Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Garden glories

We returned from a long weekend in the Traverse City area to find that the garden had not missed us, and in fact was moving along.
Orange lilies next to the house,

Lavendar by the wellhead,

"The Fairy" rose bushes in the garden island,

"Happy Returns" day lilies by the fence,
and the Japanese willow, still with pink growth tips.



Lynne's "famous" chicken last night

Warm socks on a cool day

My own bed

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's go down to the lake!

A hot, hot day mostly spent sitting right in front of the oscillating fan. But at 4:30 we agreed it was time to go down to the lake! This was our first time to get in the water this year, so Charlie found the old "noodles" for flotation and he carried them down the steps and dropped them by the dock.

I started raking the weeds along the dock while he went offthe dock into the deeper and cooler water. After a time we changed positions.

I waded through the gunk to get out to the clear water, and then enjoyed floating, looking at the blue sky. Zeke took his tennis ball and lay down in the shade. He is NOT a water lover.

Then we enjoyed the refurbished "swimmers bathroom", ate gaspacho and shrimp for a cold supper and went off to a township meeting on a new nature park. [The meetinig was in the air conditioned library.]



Attic fan pulling cool evening air in our windows

Though people disagreed, the meeting was not acrimonious

Now. . .more strawberry shortcake

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Machine problem

I was sewing away, getting my scraps used up--and when I looked up to change my needle position, everything on the sewing machine screen was "8.8", in all the different categories. Hmm, can't get it to change. Maybe if I turn off the machine and wait a few minutes? . . .. . No, everything's just the same. Oh, well, maybe I can just keep on sewing with the old settings. Oh, No. Machine will not do anything.

Unfortunately this looks like a computer chip problem. Took it into the Pfaff shop for analysis on Saturday, but there were no mechanics on duty. Waiting to hear their diagnosis.

Thank goodness my friend Dianne is once again willing to loan me her Featherweight, the one that travelled to Florida with me.

Therefore I am able to keep sewing on these leftovers I found from a much earlier project. I have been combining and then cutting them into 3.5" squares. I have 21 blocks, and I don't think there is enough left for any more. At this moment my plan is to make placemats for the deck meals.

Meanwhile, the temperature is up in the 80's, and a long-haired dog has to find someplace that is cooler to lie down. Zeke finds that ceramic tile in the shower does the job. Or curling around the toilet.
Michigan strawberries at a roadside stand
Jazz at the Zoo
Ice maker in the refrigerator--remember when we had to re-fill those trays all summer?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mowing the labyrinth

Turning around a bend in the path. . .

Every week I intend to mow the labyrinth I put in our meadow several years ago. I don't really have a choice if I want the labyrinth to be useable! This year I have done very well on getting to it each Friday.

In the center, emtry/exit path and six "standing" places. . . .

This week it rained all day on Friday, so I was a day and a half late. The grass along the side of the path is now so long that if I get a little bit off kilter, these grasses wrap around the axel of the wheels and really slow me down. Usually I can do the job in 30 minutes. This time I sepnt 20 minutes and was only 1/3 of the way finished. I was sweating and huffing sao hard, that I put the machine away until the next day!

Very foggy this morning, so I kept to the sewing machine, where I made pillow cases to go along with the Summer Sun quilt.
I had purchased enough of one yellow fabric to be the bodies of the pillowcases, and I used the leftovers from the quilt to make bands for the cuffs of the cases.

I have a little pillow to put between my knees, so I made a yellow case for that pillow as well.

GrammiLou commented that this quilt seems to have progressed very quickly. Well, yes! I looked back and see that I started it on June 1--part of an internet Quilt-along. I really focused on it for two weeks, AND when I gave it to Catherine, my LA quilter, she loaded it on her Gammill that very night! She heard me that I wanted this quilt for the SUMMER. So June 1 I started, and June 21 I finished the pillowcases. Yes, that's quick.



Enjoyed the new quilt on my bed last night
Newly found Mendelsohn music on radio
Charlie safely home from his trip to Ontario [baseball Hall of Fame]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Sun bound and finished

I ironed the binding in half.

I trimmed the quilt edges.

I sewed the binding on the back, and then over to the front.

And I put the quilt on our bed.

It really should have been washed first, but Charlie is going away tomorrow overnight--and I wanted us both to experience this new summer quilt.

The hand quilting project that I started yesterday is my "Kona Stars" top. I had put this mostly together while we were on our trip to Florida. Now Catherine has machine basted the layers together so that I can try the "Big Stitch" method of hand quilting. I am using perle cotton (heavy embroidery thread) in black, and will outline the patches that are NOT stars. Then see what more, if anything, I want to do.

It's looking rather primitive, only 3 stitches to the inch! And the lines aren't really straight. Guess I'll have to find a way to mark those diagonals. But I think it is going to be okay. However, I'm wondering how long this is going to take me. I spent about two hours on it yesterday and only got this far.



Rain in the night
Ladies wearing hats for a birthday party
Two new-to-me quilting books from the library

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Sun quilted

Catherine Martin brought my Summer Sun quilt back to me at our Bee "stitch-in" today. There she is on the right, while we try to hold up this queen sized quilt.

It's just like I wanted it, only even better because she added some flames in the rays coming from the sun. All the quilting lines come out from the sun, which required her to do some hard thinking to plan how to do that on her Gammill.
She tried yellow thread, but thought that the orange/red showed up better. I'm happy with that.
And she used tight flames in the sun itself to fasten down the edges.

I am so happy with the whole thing!

Thank you Catherine! I hope to get it bound tomorrow, and then we can sleep under it for the rest of the summer.


Made it through exercise class again
Began "Big Stitch" hand quilting at Stitch-In
Summer Sun delivered back to me!
Celebration dinner for Peter's MA in Public Administration

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Basement bathroom improved

We have been improving the basement bathroom, sometimes called "The Swimmers' Bathroom". Our basement walks out on the lakeside--so it is where the swimmers go in and out of the house. But all year round the basement is also where the guest room and family room are, and Charlie's new "office" space is part of that.

This was always a complete 3/4 bath, but not in the greatest condition. So we had it all re-painted a neutral beige color.
And we had a new, water-efficient toilet installed. Doesn't it look strangely narrow? There are two buttons for the flush, one regular and one strong, for #1 amd #2.
And a glass door on the shower, as well as tile on the shower floor [which had badly pealing paint before this].

After 24 hours we will be able to try the shower out. Hooray for the Swimmers' Bathroom!

Various grasses to contemplate while walking the labyrinth
Soft rain most of the day
Found a non-dairy ice cream

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Peonies in the house

Some on the dining room table.
Some in the bathroom, duplicated in the mirror.


Wonderful fragrance brought into the house
Hymn that alternated Spanish and English
LAMBurgers Peter grilled for us, juicy!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Twelve Apostles?

Some time ago I played with some scraps and white muslin. I made most of them into 3.4" blocks. Yesterday I found them under a pile of other scraps, and still being tired of Yellow, I played some more.

Last night I chose the border fabric, layered it and went on to finish the machine quilting.
Today I picked out binding fabric, made the binding and applied it. Finished at 17" x 18", an odd size. Can't see that it is of any USE at all, except as an instance of "project improv". And I like it.
There were 12 scrap pieces to start with--so Twelve Apostles? I think the three pieces I added outside of the 12 ,"in the margin", are Three Women, as usual not included among the apostles, but holding the whole together!
Also there are a couple of "Invisible" apostles in the quilting.
Brats on the deck for supper
Peter and Lynne came over last evening to play bocce
dogs thought we were playing "fetch"; hilarity!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grocery Totes

I needed a break from the yellow, yellow, yellow.

So when another Blogger pointed me to Lazy Girl Designs [not Lazy Gal, Tonya] for a free tote pattern, "With Love Tote Bag", off I went to see if it was as easy as she said. Well, it is. You need just one yard of fabric to make a tote, a lining and the handles. Of course, you could change something around to your own style.

I made one. According to all the instructions. Looks fine, but quilting fabric is a little flimsy for this application.

I made a second one [of a better, heavier fabric] with two minor changes.

I made a third one because #2 was so perfect for a grocery tote [Vegetable Fabric!], that I wanted to make another--so I could HAVE two, or I could give one away, or at least I would finish up that fabric!

I would say the second and third only took about 30 minutes each.

So a completely different project for today; and they are all completed. Wow, when has that ever happened? Haha, I can list this as a One Project A Month completion!



Leftover rhubarb crisp
Charlie gone to Chicago with pals to see the Tigers/White Sox
Painting progress in the swimmers' bathroom
AAA came in 15 minutes when my car wouldn't start

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yellow on BOTH sides

Tuesday I made a white spiral to fuse into the middle of my Sun. When I cut it out, it produced another spiral almost as big. Decided to fuse that one onto an extra block that is going into the backing for the quilt.

Spent the rest of yesterday and today putting strips together for the back of Summer Sun, trying to use up most/all of the leftovers from the front of the quilt. Tonight one half is together, and the other strips are sewn. One side's strips will be perpendicular to the other side's strips.


Got a comment that "gratitudes" are contagious!
Found some basil plants to put in the herb garden.
Green, green lovely day; dinner on the deck

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Sun mostly together

I going to call this quilt "Summer Sun" because if is all yellow. Last night I finished sewing my blocks into two long rectangles--and I'm not sewing those two together until I have done some quilting.

Since this is going to be a summer quilt, I am making an indication of the sun in the middle . I made one Snowball block for the sun itself, using a lighter, mottled yellow fabric. Then I slashed some railfence blocks and inserted a 1.5" strip from side to side. One the first four, I carefully alternated the way the rail went before I cut the pile of four. Then when I decided to add some more, cutting on the Real diagonal, from corner to corner, I didn't think that was necessary. Wrong! I couldn't get them to point in the direction I wanted and still keep the rails going in the right direction for the design. O, well, use them a little further out. Certainly USE them.

Now I am studying it, trying to decide if they are TOO wonky.
Hmm, now there's a concept.



Got through exercise class

Smell of bread baking this afternoon

Plumber started work on downstairs bathroom

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some Lighter Yellow

I took my extra darker yellow strips and sewed them end to end, as preparation for the binding of the Sunshine Yellow quilt. Maybe it will be long enough.

Then I sewed the little "waste" triangles together and made little patches. And I sewed Them together and end to end to make a strip of leftovers that can be pieced into the backing of this quilt.

But I was really thinking all day that 70 blocks was not going to be enough. You see, somehow I have begun thinking of this as MY quilt for the summer. And my bed is queen sized.

So last night I made 10 more blocks of lighter yellow fabrics that I still had (and had earlier rejected as "too light"). Here's a photo of the new blocks on the left and a bit on the others on the right.

80 blocks is supposed to be enough to make a top that is 80" x 100". But is THAT going to be big enough? Do I need another 10?

So now I only have to wait until Monday for the next set of instructions.



Guided walk through the Wege Natural Area
Yummy lunch [and conversation] at Sue's house after the walk
Also great to see Kim and the Sikes at the walk

Sue's begun QUILTING!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Split" Rails

In order to have enough "rails" for the golden yellow fences I have been sewing together the leftovers. This gives me some extra strips for my blocks, and I hope will add a little "zip" to the final look.

So today I have 70 "regular" blocks, some of which include the scrappy strips. These will be set Rail Fence style, though mostdo not have a dark rail on one side. My plan in making so many is that I will have NO borders! Yes! Borders are always a problem. Recently I have seen several quilts with no borders, and they look great. What a solution! However, it does mean more blocks to get the quilt up to size.

This is enough for a 7 x 10 set, which should be almost 70" x 100". However, they are not all pressed yet.

Looks like it's going to be a summery, sunshine quilt. I'm feeling energized by this project right now, and they isn't going to be any more instruction until Monday. Should I go ahead and start compiling rows? What else could the next instruction be after all?

Hmm. Out of energy for tonight, so I'm going to knit or read.



Visit by Carol Ingells
Dinner out: plate of 3 different salads
Five "Living On The Edge" ten minute plays tonight

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trail Volunteer and Rail Fence blocks

Charlie has signed up to be a Trail Volunteer for our Kent County trail system. He has been to the class, had his "record" checked, and received this splendid costume which he is to wear on the trail.

His assignment is to walk at least two hours a week and report the condition of the TRAIL. If there are any problem with PEOPLE, he is to use his own cell phone to call the sheriff.

I'm working on the Rail Fence blocks, which seem pretty big. But then, that will make the quilt top quicker! Here are some of the blocks to show how the colorway is looking. Looks like Summer or July Sunshine!

And here is the wastebasket with the slivers of trimmings from cutting them all to my PPM, 10.25" square.



Easy picking out new tiles for basement shower floor
Progress on the Rail Fence blocks
Robin chicks have flown away (or disapeared anyway)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Double Delight done, done DONE

Yesterday afternoon I finished the extra quilting that I thought my Double Delight needed to balance what Catherine Martin had done. Then I washed it, and put it in the dryer. When I get to that point with any quilt, I think it is DONE. I can mark it down as finished in May, on the very last day! [Counts for One-Project-A-Month plan.]
I have shown this before, but here it is washed and dried, with all the bumpiness of the quilting really showing up.

And today I started the "Quilt-along" offered by Dana at http://oldredbarnco.blogspot.com/ .

Step 1 was choosing your fabric--and after thinking hard about GREEN, I decided on yellow. When I looked into my Yellow Box, I saw a lot of orangey/goldish fabrics I would be glad to use up--so THAT's the kind of yellow I am using. My idea is a summer quilt--maybe with all the yellows: "Summer Sun."

I cut some 2.5" strips as directed in Step 2, and sewed some together. I could see by the Sample that this was going to be a Rail Fence quilt. But I don't have the new fabric she is planning for, so I wasn't able to cut Width-of-Fabric strips. I wasn't going to cut my strips from my scraps until I knew how long they had to be.

Today Step 3 gave me that information, and her particular plan is not going to work for me. I have changed the plan to a FIVE rail block instead of six rails, therefore I am making my blocks 10.5" instead of 12.5". I think this will still work out to a twin sized quilt. I can make something over 50 blocks, so that will make a 60" x 90" center section.



Quiet, rainiy day, good for sewing

Leftovers made dinner easy

More iris in bloom