wall.

Actually, for a project to begin and end on the same weekend, is pretty much a record at our house. This was a piece of cake. I do really laugh at DH's obsessive compulsive tendencies, but he is a self-taught DIYer. He has saved us a lot of money over the years by figuring things out for himself and putting in the time to do the job. I am so lucky!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

DH is a Genius!

How can one person be so lucky? I am the luckiest wife in the world. DH is the sweetest ever. He figured out a way to make a plastic insert in my sewing table so I have a smooth, continuous sewing surface. I know you can buy these, but this was much less expensive. That leaves more money available to buy fabric!

It looks really good, doesn't it? Even though he had planned to cut it himself, he found that his saw wouldn't cut the plastic. It melted it. So he took it to the same glass shop where we got the shelves for my upper cabinets made. They cut it for $25. He had to come up with a way for it to be supported at the level of the table top. Since the plastic is 3/16 of an inch thick and the table is 3/4 of an inch thick this took some thinking. He made thin strips of the plastic and sandwiched them together (2 added to the underside of the insert making three layers total). He attached these to the plastic insert at each spot where he thought it needed to be supported. He found some fasteners at Lowe's (similar to those on the backs of picture frames). He screwed those in place and adjusted them to fit the thickness of the plastic. Now when I want to raise the machine to use the free arm, I can take out the insert, swivel the fasteners out of the way, and raise the table.

This weekend's project is my design wall. See what I mean? I am the luckiest wife ever. Maybe he just wants me to be busy at my sewing machine so he is free to watch whatever he wants on TV.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstacy

On one hand, I am extremely happy; on the other, I am really bummed. First, the bad part. You know the quilt closet that was the focus of my plan for my sewing studio? The one I have blah blah blahhed about for months? The one in which I would hang my quilts so they would no longer have to be folded up? Well, I hung a few quilts in it. It is not fitting the quilts the way I had imagined. The first one I hung is a twin size that my grandmother sewed for my daughter.
Do you see how the one in the back actually drags on the floor? That is the twin quilt. I didn't even hang it length wise. That is the width of the quilt. I hung several others that I have found so far, but I don't know what I am going to do with my king sized double wedding ring. It will drag on the floor no matter which way I hang it. Also, the width of fabric stretches, unlike the length of fabric. I might actually doing more damage to the quilts by hanging them than I would by having them folded up. What do you think?

Here is my NEW machine! DH and I made several trips to Lexington, checking out several makes and several shops. After falling in love with the most expensive machine in the world (you know the brand) I knew we couldn't spend that much money, so we kept looking. I found this Husqvarna Viking Saphire 835 on sale. It has all of the features I wanted the most and the price was right.

We also got the table you see here. I can use it with the machine raised or lowered. DH is making a plexiglass (I don't know if that is what it actually is, but it is plastic and it is clear) insert so that I will have a flat sewing surface when the machine is lowered. We made a trip to Lowe's today to get the materials. I tried to be patient, but honestly, DH shops at Lowe's the way I shop at a quilt shop. He was actually shopping for me so I really had to be patient. I think he has a good plan figured out. It is now my job to make the template for him to use when he cuts the plexiglass. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Found More Sewing Stuff

I knew I had more. Now that the carpet has been laid, DH and I spent most of the day yesterday digging furniture out of the storage room, bringing it out to the finished part of the basement, vacuuming off drywall dust, etc. and placing furniture. Phew! That was a workout!

Too much furniture in too small a space. Those posts are a real problem when it comes to furniture arrangement. We had to leave the posts in, of course, because they support the floor above. I thought by having them boxed in I would preserve as much openness and flexibility in the space as possible. I didn't picture them being so big. If furniture is set back, even a little bit, the view of the television (DH's 60" that he is still wishing for) will be obscured. If you have any ideas, let me know.
These both started out upstairs in the living room. We had too much furniture in there. I moved one of the chairs to a bedroom. When we were moving furniture around yesterday, we decided to move both chairs and the end table (anyone in the market for a 1980's brass and glass table?) down here. I love the chairs. They are so comfortable. They are easy to move when we have company and need more seating. I just don't think they go with the style of this house.

The door next to the two matching chairs is to a closet that is going to be our cat's room. It is partially carpeted with scraps from the big room. We are happy to have been able to relocate him back in the basement. During the construction process we had confined him to the upstairs. We put a gate (also useful with grandchildren) across the top of the stairs. We put his food, water, and necessary box in my office. We spent the next three months sweeping stray cat litter from the floor in every room in the house. He dragged it all over everywhere. I now know that this must have happened in my other house too, but since it was almost entirely carpeted, I didn't see it. This house has hardwood floors so every speck of dust or lint shows. When our cat comes out of his box, he doesn't just nicely step out onto the mat that I purchased to catch those stray pieces of litter. He comes out with a flurry spreading cat litter all over. It must also stick in his paws and fur because it ends up in every room. Enough about that. Suffice it to say, we are glad that he is relocated and that most of that litter will be hidden in carpet.
Here he is, peeking out from behind a cushion. He is happy to have furniture to lounge on.

The sewing table is out of storage and reassembled. I know it is ugly. It is certainly old. But that puppy is sturdy. That is the most important thing. When I have the leaf in (as it is now; it doesn't match the rest of the table) I have lots of room to spread out the pieces of whatever I am working on.

I found quite a few more boxes of sewing paraphernalia. I might still have another stray box or two that is still buried. My job for tomorrow is to go through these and get the stuff organized. I know that some of my quilts are in these. I am not starting on it today because I am enjoying a bit of baking today. I have a couple recipes I have been anxious to try out, but I usually don't have time to do cooking or baking. This long weekend is just what I needed. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit!

It's the 1st of September already. Where did the summer go? Mine sure was busy. Finished teaching my summer class at the end of June. On July 8 I went on my two week study tour of Germany. I was back for a week and then went to Portland, OR to attend a conference for a week. We were home for two days before traveling to Michigan for 5 days. Whew. That was a lot of travel, but I loved it.

So, what's up with Rabbit, Rabbit? In my family, everyone says Rabbit, Rabbit on the first day of the month. I have no idea why. There seems to be a contest to see who says it first.

Here is the exciting news. The carpeting has been installed!

It is great to have the last of the cement floor covered. It is also nice to have the echo disappear. I know we are really going to enjoy the coziness of carpet. I know we wouldn't have been happy with hard flooring EVERYWHERE in the house. There was one problem, however.
 Oops! The transition strip that joins the laminate flooring to the carpet is supposed to match the flooring. Do you see a problem? I sure do. DH wasn't sure when he saw the strip being put in. The carpet company didn't really make a mistake. I guess the mistake was ours, even though I don't know how it happened. When the flooring was installed, we saved one of the labels from the flooring so that we would be able to order that strip. The carpeting company ordered exactly what it said on that flooring label. Somehow, the label that we took out of our trash wasn't from our flooring. That is why it is a completely different color. The correct color has now been ordered and it should be installed next week. At our cost, of course. 

I think the only thing remaining to be done is paint touch ups. Hallelujah. This Labor Day weekend we will be moving furniture out of storage and finding yet more of my sewing boxes. I can't wait to get my quilts hung in the quilt closet. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Almost Done!

In the second photo you can see my built in storage bench which will also give extra seating.
The next photo is of my poor sewing machine. It hasn't taken well to being in storage. First it was for about a year and a half in Michigan, and now nearly another year in Kentucky. The hardware on the case has rusted. Even though I have had this machine for over 40 years, it never had any rust on it before. I am almost afraid to open it up to see how the machine itself has fared. On the brighter side, DH says that I will get a new sewing machine before he gets a 60" TV. I am taking that in a good way, not in the 'not a snowball's chance' kind of way.

Here is the wall of my sewing room that I have been envisioning since we started building this house. You can see that I have a laundry room sink in the counter at the right (the other white spot is a piece of styrofoam that I am saving). You will notice the support that is holding up the counter top. When the counter top was installed DH noticed that the counter was sagging. This is a temporary support and the contractor is making one that will match the finish of the cupboards. It will definitely be necessary to have the support. I hope to have see through storage units in that space so I hope the support won't interfere with the effective use of the space. Also, you will notice that we have cleaning supplies on all of the countertops. We have been cleaning up construction messes (so please don't judge me). You will also notice that I have laminate flooring in my sewing area. I didn't want carpet there. No more pins and needles dropped into carpet. Been there, done that.

Here is a picture of the sewing table I bought from Joanne's on sale. It has been stored in the garage for months. DH assembled it yesterday (with only a few choice words in the process). It seems to be very sturdy. When it is opened it is 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep. I can't imagine needing more space than that for cutting.

Here is a peek into my quilt closet. You can see my fabric stash. It is once again stacked on my old, old shelving units (I have had these since my kids were little. They have taken a lot of abuse, but they are sturdy). I haven't opened any of the plastic containers since they have come out of storage. I am hoping that there are no bugs or mildew. That would really make me cry.

On the opposite wall in my quilt closet is the other shelving unit. I holds mostly books, magazines and patterns, but also a few more containers of fabric and works in progress. It feels good to have all of these things in place where I want them, and not in some dark storage space. On the long wall of this closet will be where I will hang my quilts. No more folded quilts, which I know is a no-no, but I have not had any other options. Now they will be hanging, fold free. I have borrowed that idea from Judy Martin. If I knew how to insert links, I would link you to her photos.
   The carpeting will be installed in the main room and the bedroom on Tuesday. That will pretty much be it. DH has to install the hanging rod in my quilt closet. The contractor has to put in the glass shelves in the cabinets on the wet bar wall. I think the painters have to do some touch ups. That is about it. Then I will need to get my sewing table reassembled, and put up a design wall. I will be ready to get back to so many projects that have been stored for too long.
Thanks for stopping by.