Monday, February 25, 2013

Making Browniues

Over the weekend I was wishing for some kind of sweet to eat, and there was none in the house.  Charlie was away, and I couldn't drive out to get anything.  Then I remembered some boxes of brownie mix.  Oh, YES!
Found the eggs.  Turned the box of mix around, to check the other ingredients, and couldn't read any of the instructions.... DANG!  I even knew that there were little pictures up above the instructions showing the needed ingredients, but I couldn't make them out either.  Forget it.  No brownies for me on Friday.

Saturday evening Kim came over to go to the symphony with me, and do the driving.  Ha-ha!  I got her to read the ingredients to me as I wrote them down in LARGE letters with a really black marker.
Ready to go the next day!

Sunday, got out the eggs to warm to room temp, got out the oil, got out the chocolate chips and pecans.
Time to turn on the oven. . . . can'r read the starting temperature!  [Red numerals against black box on the oven controls.]  Can't remember if it always starts at 325 or 350 degrees.  DANG!  No brownies for me.

Charlie came home by supper time, and read me the oven starting tempe [350] and I finally made the brownies.  A three day project.

But now I have brownies.  And I really appreciate them!



People who will drive me
People who will read to me
Anticipation builds flavor

Friday, February 22, 2013

Binding Failure

I hope you can see in this photo that I have failed to catch the edge of the binding with the machine stitching.  Sometimes Yes, sometimes No.
I sew the binding to the back side of the quilt and then fold it over to the front.  Because of my failing eyesight I decided to use a WIDE stitch, blanket stitch, to catch the fold down on the front.  I hold my left index finger to the left of my pressure foot, and let my right forefinger run lightly along on the fold of the binding.  I THINK I am being careful and judging the space between the two.  I only sew about two inches before I reset everything,  but this was the result.At least three misses on each side of a small quilt.

Another proof that my eyes are getting worse.  Luckily last night was our SpoolSpinners Bee meeting.  I took this quilt and two others that need the binding applied and explained my difficulty to mu friends there.  Immediately volunteers offered to get the work done before our March Guild meeting when the baby quilts will be collected.  Quilters are the best!

Now I need to figure out how/what I can continue to do in the sewing room.  I have one last border to add and quillt on Jose's quilt.  I WAS going to make granddaughter Sami a graduation quilt this year.  And of course I have a large stash of fabrics and UFOs.


Today I will try some one thing and see how it goes.  I'll have to adjust my techniques.



Apple Store employees taught  me how to enlarge things on my computer screen
Liz brought over corn chowder
Survived first night of three without Charlie's help

P.S. Forgive the typos please.  Fon't think I caught them all.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stash Report - Feb. 18

Part of the stash

FABRIC USAGE                  OUT                  IN        

This Week:                      -12.33 yar         +  3.75

Year to Date:                   -23,43 yards      -+14.25

Net Yards for 2013:         - 9.18 yards

I finished the Carolina Crossroads quilt for  Jose, which used over 12 yards of fabric,  That quilt has a LOT of seams, which add a half inch each.  Photo in a day or two,
I should have a good report next week also because I have received back four quilts from Catherine, my lang-arm quilter.  Just need to trim and bin. those.

I am also keeping count of how much money I am spending on quilting this year, following Nann's example,  I am already just over $500, which surprises me,  That's a reason for keeping track.  My big expenses have been a retreat and two  wool batts,

Jose is supposed to arrived tomorrow!  We plan to go to the airport for a short greeting, and then Peter and Lynne will bring him over for dupper on Wednesday.He has asked for scrambled eggs and refried beans for his first dinner, so we are thinking that hamburgers might be good for the second.



Recliner chair when I can't sleep in bed
Crispy bacon
Sunshine again today

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Borders for Jose's quilt & Bad eyes

I am indeed working on the Carolina Crossroads quilt that is one of my February goals.  I have added one of the side borders, and am almost done with the second.  Since the center was already quilted, I am using the Quilt-Aa-You-Go method  for adding the borders.  With the quilt I found quite a number of mini-blocks which are being used in the borders.

This quilt is now intended for the refugee foster son coming to Peter and Lynee later this month, we hope. Peter says the second bedroom at their place is the coldest room in the house, so another quilt will be a help in keeping a boy from Honduras warm here in the North.

Yesterday I bought a cheap men's watch so I could read the time, and then had my every-four-weeks trip to the eye doctor for wet macular degeneration treatment.  I have been feeling a greater loss of vision in the last two weeks, and sure enough the docotr says I am not really benefiting from the injections any more.  So we are trying a different substance which he normally does not prefer but wants to give it a try in this case.  We'll see if this is more successful in another four weeks.

Meanwhile I am having trouble stitching in the ditch when the two fabrics are of similar tone, can't thread the machine, the letters on the computer keyboard are hard to distinguish [I really should have learned how to type without looking!], and I am on the second largest font size on my Kindle--reading with difficulty.  I am wondering what I will do with my time when I can't sew and can't read.  This condition does not improve, they only hope to hold it from getting worse.

I don't often think about my age, which is 70.  I have been unusually healthy up to last two years when arthritis began stopping some activities.  I have had a slow recovery from  my knee replacement for the past year.    Now I need to imagine blindness coming sooner rsather than later or never.  Hmm.  Time to count my blessings again.



Can still sing with the GRWC and in the shower
Classical music on Blue Lake radio
Crispy waffles with maple syrop
Feel of hot water in the shower
Smell of onions frying

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Green item is leftovers from my Secret Sister quilt last December.  I found it under other things yesterday, and so aas to not lose it again, I flung it up all the flannel wall.

Upper right item is  what will be a center to another neonatal quilt.

Lower is the second neonatal top made from a set of blocks I split into two separate projects.

Today I am working on none of these, but figuring out how to add borders to enlarge my Carolina Crossroads to a large twinbed size for Jose.  It is made from mostly plaids so I am scrounging to find enough more plaid in the stash.  Maybe flannel?



Warm duvet in the winter nights
Tom is staying at Downton Abbey!
Exercise bicycle for winter exercise

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stash report

Because I finished this quilt during the week I can count the yardage in my stash report.  I have increased my fabric usage for the year all the way to 3.2 yards!.

Weekly stash report                  February 10, 2013

FABRIC USAGE:               OUT                     IN   

This Week:                    -2.6 yards                 +  0.0

Through last Week:       -11.1 yards                +10.5

Year to Date:                -13.7 yards                +10.5

Net Yards for 2013:                       - 3.2 yards



Bi-lingual worship service today
Church dinner for Eight: learned about others
Downton Abbey tonight!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Graduation Quilt Start

I've got my plan for Samantha's graduation quilt.  I'll use the "Multi-Trips Around the World" method Bonnie Hunter describes, using Sami's favorite color - purple.  That will utilize a great variety of purples that are lurking in my stash.  I calculate 48 blocks will be required so I have started cutting the 288 strips I will need.  So far I have 114.



No more fabric needed
More sun today
Valentines in the mail

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bright Bargello

Bright Bargello Neonatal
39" x 39"

Finished off this neonatal that I worked on while on retreat.  I found I already had a piece of flannel with numerals in the same bright colors for the backing.

I quilted on the diagonal accenting the zig-zag in the pattern.  When I was sewing down the second side of binding on the right side, my eyesight was giving me trouble.  Trying to sew right along the edge of the fold with the straight stitch, I kept missing.  After I checked the first edge, I decided I needed to start over and use the blanket stitch, which is wide enough to catch the fold even if my steering is less than accurate.

This started as a Multiple Trips Around the World, but the size of the blocks were going to make it too large for the new neonatal guidelines.  Therefore I stopped with nine blocks, which meant a change to a bargello setting.

This is my sixth quilt for the collection in March at our Guild.


On the Needles

Still working on the "Leftover Yarn Socks" for Martha. [I showed them to her in St. Louis and she approved the look!]  I'm working on the heel of the upper sock in the photo, and the lower sock is just hangin' around for the duration.  Then I'll need to do that one's heel.  This is the slowest part of the process.

I'm trying to finish another neonatal quilt today, and then I'll work on Carolina Crossroads.

Son Peter and his wife Lynne have gotten a name, Jose,  and a few details about a teen refugee boy from Honduras as a foster son.  He may arrive in two weeks, so I want to get Carolina Crossroads finished for him.  We are all trying to review what little Spanish we have ever learned!



Peter & Lynne's generous hearts
Sunshine on the new snow
Vet has another option for Zeke's vacation

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Colored Bricks & January Stash Report

Colored Bricks Neonatal #5
31" x 41"

Today I put my sewing area back together after the retreat.  Then I made the binding for this quilt and applied it.  So, another finish for this year, and some more fabric removed from the stash.  The two neonatals this weeks used up 3.7 yards of fabric.

Weekly stash report                  February 5, 2013

FABRIC USAGE:                 OUT                        IN  

This Week:                     -3.7 yards               +  0.0

Through last Week:        -8.4 yards                +10.5

Year to Date:                 -11.1 yards             +10.5

Net Yards for 2013:                           - 0.6 yards

Hurray! I've used more than I've bought this year!  It's not much but it's moving in the right direction.



Ready to do more sewing
Warm feet
Charlie still cooking dinners

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monthly Goals

I had four goals for January and I finished two.  Two are moving forward to February.
1] Organizing ONE bookcase of fabric.  I did about half of this bookcase.  So one goal for February is to get the other half taken care of.  Sometimes I tell myself I also ought to cut all the funny sized pieces into useable sized pieces, but I don't want to add that burden!  Just get them folded neatly and into reasonable order.

2] Carolina Crossroads:  I made progress but I didn't get borders and binding done.  So that is my second February goal.

3] More neonatal finishes.  The collection at our Guild is in March when I will be gone to Florida, so I need to do as many finishes as possible in February.  I have four tops already made.  Therefore my goal is to finish one each week in February.

4] Make a plan for Sami's graduation quilt which is due in May.  Known facts: must be purple, must include zebra striped fabric, already purchased.

There, I have goals set.  Hope I have some mojo left after retreat to keep working at a good pace.


Retreat Results

3" Squares Neonatal Quilt
34" x 34" 

The first day I COMPLETED this neonatal quilt by adding the borders, pin basting, quilting and then binding.

That was all I accomplished because the loading of the car, the drive north through occasional white-outs, and then the unloading of the car took quite a bit of energy.

Saturday I made half of the blocks for this neonatal from 6 FQs of bright fabrics I was given by my cousin Trish.  Later I made the rest and put on a border.

My next task was sewing together two pieces of "Quilt As You Go" that I had finished quilting maybe three years ago.  There had been three pieces and I got two of them together then, but was so disheartened by the process [I hate hand work] that I filed the pieces away, and kept ignoring them on the shelf.  One of my January goals was to get PAST this "awful" step.  And I did!  I don't plan to ever use this technique again.
Here's the front of qhat I was working on: Carolina Crossroads quilt from a Bonnie Hunter mystery in 2008:

Now I can look at it with new eyes and decide whether or not I think it needs borders.  Probably, Yes.

Sunday I pin basted and quilted this Colored Bricks neonatal quilt, using a fishy background fabric.  I tried a new quilting stitch for me -- and elongated zig-zag stitch.  This creates a bumpy or scalloped effect.

Lastly on Sunday afternoon I sewed together more 3" squares for a neonatal center.  I am trying to use up my 3" squares because as Bonnie Hunter says, "They don't play well with others."

I felt I accomplished quite a bit during my time on retreat, and of course enjoyed the companionship of other quilters.

Next post: how well I did on my goals for January and what goals I can set for February.



Mostly resisted the snack table on retreat
My own bed again
Safe trip again on snowy roads