Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Table Makeover...

Quote for the Day:
"Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it do...or Do without."
~brought to the USA by immigrants from Great Britain in the early 1900s,
 source:  Wikipedia.Org

If you've been reading my blog for the last several posts, you know by now that I'm going to my first quilting workshop/retreat next weekend.  I've been spending the last few days getting the things together that I need to take with me for a weekend of sewing.  

I told you about my Goodwill iron find.  Now I needed a small table to put my pressing/cutting mat on near my chair.  I've seen many people use a TV tray table for this, but alas, we don't have any.  Last night, when Andy and I made a quick stop at Walmart I ran walked over to the furniture department to see what they had in the way of a small table and I found this, though I swear it only cost $15.00 in the store.  I went ahead and picked it up even though Andy said he had a folding wooden table out in the storage shed, but he didn't know what condition it was in.  Before I took the Walmart table out of the package today, I had Andy bring in the table he was talking about.  It is about the same size as the plastic one...possibly a few inches bigger, but much sturdier.

However, it looked like this...

The finish was in REALLY rough shape with lots of scratches, etc.  And besides, it was this ugly golden finish.  (I like dark wood finish, not this!)  Imagine what the finish looked like after being stored in an outdoor shed for 4-5 years.  Andy can't remember exactly when/where he got the table, but he thinks it was about that long a yard sale, of course!  LOL

I washed it with Murphy's Oil Soap and got a layer of grime off of it, but it really didn't do much to increase it's beauty any.  :(

What's a girl to do???   *sigh*

A couple hours later it looks like this...

Nice, huh???   I used Behr Premium paint with primer in it, so I wouldn't have to do a separate coat of primer!  :)  It was a light green/sage color I already had on hand leftover from when I painted my quilting room 2 years ago!  :)

For now I have only applied one coat since it isn't a piece of furniture that will be used regularly....just when I need an extra table for something like this retreat...or any other time an extra table would be handy!  :)  It's bigger than the standard TV tray table...probably about 1.5 times bigger...which will be really nice for a cutting/pressing station! 

I'm very happy with the way it turned out and the whole project was quick and easy!  I guess you know by now that the flimsy black plastic table is getting returned to Walmart!  :)

I've been making more blocks for the "Sherbet Quilt" over the last couple of days.  I'm up to 13 blocks now, out of the 36 I need for the quilt!   

I've started a new "leader/ender" project to work on while making other blocks.  I'm using up 2.5" scraps and corners cut off from other projects and am making "Maverick Stars", a pattern by Bonnie Hunter.   They finish at 6" and use up a LOT of scrap corners!   Here is my first "test" block completed...

The star points are not supposed to be symmetrical...that's what makes them "mavericks"!  :)

Tomorrow I'm getting another epidural injection for my back and leg pain.  I'm looking forward to the relief because the pain has been quite unbearable lately!  The last injection lasted me quite a while...5 1/2 months!   I'm hoping I get similar relief from this one!  Wish me luck tomorrow and please say a prayer for me as I get this procedure tomorrow!  


Friday, October 26, 2012

Sadie Mae...

Quote for the Day:
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.
~Scott Adams

That quote is soooooooooo true about appliances, including the sewing machine.  
I've been sewing since 1976 and I'd been dreaming of a fancy computerized machine ever since I first saw one my friend had back in the about 1990.  I finally bought myself a Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 Royal Edition back in 2005.

I will be the first to tell you how much I love it and how nice it is to sew on. is heavy and ever since I'd first seen Singer Featherweights in person, I wanted one to take to quilting classes.   (Featherweights only weigh about 12 pounds!)

So April of 2011 when we were in Maine visiting Andy's family, we went to an estate auction and I picked up a featherweight with the table for a STEAL!   I named it "Sadie Mae" after Andy's grandmother and found that it was made in 1946.  She'd been used so much that she wasn't very "pretty".  Some of her decals have been rubbed off with use and her finish isn't very shiny. 
I took it to a local repairman to have it gone through, oiled, lubed, and have the belt replaced

He gave it a clean bill of health, but I was never completely happy with the way it sewed.  I know that I had to really play with the tension to get it semi-close to where it was supposed to be and the flywheel seemed "tight" and had to be turned EVERY time you pressed on the foot pedal or else the needle wouldn't start.  I didn't think it worked quite right and I put it away in my sewing room.

Then in September when we were in Tennessee on vacation I found another featherweight at an antique store.  The price was very reasonable and it was in better condition than Sadie Mae, with less scratches and the decals still intact.  I found out it was made in 1957 and I named it "Mary Gwendolyn" after my mother.   I found that this "new" featherweight sewed fast and easily and the tension was perfect.  So I now KNEW that something was wrong with the first one.

Since I now have 3 old Singer machines, (2 featherweights and a 301) I no longer take them into the repairman for simple service.  Instead, I do the oil and lube myself.  Aside from routine maintenance, there isn't really much that goes wrong with these machines.

I pulled Sadie Mae off of the shelf and decided that I'd give 
her a test run and, once again, the tension was off and I couldn't get it straightened out, and the flywheel was tight.  

Thank God for Google!  I researched it and found that the motor had been tightened down too far when the new belt was applied.  Loosening it was just a matter of turning a screw slightly and raising the motor a fraction of an inch!  :)

Now the flywheel turns freely and I no longer have to turn it when I press the foot pedal to get the needle to move.  The needle now moves as soon as I push on the pedal!  YAY!

But what about that dang tension issue???

See how the stitches make the fabric pucker?  You can't have that.
  :(    I knew that it was something in the upper tension.  The spring that is supposed to move up and down with the pull of the thread was SO difficult to move, it just wouldn't "give" like it was supposed to.

Back to Google I went...and I found this page that shows how to disassemble and reassemble the tension unit.
  I figured if I couldn't fix it, I'd take it to a (different) repairman and if I was able to fix it, then I would have saved a lot of money!  :)

Well...I am happy to report that simply the act of removing all the pieces and replacing them back worked wonders and now the tension is PERFECT!!!  

With the loosening of the motor and fixing the tension, Sadie Mae now runs just as well (and as fast) as Mary Gwendolyn!  :)  And the fixes were all FREE!!!  

With the upcoming quilting retreat, I wanted to find a small travel iron to take with me so I can press right at my sewing machine rather than having to go to a pressing station for EVERY seam.  (Yes, I press a lot when I'm quilting.  Finger pressing doesn't do a good enough job for the OCD person in me!  LOL)  

I had some errands to do today, so I thought I'd check at Goodwill before going to Walmart to buy one.  Today was my lucky day!   Look what I found at Goodwill for $5.00!!!

A Black and Decker "Stowaway" travel iron!! 
These retail for $22-29.00!!  The handle holds the water for the steam and when you want to pack it, you simply push a lever to lay the handle over.  

It even came with a nylon bag to store/pack it in!!!  I'm a very happy girl!  :)

I'll leave you now with a picture of Ginger in her bed by my desk.  She has to be right by me, though usually she wants to be touching me...which makes it difficult for me to sew when she's leaning up against my leg.  LOL

She flips her bed upside down before she gets into it.  If you turn it upside down, she flips it right side up before getting in it.  What's with that???  LOL


Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Quilting Update...

Quote for the Day:
"Is a nine patch part of a twelve step program?"
~author unknown

On Sunday, my friend, Pat, came by and we worked some more on the BOM (block of the month) quilt that we started back at the first of the year.  Since the original pattern only uses 20 blocks, and for the size of quilt I want I'll need 36 blocks, I looked online for some quilt block patterns that finish at 12" that will go nicely with the original 20 blocks.  

Here's what I've got completed on this quilt between the original blocks and the ones I added in so far...

The colors are pastels and remind me of sherbet, so I've taken to calling this "the Sherbet Quilt".  LOL
   The picture definitely doesn't do the colors justice.  :(  They are so much prettier in person.  

I am going to a Bonnie Hunter quilt workshop next weekend and plan to take my "new" Featherweight that I picked up in Tennessee last month.  Today I pulled it out and used it to make a couple of these blocks.  I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable using it to piece so I don't have to take my big, heavy computerized sewing machine to the workshop with me.

This weekend I'm going to gather the items I need to take with me to the workshop.  I've already got the fabric cut out so basically I need to gather my rulers, thread, pins, scissors, etc., to take with me for a weekend of sewing.  :)

When my sister, niece, and great-niece were here last week, I had to fold up my hand-quilting frame and put it against the wall so there would be room in that bedroom for the guest bed.  Even though I wasn't able to hand quilt for a few days, with it in that position it makes it easy to see the back of the quilt!

Now that the bed has been taken down and the frame moved back into the center of the room, I've been able to work on the hand quilting on this quilt some more.  :)

In fact, I think I'll go work on it NOW!  :)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Saturday with the Ladies...

Quote for the Day:
" A glass pitcher, a wicker basket, a tunic of coarse cotton cloth. 
Their beauty is inseparable from their function. Handicrafts belong to a world existing before the separation of the useful and the beautiful."
~Octavio Paz 

When I get the chance, I like to spend some time on the third Saturday of every month with a group here in Grafton called LEFA (Loose Ends Fiber Addicts).  It is a gathering of people, all women at this point, who are interested in crafts and hobbies that use "fiber", ie, crocheting, knitting, spinning, weaving, quilting, etc.  

It is a loosely organized group in that there are no "officers"  and no "dues",though we do have a Facebook page!   You can visit it here:  LEFA

We meet in the banquet hall of one of the local churches and basically exchange ideas, information and fun stories!  :)  We all bring something to work on while visiting, and if you have a completed project to share, you bring that, too!    I usually bring something to hand quilt on, but others may be crocheting or knitting, and there are a couple of ladies that bring their portable spinning wheels!

In the last picture, Susan is seen using a hand-operated carding machine.  I don't know all of the correct nomenclature, but basically she feeds washed wool into the machine while turning the crank and it cards the wool into batts that she can then spin into yarn.   Today she was carding alpaca wool from alpacas that one of the other ladies raises!   

On a different note, I wanted to share a recipe for crockpot pumpkin oatmeal that Susana and I came up with when they were visiting.  

Crockpot Pumpkin Oatmeal
2 cups milk
2 cups water
2 cups steel cut oatmeal
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter 
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon EACH of nutmeg, cloves & allpsice

Grease crockpot THOROUGHLY!  Place all ingredients into crockpot and stir till mixed.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

That's it!

We had leftovers so I put it in the fridge and have been heating up individual servings since Wednesday morning, when we originally served it.

 I had to add a bit of sugar to it just before eating, but my sister added maple syrup as her sweetener!  :)  Get creative with it!  It is DELICIOUS!!!


Friday, October 19, 2012

A Family Visit...

Quote for the Day:
"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts."
  ~Author Unknown

If you know my family, you know that quote was never more appropriate!  

I come from a LONG line of craziness.  When we get together we spend long hours laughing.  You know that kind of laughter...when you end up holding your sides because they are cramping from laughing and you think you'd better go to the bathroom before you pee yourself...but you don't want to leave the hilarity long enough to make that trip to the bathroom? 

Last Saturday my sister, Sharon, her daughter, Susana, and her granddaughter, Monica, came to visit.  

No reason....just to visit.  Rarely are we able to get together like this.  With everyone working and running busy lives, we usually only get together at weddings, funerals, birthdays, graduations, etc.  As much as I love seeing each of the family at those events, we are usually staying in different places and some of our "together" time is cut into by the events.  However, since we had nowhere in particular to be and nothing in particular to do this visit, the time was spent relaxing together and just VISITING!   

Our family can laugh and joke through even the "mundane" things in life, like cooking supper.  At one point, Susana and I were in the kitchen making supper and Sharon came in and asked if we'd been hitting the cooking sherry because we were laughing and carrying on like crazy people!  LOL

Andy & I taught them how to play "Apples to Apples" which always causes a lot of laughing if played right!  LOL

When Andy had to return to work on Monday & Tuesday, I took them shopping at some of our favorite haunts...Goodwill and Ollie' they are bargain shoppers, too.  :)  We also spent time sitting around reading and just enjoying each others company.  

Ginger took to Monica like Monica was her own personal play toy.  The two of them were inseparable and Ginger even slept with Monica while they were here.  :)

Monica is 13 and is in the process of becoming a stunning young woman!

I have no other pictures from their visit, but mainly because we didn't do anything "earth shattering"...just spent a lot of time together enjoying ourselves.  :)

Those are the best kinds of visits and I hope we can do it all again sometime!  :)


Friday, October 12, 2012

A Quilted Wallhanging...

Quote for the Day:
"Spouse: someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble 
you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single."
~author unknown

This weekend my niece, Kristin, and her husband, Jeff, will celebrate their first wedding anniversary.  :)   

After their wedding, Kristin sent me all the fabric that she had used to decorate the reception hall since she doesn't quilt and didn't have any use for it. 

I love the fabric and was very grateful for receiving it.  They will look beautiful in quilts!  

Remember the "project" that I mentioned in my last post that I said I'd tell you about after it had been received by the "giftee"??'s the story now...

To show my appreciation for the fabric...and as a late wedding gift...I made a wallhanging for the couple out of some of the fabric.   (One of my sisters told me one time that it was "acceptable etiquette" to give a wedding gift up to one year after the wedding [hope this is true!])

I did the embroidery on my Husqvarna Viking Scandinavia 400 sewing/embroidery machine and then machine quilted it on my Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine.   The border is just squares cut from the various fabrics she had sent me.  I didn't use a "pattern", I just improvised it!  :)   

Even the hanger was cut from a piece of the fabric using pinking shears!

I didn't take a picture of the back, but it was a very pretty beige floral fabric that was part of the bundle she sent me.

I got confirmation from Kristin this morning that they had received it and love it!  That is music to any quilters' ear!  That's why we do what we try and share some beauty with those around us!  :)


Thursday, October 11, 2012


Quote for the Day:
"There was no need to do any housework at all.  After the first four years 
the dirt doesn't get any worse."
  ~Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant, 1968

I have family coming for a visit in a couple of days and I have begun frantically cleaning my house in preparation.

We've all heard the saying, "If you love something, let it go."   Well, that's what I've done with my house!  I love my house and I've let it go.  

Every time I let the house get this messy, I say to myself, "Never again.  I'm going to keep it clean this time." 

But I never do. 

I think it's a combination of
  • being tired after working my job
  • having more "fun" things to do, like quilting... basically "anything" is more fun that cleaning
  • not being disciplined enough (I used up ALL of my self-discipline getting myself through nursing school!!!) 
  • procrastination
  • and just hating cleaning, in general. 
Is is just me?  Please tell me "no"...that I'm not the only one with a messy, dirty house.  Please???

Just to be reasonable, though, part of the mess is from the kitchen renovation.  But not all of it.  I wish I could say that is the only contributing factor, but it's not.   

If I could have just ONE wish granted, it would be for a house cleaning service/person to come clean my house for me every couple of weeks.  I had one when the kids were young and I was working full-time.  I LOVED it!  But now I just can't justify the expense.  Or maybe I'm too "cheap" to justify the expense these days. 

But if I ever win the lottery and become rich, you betcha that's the first thing I'll be spending my money on!  :)

Oh...wait.. you have to PLAY the lottery before you can WIN the lottery?  Guess that option's out then.  LOL

On the quilting front, I have completed a small project but I can't tell you about it, yet, because it is a gift and I have to wait until the giftee has received it.  :)  So be watching for pictures of that project coming up soon!  :)

Now...back to the housecleaning...UGH...



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Godspeed, Daniel...

Quote for the Day:
"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble 
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah"
~Psalm 32:7,  Holy Bible NIV

My nephew, Daniel, is deploying to Afghanistan today.  My niece, Kristin, (his cousin) has a blog and wrote this beautiful post today:

"And All the Other Stuff" 

I ask that you go read her post.

And then say a prayer for Daniel and his immediate and extended family. 

That is all.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays....

Quote  for the Day:
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might"
~Ecclesiastes 9:10, King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

Happy Monday and Happy October to all of my readers!  I hope this week and month finds you well!  We are definitely into fall denying it anymore!

Andy & I spent Saturday working on the kitchen...trying to finish the stonework.  I was hoping to finish it this past weekend, but alas, that was not to be.  However, we did put a good dent in what needed done.

Saturday morning the chimney looked like this...

 ...and by evening, it looked like this...

I worked on the chimney while Andy worked on cutting/sanding/shaping the stones that needed shaped to fit around the curved molding of the window and door.  It was very time-consuming work, but so far it is looking FANTASTIC!!! 

It seems that applying this stone should go much faster than it is, but it's kind of like putting a puzzle together.  You have to fit stones together, making sure that your seams/joints are staggered and don't line up.  Plus you want to stagger the dark and light stones and also the narrow and wide stones so it all looks "random".  Do you realize how hard it is to make something look "random"???  LOL  Then there is the "cutting" that needs to be done to get the final stone in the row to fit snugly...and since we are doing the cutting on the porch, there is all the running in and out of the house to do that. 

So...that's why we aren't farther along with the project.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  :)

We had some other things we needed to do on Sunday, so we weren't able to work on it then, but plan to get back to it this coming weekend.  We are having company the following weekend, so I'm really hoping we can it finished up this coming weekend.  Wish us luck!  :)

Today, after I got my "pearly whites" cleaned and polished at the dentist, I met up with a dear friend, Theresa Noble, at Panera Bread where she proceeded to coax cajole coach me with some crocheting.  Yes, Folks...I do know how to do more than just quilt!  Although I don't crochet very often, it is something I learned to do at the age of 13 and now do it just often enough to not totally forget the art!

However, I've never made a hat before and wanted to make these ADORABLE owl hats for the grandkiddos, so she and I met up and she got me started on my way with them. 

This is similar to what the ones I am making will look like...


...and here is what I've got done so far...

Thanks, Theresa, for helping me out!  :)   And I hope your daughter gets home safely!  (While we were at Panera she got a text saying her daughter's plane was being delayed due to weather.)  :(

So now I have ANOTHER project in the works!  LOL  That's okay.  It's small enough that it makes a good "take-along" project when I have appointments, etc.  :)  

One can never have enough fabric or projects!  LOL

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  :)