Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Design Wall...

Quote for the Day:
"I would rather be surrounded by smart people than have a huge budget. 
Smart people will get you there faster."
~author unknown

In the past, my quilt design wall was a large piece of beige flannel fabric taped to one of the walls in my sewing room.  It extended behind the entry door and can be seen in this picture.

However, I had to add another bookcase to my sewing room to add more storage space, so the rearranging of furniture caused the design wall to be inaccessible.  :(

I decided to make myself a new, bigger, "portable" design wall out of  two 4' X 8' foam insulating panels.  You know the kind that they attach to the outside of a house before applying siding?  

I chose the 3/4" thick ones.  ($16/each)  I hope they will be sturdy enough.  When in use, they will lean up against the cabinets in my sewing room.  When not in use, they will be stored upright between a wall and a free-standing wardrobe that is in my quilting room.  They are very light and can easily be carried from the quilting room to the sewing room.  

I started by sewing batting scraps together till I had two pieces large enough to cover the 48" X 96" panels.   Working on my dining room table, I attached the batting to the printed side of the insulating sheets with Elmers Craft Bond spray adhesive.

I then flipped the board over and pulled the batting around to the back of the board and stapled it into place.

After stapling it, I used Gorilla tape to help hold the batting to the board.  I've heard that it is stronger than duct tape, though it looks just like it.

Here is one sheet of the new, finished design board...

 When working on a large bed-sized quilt, I can put both boards side by side to get an 8' X 8' (96" X 96") work area.  :)

And here it is with some blocks on action shot!  LOL

If I find that they aren't sturdy enough on their own, I can always get a long, thin board and glue it vertically down the back to keep it from swaying or bowing.   I'll see how it goes.

I have one more quilt-related-that-is-not-quilting project to do before I get on with putting the next quilt in the frame.  More on that later, though!  :)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quilt Repaired and First Harvest...

Quote for the Day:
"I sometimes wonder if the manufacturers of foolproof items
keep a fool or two on their payroll to test things." 
~Alan Coren 

Today I finished repairing Paul & Trinity's wedding quilt.  It had developed holes in the outer border of the foot end where they had tucked it under the mattress and it rubbed against the bed frame.

The holes were scattered along one outer border, so I cut a strip wider than the border and sewed it down on the seam line.

I then flipped the fabric over so that it covered the area with the holes.  Since this is an outer border, I wrapped the fabric over the edge and then turned it under as a "binding".  
To make it look like the rest of the quilt, I then extended the hand quilting lines into the new border.

I think it blends very nicely with the rest of the quilt.  The original fabric is not very faded considering the age of the quilt (7 years).  I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  :)

Today I picked the first blackberries of the season...

With the drought we'd been having up until about 2 weeks ago, we weren't sure if we were going to get any since we were a little late to the game with watering the plants.  We usually get enough rain that we don't have to water, so we kept expecting it to rain, and thus didn't water till it was almost too late.

They are very sweet and juicy but we definitely won't get the amount this year that we normally do.  

Now for a book review...

"No Biking in the House Without a Helmet", by Melissa Fay Greene.

When the two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene confided to friends that she and her husband planned to adopt a four-year-old boy from Bulgaria to add to their four children at home, the news threatened to place her, she writes, “among the greats: the Kennedys, the McCaughey septuplets, the von Trapp family singers, and perhaps even Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, gave birth to sixty-nine children in eighteenth-century Russia.”
Greene is best known for her books on the civil rights movement and the African HIV/AIDS pandemic. She’s been praised for her “historian’s urge for accuracy,” her “sociologist’s sense of social nuance,” and her “writerly passion for the beauty of language.”

But Melissa and her husband have also pursued a more private vocation: parenthood. “We so loved raising our four children by birth, we didn’t want to stop. When the clock started to run down on the home team, we brought in ringers.”

When the number of children hit nine, Greene took a break from reporting. She trained her journalist’s eye upon events at home. Fisseha was riding a bike down the basement stairs; out on the porch, a squirrel was sitting on Jesse’s head; vulgar posters had erupted on bedroom walls; the insult niftam (the Amharic word for “snot”) had led to fistfights; and four non-native-English-speaking teenage boys were researching, on Mom’s computer, the subject of “saxing.”
“At first I thought one of our trombone players was considering a change of instrument,” writes Greene. “Then I remembered: they can’t spell.”
Using the tools of her trade, she uncovered the true subject of the “saxing” investigation, inspiring the chapter “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Couldn’t Spell.”
A celebration of parenthood; an ingathering of children, through birth and out of loss and bereavement; a relishing of moments hilarious and enlightening—No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is a loving portrait of a unique twenty first-century family as it wobbles between disaster and joy.
This book was captivating, funny, and heartwarming.  I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend it!  


Monday, July 23, 2012


Quote for the Day:
"Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another." 
~Anatole France 

This past weekend, Andy & I left for a brief get-away.  We left Saturday morning and drove the back roads to Charleston, WV, the state's capital, and returned on Sunday evening.  

Along the way, we stopped when we felt like stopping, ate when we felt like eating, and, in general, just had a good time.

We stopped at some yard sales, thrift stores, and antique stores along the way and got to chat with a lot of interesting people!  

While passing through Glenville, we stopped at Smokehouse Barbeque, 10 N. Lewis St., and had lunch.  

We thought the food was very good!  Loved their homemade "sweet" BBQ sauce!  It had a "kick" to it so I can't even imagine what their "hot" variety was like!  But if you like "hot"....they had you covered!  They also had jars of the homemade sauce for sale and I wish now that I had bought one or two.  

As we continued on down to Charleston one of the stops we made was downtown Spencer, WV, where there were some thrift stores and the Spencer Antique Mall.   The antique mall had the women's bathroom decorated in a way that I have never seen before...

 ...yep...that's right.  It was set up like a bedroom...complete with hand made quilt on the bed!  LOL  The toilet was around to the left as you entered the room...just out of site from where I was standing to take the picture.  I was so fascinated with how they had decorated this bathroom that I asked Andy to open the door of the men's bathroom to see if it was also uniquely decorated.  The answer to that one was a resounding "no".  :(

Antique store bathrooms are frequently decorated with unique items, but I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen one set up like a BEDROOM!   LOL   ( takes so little to amuse me!  LOL)

We spent Saturday night in south Charleston...nothing unique...just a Holiday Inn Express.  But we did feel so much SMARTER in the morning!  LOL  (For the foreign readers, Holiday Inn Express's commercials play on the premise that people who stay there are smarter after they check out than when they check in.)

After toodling around the town a little more on Sunday, we headed back home.   (Charleston is about 2.5 hours drive from where we live.)

Now...onto some quilting news...
After we returned home, I spent a couple hours quilting and was able to finish up the quilting on the daffodil quilt....6 months and 3 days after putting it into the frame!  :)

I still have to trim off the excess batting and backing, bind it and label it.  But here is is...spread out on our queen-sized bed...

Here's a close-up of the hand-quilting...

 And here's a picture with a corner turned back showing the backing fabric...

 I'm glad to have it "done".   I have some other things to do first on other projects before I bind and label it, so you probably won't see/hear anymore of this quilt for a while.

Pictures of upcoming projects will be coming soon...I hope!  :)  There is a quick, non-quilting-but-quilt-related project I want to do before I start on the next quilt.  Does that have your interest piqued, yet?  LOL

The next quilt to go into the frame is a "customer" quilt that my
massage therapist commissioned me to do... hand-quilt a quilt top that her mom made for her.  But I won't be able to get it into the frame until I do the aforementioned non-quilting-but-quilt-related project since the "project" will tie up my quilting room until it is complete.   I promise that I will post pictures of the "project" when it is done!  ")


Sunday, July 15, 2012

What's Going on Around the Ol' Homestead...

Quote for the Day:
"You can do anything, but not everything.:
—David Allen
I've been trying out some of the ideas that I have "pinned" on Pinterest.  They are things that will hopefully either save me money, time, make my life easier....or all three of the above!  :)  I thought I'd share some of them with you!
I was almost out of facial toner so I thought I'd try the homemade toner "recipe" that I found online. 
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon juice
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2/3 Cup Witch hazel (can purchase at any drug store)
  • Mix together and store in plastic bottle or jar
              The above is for normal to dry skin.   For oily skin add 2 tablespoons alcohol.
I didn't have any lemons, so I used ReaLemon instead.  I added one teaspoon of isopropyl alcohol to my solution since it seems that without it, it took FOREVER for the toner to dry. 
Since this was a trial, I only made 1/2 of the recipe.  (And because I only had enough witch hazel on hand to make 1/2 of the recipe!  LOL)  

I poured the toner mixture back into the empty witch hazel bottle and 1/2 recipe made this much.  This should be 3-4 weeks use for me.  I really like this toner and will make more when this is used up.  Next time I will make it with fresh lemon juice and see if I notice any difference between the two.
Another idea I tried this weekend was fixing a poking underwire with a piece of moleskin.  :)
If you've ever worn an underwire bra, you've probably experience this at some time or another...

I saw a "pin" where the person cut a piece of moleskin (used to protect and pad feet corns) and applied it to her bra.  I thought I'd try it but first, I had to get a package of moleskin at Wallyworld.  

You can find it in the foot care area and it costs less than $3.00 for a package that will last a long time.  You cut the size you want, peel off the paper strip covering the adhesive side and press into place.

According to the blog I read online about it, the writer said it even lasts through multiple washings.  :)  An easy-peasy inexpensive fix!  My favorite kind!  :)

My next trial is actually two ideas put together.  The first one is homemade fabric softener.  This takes three ingredients:  3 cups white vinegar, 2 cups hair conditioner, and 6 cups water.

Heat the vinegar and mix it with the hair conditioner.  (This conditioner was gotten for free with my couponing!)   I used a whisk to get it thoroughly mixed.  I then added the water and whisked some more.  Again, since this is a trial, I only made half of a batch.

I put the mixture into a vintage Tupperware canister so that I could try the next "pin" I wanted to try...reusable fabric softener "sheets".  (You can also add 1/8 - 1/4 cup of this solution directly to the rinse cycle of the wash, too, but since my laundry area is in the basement, I like the ease of dryer sheets.)

I have lots of plain, white, cheap wash cloths from Wallyworld.  I use them for lots of things, including cleaning.

I took these three and dunked them into the mixture, wrung them out, and then hung them to dry above the dryer.

After they are dry I will throw one into the dryer with the wet clothes to "soften" the clothes and prevent static.  From what I've read, each one is good for approximately 10 dryer loads before it needs to be re-dunked into the mixture.  I'm anxious to try these and will let you know how they work and how long they seem to last.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back to "Normal"...

Quote for the Day:
"Normal is just a setting on the washing machine"
~Erma Bombeck

Last week was a first for us.  Our granddaughter, Sera, came to stay with us without her parents for five days.  Sera is five...she will be six in two months.  It's been quite a while since I've been responsible for the care and feeding of a small child for more than an hour or two!  Wow...were those skills ever rusty!  LOL

Let's just say that they need LOTS of food throughout the day...small snacks, say, every 15 min. or so!  LOL  And they need LOTS of activities as they are in CONSTANT motion.  And the caretaker needs LOTS of sleep, caffeine, and sugar just to keep up!  LOL

On July 4th, I drove four hours each way to Kentucky to pick Sera up from her mom and dad.   Andy had to be on-call for his work so he was unable to go with do the driving, of course.  (That's his job as the man of the family...driving on trips...and opening tough jar lids..and killing large, ugly bugs.  Those are his jobs.)

While Sera was here we were suffering through an oppressing heat wave with outrageous humidity, so the outdoor activities were limited to what could be done in the morning before it got too hot and what could be done in the shade.  Most of the mid-day was spent indoors playing Wii, Memory, watching movies, and coloring.

Note to self:  A woman of my age whose brain is chock full of useless information, like the lyrics to "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" should NOT play "Memory" with a 5 year old whose brain is still in the "soaking up knowledge" state.

It took me 3 days before I was finally able to beat her!  Out of the 3467 games of "Memory" (or "Membry", as she called it), I won exactly TWO!

Here's proof of one of my wins...I had to take a picture so that I could be sure of this info in the future.  My stack is on the left!  :)

Grandpa bought an inflatable pool and it was a GOD SEND!   Not only did it keep her entertained, but it kept her COOL, too!

On Friday, we went to the park before it got too hot.  Let's just say, we were back by 11:00 AM!  Whew!  It was cute to see her play in the same park, on the same equipment that her mom had played on!  In fact, the first week we moved here, this park equipment was being built by community volunteers, and Andy went down and volunteered and helped to build it!  :)

There is a huge wooden "castle" with connecting tunnels, etc., that connects all the slides and other equipment, and she enjoyed playing that she was a "princess" in the castle!  :)

Andy, Sera, and myself all went yardsaling on Saturday and she had a great time and got some "new" toys to take home with her!

On Sunday, Andy & I took her back to the meeting place (Cracker Barrel, LOL) in Kentucky to be reunited with her parents since I had to return to work this week.  :(   Another long, eight hour car trip, but this time Andy was there to do the driving.

On the way coming back we were looking for an Exxon station to get the car gassed up, and lo and behold, looky what we found at the same exit...

We took it as a "sign from God" and went in for a browse.  Although the prices were not bad on most things, there was just nothing that jumped into our car, so we left empty-handed.  (I find it hard to pay "retail" prices after yardsaling the day before!  LOL)

With Sera here for five days, I didn't get much any quilting done and was starting to go into withdrawals.  Luckily, yesterday I was able to get a couple hours in before going to work.  

As you can see, I'm on the last set of blocks before I get to the last two borders!  I'm very close to being done with this quilt and have given myself the goal of having it done by July 19.  That will be six months from the day I put it into the frame!  This quilt is a over-sized queen. 

Here's a close-up of the hand quilting.  There is a LOT of quilting in this quilt because each flower/stem/leaf/petal has to be outline-quilted to five the flowers definition!  


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Quote for the Day:
"I love being married.  It's so great to find that one special person 
you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
 ~Rita Rudner

July 3, 1982 


THIRTY YEARS today!  Yep...that's how long Andy and I have been married!!  Can you believe it?  I can't!!!  

Thirty years sounds so LOOONNNNGGGG...but it doesn't feel like it's been that long.  Even with the moves, the kids, the grandkids, the job changes, the automobiles purchased, the remodeling of  two different houses, etc., etc., etc., ...all of the things that have occurred over the many still seems like it's only been about 8 years or so.  After all, how is it possible that I could even be OLD ENOUGH to have been married 30 years???    Oh, that's right...I married when I was 6 years old!  LOL 

Us with my mom and 2 of my sisters and 2 of my nieces...

Funny...I look older than six years old in those pictures!  LOL

These past 30 years have been a roller coaster ride... sometimes fun...sometimes frightening,  but we take each day as it comes. 

And then, seven years ago, Paul and Trinity, our son and daughter-in-law, said their vows on this same date...July 3, 2005!!

So a Happy 7th Anniversary shout out to them, too!!   Love you both!  :)  Pretty soon it will be THEM saying to themselves, "Thirty years?  How can that be?"  LOL

They had a much better photographer than we did, so their pictures turned out great!  LOL  At our wedding we had a friend who thought he knew how to use his fancy camera...but didn't!  :(    


Monday, July 2, 2012

It's An Illness, I Tell Ya'!!!

Quote for the Day:
"Oops...I did it again..."
~ Britney Spears song

It's JULY, Folks!!!  The year is half over with already!  My oh my, where has the time gone???  :(

Anyway, last week a friend of mine went to Lancaster, PA, for a quick vacation.  While there she picked up a queen-sized whole-cloth quilt top to quilt.  She brought it to work to show me and ask about what to back it with (she didn't know you could buy wide quilt backings...she thought you had to buy regular fabric and piece it together!) 

I have a soft spot for whole-cloth quilts because of their simple beauty, and I REALLY liked the design on hers...even better than I liked the star on my whole-cloth quilt that I hand quilted last year.  (It took my 9 months, BTW, to hand quilt it!)

So what did I do???  I got the info where she had bought the top, price, etc., and called them up and had them send me one!!!  Yep...I did it again...went and bought another whole-cloth quilt top to hand quilt!  And it arrived today!  :)

It's an insanity of it's own sort.  There is no other way to describe my addiction to quilting!  :)

I have several other quilts to do before the whole-cloth gets done, but at least I have it in my possession!  A few years ago it was quite easy to find printed quilt tops to embroider or quilt, but it is getting more and more difficult to find them.  (That's my excuse, anyway! LOL)

I've been very busy this past week working more than I normally do due to illnesses/call-offs.   Luckily, I only work two days this week due to the July 4th holiday!  YAY for holidays!  :)

Last Friday West Virginia and several states that surround us were hit with a very bad storm with high winds of up to 80 mph.  Lots of tree limbs were blown down and that meant lots of electrical outages.  We were lucky at our house that our electric only flickered a couple of times but didn't stay off.  Unfortunately 250,000 residents were still without power over the weekend while we have been having 90+ degree weather!  :( 

We had a lot of things blown around at our place...trash cans in the yard, etc., but the major thing was that one of the heavy, wooden chairs on our porch was blown off into the driveway.  Luckily, I was still at work or else it would have probably hit my car had it been parked there.  

Speaking of porch furniture...(don't you love how I segue into the next topic, LOL?)...Sunday was spent cleaning house.  Sometimes I just can't take the untidiness and I get on a cleaning jag!  That's what happened Sunday!  LOL  Luckily, my back is feeling so much better than it has for the last 1 3/4 years, and I'm able to CLEAN HOUSE, yard work, etc!  

One of the things I did was to take the covers off of the outdoor furniture and wash them.  Not only had this not been done last year (and possibly not the year before that, too!), but they had also been left out all year long instead of being brought in in the fall, like we normally do.  It's things like this that just didn't get attended to when I was suffering from my back pain.

Needless to say, not only were the covers and chairs FILTHY, but the covers are also about ready to give out from the weather exposure.  Put that on my to-do list for next year...make new cushion covers!  (About 7-8 years ago I made these matching covers for my cushions since the cushions didn't match!)

Last evening, I washed the covers, wiped down the chairs, and replaced the covers onto the cushions... now we can actually sit on the front porch and relax!  :)

In the top picture, it was the chair farthest away that ended up in the driveway Friday night!  You can see how bulky and heavy it is so you can imagine how windy it was! 

Several years ago, Andy & I made the bench in the bottom photo from the headboard and footboard of a twin bed that my niece gave me!  :)

Our granddaughter, Sera, is coming to visit us this week!!!  I go on July 4th to pick her up!  Looking forward to spending time with her this week!  :)  If I'm not around much, you'll know why!