Tuesday, July 10

"Workplace Bathroom" (and workplace gift) finish

I went home early yesterday because I wasn't feeling well and went ahead and finished my work-gift project.

It's on a mystery piece of opalescent fabric.  Blue/white mottled (quite pretty), and I thought it was 28 count, but it's bigger than the finished piece should have been, so I guess maybe 25 ct?

I'll be buying a hoop to frame it in, I got a 5" hoop, but it's a bit too small with the slightly larger size. 

The link to the etsy shop (La Hoopla) is here :)

Monday, July 9

Texas! (again :) ) and some other progress

Welp, I started off with a wild and crazy Friday night.
I broke out my new vacuum sealer and spent the night inventorying the freezer, properly sealing things, and processing veggies for the freezer.    Wooooo.   Young me would be soooo envious of old me's Friday night partying ;)

I actually wanted another model of a FoodSaver (I've had one in the past), but it was more than twice the price of this little unit and I wanted to make sure I'd actually use it a bunch before I spent the money on the fancy one.   To be honest, this little sucker is running like a champ and has most of the features I could ever use, so I don't even know if I'll need the more expensive one, now.

But by the end of the night, my kitchen was totally trashed, but hey!   No more veggies on the counter top! (until Saturday when I harvested again, any way).

I decided the weekend (after my Friday night 'party') would be all about no-chores.   Which was awesome, but I'm sure I'll regret later.   A huge cold front moved through the area on Friday night and there was a high of 78 on Saturday.  I'm sure when I get around to finishing some of the yard-work I've been stalling out on, I'll regret not doing it in less sweaty weather when I get the chance :)

So I decided to go ahead and knock out Texas:

And here it is sew into the wall hanging.    When I get back to the machine, I'll get the binding on all of the pieces so I can get them up.

And then I started a piece for my boss.   Her birthday is this week and since she started here earlier this year they've buried her in a crap tonne of administrative work, so it seemed apropos (even if strictly not work apropos ;) )    I bought the hoop above (used for the Texas piece) to display this, but I think it's going to be too big, so I'll have to get a bigger one.   I don't generally use hoops, so I was a little frustrated it's too large, though it's turned out to be helpful for the tiny things I can't put in my qsnaps.

This piece is on a mystery piece from my stash.    I ended up with a bunch of fabric from a friend who no longer stitches, and I'm pretty sure this is from her because it's opalescent, and I generally don't like that style of fabric - I think it'll work great for this piece.   It's gotta be done by Wed!

Monday, July 2


This weekend was super eventful or busy or, I don't know what I want to call it, but I definitely enjoyed being at home and getting stuff done.

I can't remember if I mentioned it, but we hired painters last year and they were... not good.   So it's taken me a year, but I finally (almost - I have three touch ups) finished painting the master bath.
And then we hired a handyman earlier this year that was pretty decent;  he told us his specialty was doors and we wanted to replace some doors (from the garage outside, from the back deck outside, and the front door).    What we neglected to clarify was the painting.   I thought the doors would be installed and painted.   Only apparently not.   So I've been super lazy about finishing the doors all the way (painting the inside and out, jambs and all).    This weekend, I was going to finish the patching and painting that I've been mad about (I want to work on the fun projects like stenciling!!!).

Anyway, Saturday morning I had planned to get up early, take Tiny to the lake for a walk, and then get going on projects, but I overslept and it's been entirely too hot to go on a 7 mile hike.  So I went outside to water the garden, only I found Japanese beetles (ugh) on the hibiscus plants I hadn't gotten around to tearing out.   I knew they were on the crabapple tree, and so I looked around, and sure enough, they're freaking everywhere.

So I watered, cut down the hibiscus (to minimize enticing plants), weeded, reorganized, and basically sweat a lot for a couple of hours.    And *then* started working on house stuff.

And then I got tired of house stuff (I painted the front and back doors and patched the wall in the front hallway) and decided to make those wall hanging blocks for my Victoria Sampler state hearts.

And I didn't pay attention... and when I was cutting I felt a suddenly thick slice and (rightly) panicked.    And found this:

I tried to find ways to patch it back together, but nothing was going to work, and luckily it was something small, so I decided to just order the VS chartbook (I had gotten this as a kit way back in the day) and just redo the stupid thing.    I also decided to go ahead and cut the pieces I would need to finish it as a wall hanging, because why not at this point, right?

But I did manage to not slice the rest of the states and get them sewed together.   Where I also discovered that I'd chosen directional fabric for three out of the four states!

This is the Little Golden Books fabric I found last week that I was so happy with.  I lived in California as a wee kiddo.

Because Cactus.   I love cacti.

And Hydrangeas because they are my favorite favorite thing about moving to NC.   I've never lived anywhere else where I could grow them, so I'm so excited to be planting them all over the place :)
And then finally, I decided to go ahead and put together the wall hanging block for the gift I want to make.  The recipient has no idea I have a blog (pretty sure), so I can show it off here (though not anywhere on social media).    I'm super happy with how the colors came out on this one, and I have to admit that if this had been the one I cut through, I would've likely lost my frelling mind ;)

So that's it for the weekend update.   I did a bit more work on Sunday (painting the bathroom, hanging the window cling on the side windows, etc.)  I'm hoping to finish the bathroom and front hallway this week/weekend, and then I'll have more time for stitching/sewing/goofing off.

I am really hoping for one last quiet weekend before social and doggie things start up again.   I think my next stretch of quiet should be in August, thankfully :)

Saturday, June 30

Gardening update - June 2018

I have not done a gardening/Garden Tower Project post in a couple of years!

Once upon a time (2011?)  I saw something about the Garden Tower Project online somewhere.  It's a really cool container garden concept where you can vermicompost your kitchen scraps in the middle of the tube and it feeds your plants nutrients.  It really works.  I get much larger plants and much better production in this tower than I do either in the ground or in regular container pots.

I bought their first concept, and then I also kickstarted their upgrate version (it was two inches shorter to make shipping significantly cheaper).   They came out with a newer, really cool,  modular version, but with two towers on my little townhome patio, I wasn't about to buy another one, though I was super happy with the unit and really do believe in what the company is doing.

Well, when we moved a year ago, I was concerned that there were cracks in it and that they might not make the move.   I also wanted to know if this is something I should expect with so little use (they were less than 5 years old, and they are not cheap), so I contacted them.    They were SUPER! awesome and gave me a new one for free, and then offered a second one at a very significant discount, so I bought the second one (yay!).    Unfortunately with the move and everything going on last year I didn't bother getting the unit started and figured I'd wait til spring of this year (2018).

I also want to put on one the downstairs patio (walk out from the basement) and one on the upper level deck, but we need to get the deck rebuilt, so that one is in the garage waiting.   The lower basement one is up and running.   I did not start my own seedlings this year (my preference because I like some of the unusual/heirloom stuff you can't get as seedlings), and just went to the farmers market and bought what I thought would be sufficient.  The usual - tomatoes, cukes (that I can never get to grow!), peppers, zucchini and herbs.

So this is where I am now:

You can *hardly* see the garden tower in there, and I'm afraid I'm going to lose a lot of tomatoes.  I had them staked, but we got two inches of rain in four days and had some very high winds.   I'm kind of hoping they grow over sideways and don't actually split - we'll see how that goes (ack!)

There is a large container there that you can just see.  I might have overdone it with the tomato planting, expecting most of them to not make it... only they did.   We have to water that pot every day because they're so thirsty and over laden.

You can see the zucchini in the ground in front; they were extras that I just threw in the ground wherever I could think of.   I want to put down a weed barrier and make that entire area mulched so I can put in bird stuff and not have to worry about the mowers.

My basil is quite happy as well.  I planted some old nasturtium seeds in there (where it's bare), but I guess they weren't good any more.

You can see the cucumber plants coming over the retaining wall, and I'm perfectly OK with that (not so much the old AC unit that needs replacing).

A close up of the basil (after I got back from my trip).

These cuke and zucchini plants are actually where the hydrangeas will be going... but again, I overdid it on the purchasing, so I threw them in the ground.   I have better plans for next year, so we'll just have to see how that goes.  In the meantime, these guys are happy, though I did not put down a weed barrier, so I'm having a heckuva time keeping the grass out of that (I'll rectify it in the fall).

And up close shots of all the produce I'm proud of ;)

I gotta say, after living in a very sterile suburban area, it's super nice that the bees pollinate for me, instead of me having to hand pollinate!

This is what I brought to work last Monday (running out of space in the fridge!).
I planted all "pickling" varieties of cucumbers, but they're growing so fast I miss them when they're little!

And this is what I brought to work on Wednesday (before I left):

And this is what I came home to on Monday!   They're growing so fast!
That one cucumber is as big as a zucchini!   And that zucchini is almost as big as my forearm!

I measured it.  I was in shock!  And it's really good (not all seeds or tough).

I knew leaving my cutting mat out would be useful for something!
So these are my current garden (mis)adventures.   My plants are super happy in their new location;  My old place only got Eastern sun, and this gets a lot more, which is clearly very helpful.   We've also been planting trees along the edge of the yard and I've been mulching in a nice wide space from the fence so we don't have to weed/mow the fence line.

I want to put in some filler bushes, but I might throw any extra plants in those beds next year just to see what happens - I do plan on putting in weed barrier in the locations I planted this year, and I want to put in two raised garden beds along the western fence line for things like squash, cucumbers, and pole bean.    Big plans!  We'll see how it goes! :)

Friday, June 29

Friends and get togethers

Every year or so, I travel to visit with a bunch of friends and have a long stitching get together.
I didn't go last year because I was new at the job, and although I could have, I didn't want to take time off without having accrued leave (we have an abysmal PTO policy), and I always feel weird taking time off within the first 6 months of a job... Even though I'm at the level where no one thinks twice, it just feels weird to me.

So anyway, I went to visit friends and had an absolutely lovely time.  We got some good laughs in, and other than a horrible trip home (I'm still waiting to see what Southwest says about that - I got home a day late! ), I'm very happy I went :)

So here are some of the goodies:

At Attic Needlework, I didn't purchase much (I feel like I'm pretty saturated now, and the things I'm really after haven't come out yet), but I did get:

Key to Home, which I'd really like to stitch and put an old key on (instead of the stitched one).   I'm also tempted to do them for all of the major places I've lived.  I won't, but it's a nice idea ;)   I do like the way the chart is made, there's a separate chart for you to figure out how to center your numbers (unlike some others that just have a blank line in the middle of the chart).

Judge Not by Plum Street, which I saw at the Silver Lining when I was at the Houston Quilt Show, but they were sold out of.  I was super excited to see this one!    I love the sheep on the top row that's up on two legs, he just cracks me up.

And another Sweetheart Tree -  Pretty Pyramid #2.   It's the only one I have (and the only one I saw).  I just love constructing 3D finishes.  So I grabbed it :)

I also bought a pair of copper scissors.  I don't have any that color, so why not?  Unfortunately I totally forgot to take a picture of them.

We also went to Mulqueens, and I gotta tell you, I LOVED that store.    They had tons of fabric, but even better they had TONS of notions, tools, threads (Aurifil, which is my favorite, is not one I see "in the wild" very often, and I bought two spools I knew I needed) and other stuff.   They also had a huge room full of used/older model machines.    I am saving up for a new (to me) machine, and if I was ready, I would have definitely gone ahead and taken one to be my carry-on :)

Anyway, other than some chalk markers (blue and yellow!) and a few other notions, I picked up fabric for a project.   I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to finish a cross stitch piece using Bonnie Hunter's Diamond Tile, and these are the fabrics, I picked up:

The white fabric on the end is actually a green/white grunge, and picks up the bit of green at the edge of some of the blended threads.   This finish will definitely not be something I would have chosen for myself, but the person I'm making it for will love it - and isn't that what really matters?

I'm super glad I found the fabric that matched so easily, and I look forward to getting that piece finished (this weekend?!)

I found new, better(!) fabric for my Hearts of America - California piece.   I keep buying new fabric for it, not really loving anything (but hey, at least previous versions have been "acceptable."
This one was in the BOGO bin, and it's perfect.   When I lived in California, I was a wee kiddo, and I remember loving my books, so I'll definitely stick to this one.

And this is the precut kit I posted partial pictures of yesterday.  I realized I hadn't taken a picture of it before I started sewing on the center tile, but this is what it looks like!    The example is what it looks like if you finish it into a 3x4 block solid piece, but there are tons of layout on the back (in case you can't lay them out yourself, I guess?)  I just really love the colors. It's also crazy easy to sew together.

And finally, we all got little gift bags from various friends.   Many people brought something from where they were from (I brought a Moravian Sugar Cake from Dewey's Bakery as well as Moravian sugar cookies), and our hostesses had great little gift bags with tools  that we won by playing "stitcher's bingo"  - it included a 2x2" and 3x3" acrylic blocks for checking your start at the corner, a snagnabbit, and other little things, and in my bag I got these two kits as well:

I'm so looking forward to adding this to my Mill Hill magnet collection.

And this adorable little ornament!

And for "one of those things that will be funny one day,"  I meant to bring some veggies with me on the plane to snack on (I'm trying to spend less money and airport food is SO expensive).  I brought most of them but managed to forget a container of cauliflower when I parked at the airport.    I was annoyed, but then totally forgot about it.   When I finally got home (a day late, and wearing the same clothes I'd had on for more than a day!), I opened my car door and gagged.    Rotting, hot cauliflower is in the top three most disgusting things I've ever smelled.   After throwing my backpack into the bed of my vehicle (90% of the stench was there) and blasting outside air on the way home (2 hour drive!) I made it home and took everything out of my car to either trash or wash.

On the back floor boards, inside a reusable grocery bag, I found a pair of Bohin scissors I TOTALLY forgot about buying nearly a year ago! (at least it was a year according to the receipts!)   So I guess occasionally rotting veggies in the car isn't a total bad thing.

(And yes, after 4 runs through the wash, a soak with Nature's Miracle, AND a soaking in OxyClean, the backpack does not stink any more... sadly, it's one of my favorites and one I can't easily replace here on the East Coast, so I was very determined to save it!)

Thursday, June 28

Not June WIPocalypse ;)

I was going to update with a WIPocalypse for June, only to discover that I have not made any progress on my WIPocalypse pieces like I thought I did (oops!)   Which, of course means that time must be flying if I made that progress a couple of months ago and didn't even notice!  haha.

However, I did end up sewing a bunch (I didn't mean to, I swear!), so I do have some progress to report beyond Zenia.

The first is the Diamond Tile block that Bonnie Hunter designed and can be found in the May/June ’18 issue of Quiltmaker.

I have a small mandala like piece that I would like to finish for a dear family member, but I didn't want to frame it.   I saw that block and thought it would make an excellent finish for the piece!   Unfortunately (?)   The center block is only 3" square (the whole thing is 7" square), and my piece is just under 6" so I had to spend some time mathing.

And then I decided to use some fat quarters I had originally bought for my quilted sewing books.   I think I have more than enough of those, though, and don't mind using it up.   So I did the mock up, discovered that I suck at mathing triangles (I misapplied the math of the short legs of my isosceles triangles to the hypotenuse)... I also figured out that even though I was trying to keep the proportions the same, I preferred the strips along the border of the center square to be a bit skinnier.  But I finished it, huzzah!  (and now I have my math right... but I only wasted one fat quarter).   Most of the fabrics are Tula Pink, so they're a bit busy, but I kind of love it...

My goal is to get the cross stitch piece fully finished this weekend (since my dining table is already trashed out with my sewing stuff).    I'll show it off when it's done because I know the fam doesn't read (if they even know about!) my blog :)

I'm tempted to make a few more of these and use them for a mat on my wine-bar/rack.... 

One of the things I bought in Phoenix at Mulqueen's was a pre-cut kit.   Cutting is my very least favorite part of quilting (heck, I think it's the only thing I don't like), so while I said "hey, let's just sew one step,"  I ended up doing half the the blocks!  They're log-cabins, so they're super easy and fun to assembly line sew.

I really like the colors for a summer table runner.  It's designed to be a tiny quilt or a foot of the bed thing, but I'll just play with the blocks to get them in the right configuration for my table.   The extras (if there are any) can just become other mats.

So that's it for my non-WIPocalypse, but hey, crafting!   I'm super happy to get back to my machine.   My only regret was that I didn't listen to an audiobook while I did it (I kept telling myself, "just one more thing and then I'll take care of [whatever] chores" haha).

Wednesday, June 27

Back from the stitching grave! And PUPs! and TW! And WIPWednesday!

Long time, no see!

Of course long time, no stitch, as well.

This past weekend I went to visit some friends and have a stitchy get together.  I'll blog all about that later (tomorrow?  Friday?  I dunno!)   I'll even blog WIPocalypse soon, because I have an actual update (yippee!)  But for now, let's talk about PUPs

PUPs is something my friend Terri said she does with her quilt guild (I could be wrong, don't thwap me if I am).   Their group has Poor Unfinished Projects, and people bring a few to the guild meeting and they have to focus on finishing it over the next timespan.

My stitching group decided to adopt PUPs and (some of us, the deadline isn't for a couple of weeks) put some PUPs up to vote on finishing by next year.    I chose Fantasy Sampler, BoInk, and Freshwater Pearls.    I had intended to finish them up this year, but then house stuff and health stuff and puppers got in the way (I'm not sad about the pupper, because she's great, I am a little miffed about the house issue, because it had to do with someone else not doing their job and I will never hire that handyman again... I digress).   Oh, and Diablo.  I've been playing a couple of the seasons, I SWEAR I'll get to Level 70 Greater Rifts someday!  In the meantime, I'm just having fun being a Necromancer ;)

Back to PUPs...
Here is where the three of them currently stand:

What totally surprised me is that (so far), BoInk is off to a VERY strong lead (5-1), so it looks like BoInk will most likely be my 2018 PUP.    I think that because it was a mystery broken into smaller blocks, I can break it down into nice segments; but I'm super happy I have a reason to focus on it.   To be perfectly honest, I thought that Fantasy Sampler would be the one.

Which brings me to another topic:  Teresa Wentzler.

The topic was brought up in the TW group on FB that she had taken down all of her dragon patterns from PatternsOnline.   Someone asked her about it in the comments of a recent blog post and she mentioned that she'd taken them down and would not care to discuss it, but used language that pretty much screams "religious reasons."      I'm not gonna lie - I'm super bummed about it.   I do not have a lot of love of religions, particularly not more strict or extreme ones.   I also remember how much she would enjoy talking about her dragon designs and she expressed a great fondness for dragons at various stitching shows where I met her.  I think it sucks.   I had also sold a few charts because I thought "oh well, I can always get them on POL" only... maybe not so much any more.   I did keep the most "important" charts (those I think I have a real shot at doing), but I suppose I'll have to stop drawing on my originals. 

I remember being heart broken when she announced her retirement.    We had a glimmer of hope when she posted a small shot of Illuminata way back when, but I know she's stopped stitching because of her arthritis and she likes to stitch her own pieces (not just design them on a computer), so we'll never see that piece. 

I think when I work on TW pieces, it'll be with a little stab of sadness that she doesn't take the pride she should in some amazing designs.

And because it's Wednesday, let's end on a positive note with a WIP Wednesday!

Zenia by Mirabilia!
I won't be stitching the "frame" or whatever that was around her.  I just want the witch in a beautiful red dress with a cocktail in her hand.   She's being stitched on Storm by PTP, and I'm liking it so much that I'm thinking I might use it for Red when I get around to stitching her.