Thursday, August 31, 2017

Erie Shores - Day Three

I should be very careful what I write.  I've had two great nights of sleep and then last night - well once I got to sleep I slept well.  I think it was too much pasta at dinner.  Lighter dinners - please!

Or maybe it was too much visual stimulation in my hotel room.  Wait - I mean the decor!  Wait for it.

The day started off gorgeous.  Not too hot, not too cold.  I wasn't looking forward to riding out of Sarnia as I wondered if it was going to be complicated.  Nope - it wasn't too bad and I did notice at one point the railroad tracks in down town had a very steep angle that you didn't want to ride over them for fear of the wheels getting caught. Just like Jane (who is from here) had warned me. There's even a sign.

I had no idea, but there is a lot of oil and gas production in this area?  I don't  know much about it but we rode beside some pretty complex looking industrial area. And then within 10 K, we were in the country. Not only the country but we rode beside the St. Clair River for a long distance and it was gorgeous.

The river was fascinating to watch - the big industries right beside the houses. That was on the US side of the river.  The "back yards" of these houses which were on the water.  For most of the way we traveled beside the river, there were houses on one side of the road and the river on the other.  Some of the houses had docks on the river side. Some were just a dock, but others were very elaborate affairs. Some were far apart and some were so close.

But I bet there is NO swimming in this river. At one point I did see a sign that said KEEP OUT. Toxins, pollutants in the water.  That was on a smaller creek near what looked like a small tract of First Nations land.  I'm only guessing at that.

Passed the ferry to the US in Sombra.

And there was pretty much a bike path the entire length of the river.  Where there wasn't a bike path, there was a dedicated shoulder. It couldn't have been a nicer ride. Even though I had gotten an 8 AM start and the distance was just under 100K for the day, you couldn't help but sail along this road. Trust me I stopped for a LOT of pictures.

Again the route is super flat and I was sailing along close to 30K at some points.

Then we left the river and started towards Chatham which was our stop for the night. I had lunch in Wallaceburg.  Again not wanting to eat at a chain, I turned the corner onto the main street and the waitress was just putting out their sign - Open for lunch.  It was 11 AM.  A bit early, but there was nothing else after Wallaceburg and I was a tad hungry.  As I was waiting for my food, the owner came over and we chatted.  He has had cyclists in all summer comes from various places.  A nice guy.  Food was great - James Street Eatery if ever you are in Wallaceburg!

Then I hit the first of two detours for the day.  A bridge that we were supposed to take was closed.  Couldn't even talk my way across.  Drat!  A man happened to be walking by and I asked him where the next bridge was.  He pointed me to a foot bridge that was a block away.  That was easy and once I got to the other side, I found my way to the intended route and I was good.

While we were on the lesser traveled roads, they were in good condition. No shoulders, but it was easy to make good time and again I was sailing along between 25 and 30 K.  I was back in Chatham and almost at the hotel.  If I hurry, I can make it in just under 6 hours (including my lunch stop and all my picture stops).  Drat - the last bridge is completely closed!!!   A quick peek at the area and I backtracked so I could cross a different bridge and made it to the hotel with one minute to spare!

It was only 2 PM so I had the entire afternoon to check out Chatham.  I love that - would rather that than have a late start.

My room wasn't ready so I headed off to the quilt store on my bike.  Oh, my - what a cute little shop.  Put it together Quilt Shop.  It's in a big building with another vendor.   I spoke to the owners for quite a while and they were showing me all the cool things they do at their shop.  I was very impressed and I found a few things to buy. But not too much since I was on my bike!  And they did NOT have the Barn Trail book - they were sold out!!!  If every you are in the Chatham area - check it out.

Back to the hotel (Retro Suites) which was so much easier to get to on the bike now that I know a wee bit where I'm going.

Thanks to my connection through Susan, all of our rooms got switched at the hotel.  I was in the Easy Rider room.  OH MY GOD - this room is so cool.  Harley Davidson theme which is neat since my brother drives one.  The ceiling fan is HD (even makes revving noises if I turn that function on), rotating signs, a neon sign which works, an old motorcycle hanging from the ceiling.  It's a very cool room and perhaps that is why I couldn't sleep although I did turn everything off before going to bed. There are switches everywhere to operate all the cool stuff!

After my shower, I popped down to the Dutch market to check out what was there. Bought a teeny pair of wooden shoes.  There were so many different kinds of licorice.  Wow - I was going to buy some but didn't in case it was really icky!!  I love licorice, but this was all black and sometimes black can be almost bitter.

I also went to the thrift store and back to the book store where I did find a book.  I'm reading a book on True Murder Stories by Frank Jones.  One of the murders mentions an author - Anne Perry who murdered her mother or her friend's mother. She became a famous author under a pseudonym. Well - I had to read one of her books.  I found the first one in one of her series at this book store.  Perfect!  First time I've bought a novel in ages.

We all went our separate ways for dinner last night and I went to the Italian place.  Food was excellent, service was a bit hit and miss.

On my way back to the hotel, I could hear something and realized there was another foot bridge very close to the bridge that was closed. I scooted across the bridge and there was a concert in the park.  It was the Chatham Concert Band playing so I sat down and listened for a bit.  It was a fun way to end the evening. As I sat there I noticed another barn block on the Cultural building. I wandered over there for a photo and then back to the hotel as the gnats were starting to become a pain and I remember my experience in Savannah.

The little buggers followed me into the hotel and I swatted the last of them dead in my room!

Oh yes - I ran around the hotel in the afternoon and took pictures. I took lots of pictures. This place is absolutely amazing!!!

I forgot to mention that we had no rain yesterday, but apparently there was flooding in Windsor (our starting point).  They had huge rainfall on Monday and Tuesday - we were lucky to miss that. The sun came out, I actually took my jacket off and put sun screen on!

On that note, I'm going to get ready for the day.  This is our shortest day but you never know what the roads will bring!

Have a great day!!!!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Erie shores - Day Two

This hotel and biking thing is so weird!  On previous trips, I've kept my possessions limited - as I have on this trip, but before going to bed on the camping trips you made sure that everything was organized, put away or super prepped for the morning. When I went to bed last night my stuff was strewn across the entire floor of my room! However, it was a mere 10 minutes to get it all put away this morning.

Of course, it didn't help that I was trying to dry out a few things - yes yesterday was a tad wet!

The day started out dry but the sky was threatening. I had plans to stop in Dresden to visit the quilt shop which we were going to ride right past.  About 20 K into the ride it started to rain. Not super hard but enough to get dampish.  DRAT!  I'm not fond of riding in the rain, but I'm OK with it. I hadn't brought my large rain jacket - ever the optimist! My little shell that I usually wear isn't water proof. By the time I arrived at the quilt store, I was wet and a bit cool.

Oh, I should say that I was seeing these signs along the road. They were blue, had foot prints on one side and stars on the other. I stopped to take a picture. I was thinking a moon night walk?  Well - DUH!!!   Guess where we are?  In the heart of the end of the Underground Railroad, but it wasn't until I saw a sign with the Underground Railroad and the blue sign that it clued in.  I was on the right train of thought, but the train hadn't come into the station!

Uncle Tom's Cabin is in Dresden and I took a quick detour to go have a look.  I stopped to take a couple of pictures but didn't go in.  It was raining and why prolong the agony! Besides I had a quilt shop to visit.

It was a small shop but I managed to find a couple of interesting things.  I got the pattern for the row by row as well. But the most interesting thing I found was a book about the barn trail blocks that I've been seeing.  DRAT  - it's raining and I've nowhere to bring that book with me.  The trail is called the Thames River Barn Quilt Trail.  The shop is called Shelley's Painted Treasures N Quilt Shop. I might find that same book at the quilt store in Chatham. If not, I'll get this shop to send me one in the mail.

When I left the shop, I peeled off my thin jacket and put on my little jacket with just sleeves.  I know - that sounds weird, but I needed the extra warmth. It wasn't easy to put that on when my arms were wet. But the extra layer was just what I needed. It stopped raining and I ran into Megan where I had my morning snack!   As we were chatting, the rain started again and I didn't linger.

I think it rained on and off for the next 35 K until I arrived at Petrolia at the 70 K mark which was my lunch stop. The first thing I saw on the main street was a Tim's and that was it!  I had hot soup and hot chocolate to warm me up.  I was a tad wet and dripping water everywhere!  Yes - it would have been nice if my big rain jacket had of been on the truck so I could have put it on, but it would have been a pain afterward when the rain stopped. I'm glad I didn't have it with me.

As I was having lunch, I noticed that the rain slowed down significantly and by the time I got going, it had basically stopped. And it didn't rain for the last 50K.  I took some of my layers off so I could dry out and by the time I arrived at our destination, I was almost completely dry.

I know it wasn't a super hard rain day because my shoes were only dampish.  One shoe was wet inside but that was because of the spray off the road. No need to put newspaper in them so it wasn't a really bad day!

Then I arrived on the shores of Lake Huron which is beautiful and some nice paths to cycle along. And wouldn't you know it - I posted that I had 15 K left and that last 15 K was a wee bit of a challenge with the directions.  I was looking for a bike path and I didn't go far enough. So I backtracked through Mike Weir park and onto the main road - Lakeshore. Yikes - a lot of traffic which is probably why the path was created. One vehicle tooted his horn at me and that's when I realized I was going parallel to the bike path!  The first chance I got, I got on the path. I did have to check Google maps though to see what was happening.  That darn glare on those phones - there has to be a way to cut the glare. There I am trying to put my phone in my bike basket so I can see the screen.

There were a lot of twists and turns - most of them made sense, but when I got down to the waterfront by the bridge I needed to check Google Maps again.  I was in the right vicinity - just taken a minor wrong turn.  Back on the right track again and there was the hotel.  Right on the water front - well close by.

When I arrived in the parking lot, there were the others. Hmm - they beat me?  No, it appears that they had arranged for a pickup and they had arrived shortly before I did.  It's funny because on my previous trips with support levels less than this one - there was no question of calling for a pickup.  That option didn't exist and so it will never exist for me unless something very serious happens.

I have to say that the last 50K of the ride were the best. There was a tail wind, the road was flat and I was cruising along between 25 and 30 K without any effort at all.  It was the kind of day when you're glad you're outside cycling.  And of course, there was zero heat to contend with!

Cycling that kind of distance is definitely a mental game, especially when the weather is not cooperating. But this is where you learn to dig deep and find ways to keep yourself entertained or you just zone out somewhere else!  I'm careful with the zoning out because you need to be on your toes with the traffic.  Which I might add are so polite here!  But I see that today new laws are coming into play where drivers have to give you at least one1 meter space when they pass. Yeah!  And they are even waiting before they pass us.  If another car happens to be coming, they will consistently wait behind me until the oncoming car has passed. It's uncanny, but I love it and it's the right thing to do.

We had dinner at a local restaurant and there was a huge cargo ship at the dock.  After dinner, I walked over and a crew member happened to be walking down the gangplank (is that what it's called?). Anyway, I stopped and chatted with him. The ship is empty and they are waiting until September 5 to load up and then sailing likely for Europe!  I was going to ask if I could scamper up the gang plank to take a picture and say that ONCE in my life I was on a huge cargo ship, but I didn't have the courage and I figured the answer would have been know.  The gang plank was STEEP and well you know how it is with liability. although they were NOT Canadian nor American so he probably would have said yes. DARN!!!!

So that is it for another day.  Let's say that I have zero trouble sleeping these days. I'm trying to keep my regular routine and so although I wake up at five, I just lounge around in bed for an hour before I do anything!  Such luxury!

Oh yes - I have to tell you about the two ladies at Tim's.  Obviously seniors - one of them was living in a retirement home and said she LOVED it because if she wanted company, she knew where to find it and if she didn't, she stayed in her apartment/room.  I want this lady to be my mom!  But she was showing her friend all the pictures on her phone.  Holy cow - she knew what she was doing. They were in albums and she was whipping through them like she was 16.  At one point, her friend even said - wow - you're good with that!   The friend reminded me of myself. She kept saying "oh man!"   It was entertaining as I dripped water all over the floor!

I did post the stats on Facebook  - yesterday was a total of 118K and the total elevation gain was less than 100 M.  I told you - this area is flat!

On that note, I see it's time for breakfast. Even though today is a shorter day, I still like to get out at a decent time. I'd rather have my down time at the end of the day than at the beginning!

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Prism Squared - CLASS

I saw the pattern for this quilt a couple of months ago and it's right up my alley.  Bright colors, kaleidoscope.  

I'm happy to report that this is a class that I'll be teaching in September. I know - NOT a lot of time to decide.  
PRISM squared pattern

There are two dates for the class - the first being September 17 (a Sunday) .  I'll be teaching this at The Hobby Horse so I would call them  (905) 877-9292  to get all the details and get signed up!
I'm using Northcott's Toscana instead of the fabric listed on the pattern.  A gorgeous range of colors!  I'm prepped and ready to start sewing at this point. 

Toscana colors for the PRISM squared quilt
There are also two rulers required for the class.  Likely some of you already have the rulers!  Here's a chance to get them out and actually make something from them.  They are the wedge rulers by Cheryl Phillips. 

Wedge rulers

There are other classes coming up, but this one is the most urgent since the date is not far off.  I'll post the rest of the classes shortly as well.

Have a great day!!!


Erie Shores - Day One

Good morning!!!!   What an awesome day it was yesterday.  The ride was absolutely FLAT. 

I will try to share my stats at some point, but do you think I can remember how to share them?  Nope! We have a small group and I decided (as usual) that I would ride on my own. I have my own pace, I like to stop often for pictures if I see something worthy of a picture and well - I just like riding by myself.  

I think I left the hotel around 8:25 - a bit later than I wanted, but not bad and the distance was 93 K for the day so 8:25 wasn't a bad time to leave. At the beginning as we left Windsor, there were gorgeous bike paths to follow and then we were on some cottage/beach roads with little traffic and it was great.  We did get onto some larger roads but the traffic was pretty courteous and giving a very wide berth for which I'm thankful. 

I was going to visit the quilt store in Tecumseh, but when I got close, I realised that I had already passed it and not knowing what time it opened or even whether it was open on Monday, I decided to move on.  Do you know that trying to check a map with your cell phone outside is very difficult?  The glare on those screens is insane. There must be a fix for that. Now I had tried to research the information the night before but didn't get to the open hours (I know - a very important detail). 

There weren't a lot of places to stop for a snack, but I was OK.  I met up with Megan (our support driver) and got some yummy turnovers and fruit and I was set until lunch.  

I stopped in Tilbury for lunch.  I always remember Neil (my riding buddy from our cross Canada trip - see I do ride with people!). He could discover the neatest little places when we stopped and I think we stopped ONCE at Tim's during the entire 10 weeks of that trip.  So in honor of Neil, yesterday I stopped at a local cafe - Flapjack's Family Restaurant.  I didn't have flapjacks - only a tuna sandwich and then I was off. 

I did take a lot of pictures and will try to get them edited to put on the blog. I noticed a sign on a barn and as I got closer I noticed that it was a barn quilt block. So yes I had to stop for a picture. I think I saw 7 of them in total. 

When I was having lunch, I chatted with a couple of locals. "Where did you come from, where are you going?"  those are the two most asked questions - and the distance. They said - you better hurry as the rain is forecasted to start at 3 PM.  It was 1 PM when I left the restaurant and I still had 30 K to go. That's doable. 

There are lots and lots of canals in this area. With the flat terrain, you would swear you were in the Netherlands. There are even windmills here just like in the Netherlands, except these are the giant turbines, not the traditional windmill. At one point I saw a beautiful white heron in one of the canals and I stopped to take a picture. As I was stopping, he flew off. No picture. About a half a kilometer further on, I had to stop to take a picture of the canal because it was so pretty and as I was digging my camera out of my bag, the darn heron flew down the canal and then swooped over the trees before I had a chance to get his picture!

I was surprised at the amount of construction in the Windsor area and along the water's edge.  Some monster homes are being built.  Crazy - I wonder if those are people from Toronto who have sold and moving here cause real estate is cheaper???

And there was one house, not in Windsor, that was very bizarre.  A large house on a large property. Wrought iron fence along the front, big swinging gate.  The house was set back from the road - gray, white and black. And then you notice the BRILLIANT RED door. I mean - this door was like a beacon. I stopped to take a picture and then realized that there are two garage doors on either side of the front door and 5 dormer windows up above. No windows on the front of the house or the sides. Very weird. I did get a picture of that as well. 

I'm getting close to Chatham - our stop for the night. The sky is threatening and I've felt a few drops of rain, but nothing much. It starts to rain (about 2:37 - 23 minutes ahead of schedule). Not hard, but enough to get damp.  I'm mere minutes from the hotel. I find the hotel which is located right in the downtown of Chatham. The name of the hotel is Retro Suites and I'm not sure what I was expecting but I was NOT expecting what the hotel is.  You need to check out their web site.  Each room has a theme, there are tons of retro things and all is beautifully done up.  It's the kind of place you could visit numerous times and still not see everything. It's like being in a retro museum.  Very cool. I'm in the Chardonnay room. 

What was even funnier was when I posted the information on Facebook, I got a message from Susan saying that her daughter works here.  No way!  So I tracked her down. She was the person who checked me in, but I didn't know that at the time. By the time I found where she works, she had left for the day.   Oh darn!!!!   Small world!

So I arrived at the hotel, checked in (room was ready!!!), had a shower and I was off to check out the quilt store. I decided to walk as it didn't seem to be too far. Well, I should have done my homework before I walked 1.8 KM to get there only to find that the place was closed on Monday!!!  And then I had to walk 1.8 KM back to the hotel. 

I was a tad tired so I tried to have a nap, but people kept texting me and I accidentally called Ronda so we chatted. 

We had dinner in the Chilled Cork restaurant in the hotel and then it was off to bed!

A very exciting day and so glad to be back on the bike.  I don't have the stats, but I left at 8:30 and arrived around 2:45  (yes - that darn rain started about 20 minutes before it was forecast to start!). And other than looking at the scenery and watching traffic, there is nothing to do on your bike, but think.  I thought about a lot and about little.  Nice to just get out and not have to deal with daily stuff. I truly feel like I've run away from home and I like it!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. Got to get ready for breakfast. The day is a bit longer today, but not by much. 

Have a good day!!!!


Monday, August 28, 2017

Motivational Monday - it's a miracle!

I've decided that a little R n R was in order and so as I write this post this morning, I'm in a hotel room in Windsor, Ontario. My bike is in the car!  Going to tidy things up and have breakfast and then I'm off for a week of cycling in this area.  First, it's going to be totally weird as we're staying in hotels. No camping!  Says she who was only introduced to camping when I started to cycle back in 2010. The distances are relatively short - only one day is over 100K and there are pretty much ZERO hills here unless you count the highway overpasses as hills!!!  But that's OK.  It will be nice to just take my time, take pictures and there are a couple of quilt shops in the neighborhood so I must plan a visit if they are not too far off the route.  

But here is the super exciting news for today!!!!  Oh wait - you'll see it at the end of the post. Don't scroll there now - you can wait!

I got the third of the construction quilts done! It's even trimmed and ready for the binding which hasn't been made yet. 

Third construction quilt - DONE
And look at my sad laundry basket. It hasn't anything to hold but the yardage required to make the remaining two bindings.

Binding fabric in the laundry basket
Now the big question is what to do with the laundry basket?  Should I save it and start to store projects for the next retreat?  Do I really want to commit to taking only a laundry basket of stuff with me? Or should I just put the next UFO in there that I'm currently working on so it's not in three different places (well technically it's in two - one for the excess stuff and one for the current sewing). Hmm - a lot of possibilities!!!!

I was also cutting for a couple other projects that have to be done and with all the quilt trimming, my little scrap basket that I keep on the cutting table was overflowing AGAIN!  I decided to forget about the pet mats and I just tossed the scraps in the garbage.

Scraps went in the garbage
I mean - we have to get realistic here. I have only one place where those mats go and I'm not sure how many more they need/want. So I'm prepared to toss the scraps.  I was thinking that I could easily take my binding scraps (which I have a full bag promised to Mary, but how do we connect Mary?)   Anyway, I thought I could quickly join the scraps (I've become an expert at it) and put two layers of batting inside the pet mat covers and perhaps these could be donated to the animal shelters. I must make one and check with them.  These at least would be washable which the others are not and that's the main reason, the animal shelters don't want the ones with the scraps inside. This would be better as I don't as much batting as I have these scraps.  An experiment to try.

And in case you're wondering about that picture above - YES - there are a lot of bottles of water sitting by the garbage can!  I use distilled water in my iron and I usually buy four at a time. Since I rarely get out to shop these days, when I was out and saw it at a good price, I nabbed 6 bottles.  Two of those on the floor are almost empty so yes - there are 8 in total at the moment!  Does my iron need distilled water?  It's recommended and given the fact that I've had the iron for many many years and no issues with it and distilled water is cheap (not free -but cheap), I'm sticking to the manufacturers' requirements.

Lots of distilled water

I did make one more pet mat before I decided to toss the second basket of scraps.

One more pet mat!
But here is the news that we've all been waiting for!  The FOURTH construction quilt is also quilted!!!  I know - I just loaded it on the long arm and away I went.  I'm thrilled, but I did learn something - if EVER I use fleece again for the backings - DON'T!!!  Or make the tops a wee bit narrower.  It wasn't pretty around the edges of the quilt.  But for what these are going to be used for - it's fine.

Fourth construction quilt - DONE!

Now that's exciting news. At least I think it is.  Three of the four are trimmed and ready for the binding. Two of the bindings are made.  All four bindings will be completely sewn by machine so if I put my mind to it - it won't take long to finish.

On that note, I'm off to get my stuff assembled and packed up and then ready to hit the road!

I've never been to Windsor before and like any town with a casino - it's very weird. There is this HUGE casino/hotel right along the waterfront and very close to the casino are areas where - let's just say that there are the haves and the have nots!  It's a very distinct line.  Detroit is right across the river - fancy that and more big boats!

Have a super day!!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It's my birthday!!!

I've spent a good deal of time this morning editing and posting pictures for the blog.  Now I have over one week's worth sitting there waiting for some amazing stories for you to enjoy!

Today's post got a few of the leftover things! 

First off - yes - it's my birthday. Yeah me!  Already had yummy cake with the other birthday people at work.  Happy Birthday to Aunt Yvonne who shares the same birthday as me or should I say that I share the same birthday as her!  Not planning to do anything special today, but on this date, I always reflect back on the few birthdays that I remember. My 13th - don't ask me why I remember that one. The birthday I spent at a company event in Arizona years ago and the couple of birthdays I celebrated on cycle trips and had cake with the group. The rest of them?  Nope - I don't remember them!  I'm not a big birthday celebrator and that's OK. 

The girls have been to the dog park - talk about excited. You would think they have won the lottery and were going to have unlimited kibble for the rest of their lives. Don't even think about missing a dog park date!

While I was away on vacation, I took a few small embroidery projects with me and I finished TWO of them. This one has some vines around the base of the bird house and then since I was on a roll, I did a buttonhole stitch around all the appliques. All that it needs now is a bit of quilting to hold it together and it's done!

Embroidery project - DONE!

 It appears that I did NOT take a picture of the second project so will make that happen later today. I had one more project with me and I had used blue wash out marker to mark the embroidery lines.  NEVER use blue wash out marker unless you plan to do the project within a couple of months.  The lines will disappear over time because of humidity in the air. While I was at my parents, I washed all the blue away and remarked the lines with a Frixion pen (the ONLY time I will use one of those), but at least the lines will stay on.  I'm going to try and keep that block with me so when I have some down town, I can do some embroidery.  

It's funny because we used to have a LOT of down time in the past. A LOT of down time and I like to read so I would always take those moments to read a book or a magazine. Smart phones have killed a lot of that dead time!!!   But I still get my reading in!   I found a book on my shelf about TRUE MURDER stories in Canada. While the subject matter is gory, it's interesting to read. Go figure!

I couldn't help myself with this next item.  Just shoot me as it appears I have a disease. When I was in Saskatchewan, I found this tractor fabric and I bought some. ACK!  I don't need any more tractor fabric, but this jumped into my bag before I could say NO!

More tractor fabric
I'm not sure how much I have sitting there, but it's time to do something with it and say goodbye forever to tractor fabric!!!

I also found this little gem when I was out with Ronda and Laura when we went Row by Rowing in the US weeks ago.  It's a cute little homemade ironing board.  With Debra Gabel's fabric on it.  It's super cute and I was using it for my paper piecing the other day. Of course, I used a protective cloth (as I always do when paper piecing!)

Little ironing board

Well, it's going to be an exciting week (I hope) and lots to share with you including upcoming classes that I'm teaching so be sure to stay tuned for that and I hope to have a HUGE surprise for tomorrow.

On that note, I'm out of here!  And if it's your birthday today as well - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Have a super day!!!


And if you've been missing the adventures of Lexi and Murphy, I do believe Miss Lexi posted something this morning.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

National Dog Day!

Guess what today is?  It's National Dog Day!

In honor of that, I thought I would post a picture of my two looney tune girls.

Lexi and Murphy

These two girls are so much fun despite the fact that they could drive you crazy with all their naughty behaviors!  Taking them to the dog park is like going for a therapy session.  They just love it and I wish I could take them more often. I know Lexi has been bugging me to let her blog - it's been a while. I'll see if we can work it out soon.

I came home yesterday and my brain was so muddled that I literally did NOTHING.  NOTHING - that doesn't happen often. I have the entire weekend stretched ahead of me with NOTHING to do (which is good since my brain isn't working properly).  As I've said before, while I have nothing to do - that really means, nothing urgent  on the list. I will never have nothing to do.

I'm going to load one more of the construction quilts today and try to get it quilted. The backing for the last quilt had to be pieced and that is already done.  The other two are trimmed.  Yes - I actually saw an empty laundry basket at one point this morning where all that stuff is stashed.  There truly is hope that this project is going to get finished and I can move onto the next UFO.

On that note, I'm off to get something done today.

Have a super day!


Friday, August 25, 2017

No stopping me NOW!

Here's one way to cure that insomnia.  Don't go to bed!  It was a bit of a late night - well later than usual for me, but I accomplished a whole pile and I'm feeling pretty good about it. When I did get to sleep, there was NO danger of waking up!

I started off by finishing the customer quilt.  It turned out super. A LARGE quilt with pieced minky backing.  Not my favorite, but it's done!  Customer is picking it up today. 

Customer quilt  - DONE

Then I turned into paper piecing mode. I had three blocks to finish paper piecing. There are 12 sections per block and three different fabrics per block.  I got myself organized and then I just went crazy.  I got everything completed and even got some of the block sections put together.

Normally I'm pretty neat when I sew, but not this time.

A mess!
It could have been worse as I did try to contain the mess. There were two complete circles to piece once the sections were together.  I'm happy to report that all FOUR blocks are now DONE!!!! They just need to be trimmed down to the appropriate size.

Now to cut some sashing and add some borders and this one is done!

The quilt is actually quite nice.

I found this picture so you can see what it looks like. You're just not going to see my version of it.

Eye on the Sky Quilt by Reeze Hanson
Like I said - thankfully I'm only doing FOUR blocks!

And now, let's get back to cutting and sewing!

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

I did it again!

I can't believe it!  Wide awake at 1:30 AM!!!!   What is going on?

This time after waiting 20 minutes and no sign of sleep, I tiptoed to the studio. Fortunately, I'm the kind of person who doesn't need the lights on to find my way around my house. Besides, we live in the city and there is always light from outside coming through the windows. Don't worry - I use a death grip on the hand rails on the stair case (well not a death grip) and I always test the top and bottom step - always!

I decided to do some cutting. The black/white fabrics from the pixel quilt were staring at me so I cut strips - a bunch of 1 1/2" strips. I'm not sure how many I need, but I should have enough.  I need to cut a LOT of red strips. When I laid out the third block, I pretty much used up all the red squares that I had. I did have some with black in them and I decided to nix those and keep it pure reds. Then I felt tired enough to go back to bed, but NO - sleep still eluded me.

Bottom line - I slept in again, but not as bad as the other day. It's just very frustrating and I need to get this resolved as I can't afford to be losing sleep!  I know there's a lot of stuff going on and perhaps I just need to write it all out and I'll be good.  I'll try that.

Last night, I had a customer quilt to quilt.  I knew it had a minky backing, which takes a bit of time to load properly, but when I measured the quilt - this is WIDER than normal minky.  ACK!  It's a T-shirt quilt to boot.  So I had to cut and piece the minky which I hate to do, but I did. Serged everything together and loaded it on the long arm. The backing alone is HEAVY as the quilt is 70 by 80. Then I loaded the top. Should I keep going?  Why not - it has to be done by Friday. So I loaded the pattern, tacked the three pieces together and away I went. I was a bit hesitant - not because I haven't done this before, but if the T-shirts aren't properly secured, it can be a nightmare. Everything was FINE!  The quilt is quilting beautifully!

The old me would have taken two days to piece that backing, but there is no time for procrastinating. Just get it done!  And I did. I'll finish it off tonight, trim it and have it ready for pickup tomorrow.  Yeah!

Piecing another quilt for work - paper piecing. My office looked like a sweat shop yesterday!  Paper piecing isn't exactly neat and tidy and there were bits of fabric all over the carpet. All is good, but I'm going to have another round of it today. My goal was to have the top finished by tomorrow, but I'm not sure that is going to happen. While it isn't big, there is curved piecing, removing the paper and a couple of borders.  Looks like I'll finish on the weekend.

The first thing I did when I got home last night was to finish the latest Jack Reacher book.  When I start to read those - well, nothing else gets done!  That's not true - the day I worked from home, I was extremely disciplined and did NOT touch the book until I was technically on my own time.

Anyway - there is a ton of stuff waiting to get done today and I had better get started.

Have a super day!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I'm here!

What happens when you have the best of intentions?  Everything is in place. A lot of work is lined up and then POOF!  I couldn't sleep. I was wide awake at 2 AM. Wide awake with zero inclination to go back to sleep. GRRRR!!!!   I tried reading for a bit. Ah - I feel sleepy. Nope - not enough to actually go to sleep. Oh well. 

I finally did go to sleep but then I didn't wake up until really really late. I slept in!  That never happens to me. Fortunately it was a day when I was working (sewing) from home, but still. I missed two and a half hours of my PERSONAL time. I got up and went right to "work".  I was ticked! 

That's what happened yesterday and why there was no blog!  It was a LONG but productive day!

I got an entire quilt top cut and pieced yesterday. I can't show it - it's for work. At some point, you'll see it. Amazing how much of what I sew, I can't show you!

However, after 5 PM, I relaxed a bit and took a break from sewing to quilting on the long arm. I really really wanted to get those construction quilts off.  And I did!!!!   I have to say that I pinned the edges as I went this time and that worked a whole lot better. So two rows of quilting, 15-minutes of sewing until I was done both!

The two quilts loaded on the take-up roller were BIG!

Two quilts rolled up!
And here is one of the construction quilts!

My quilt - DONE
And just so you don't' think I'm posting the same quilt twice, here is the second one.

Another one of my quilts - DONE!
I say done, but technically they are just quilted. I'll have to trim them and put the bindings on.  Oh my - I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel for this UFO project.  Only two more quilts to quilt!  I can't believe it - I may actually get these out of the house!  See how my UFO projects are not ONE quilt but two or three or four!  I'm an idiot!

While I was sewing, I needed a small ender and leader project and my pixel quilt happened to be right by the sewing machine so I got the second block DONE!

Two blocks for the pixel quilt - DONE
Yes - even with those silly twirled seams on the back.  A bit more work, but seriously  - it makes the front so much flatter.  Well worth the effort. And notice those busy black/white prints.  Despite good intentions and lots of variety, I noticed TWO identical fabrics side by side!   Always happens. I should start with the like fabrics together and then they won't be when I finish!

Twirled seams
And then let's not forget the emergency pattern that had to be written.  I thought it was due on Friday, but NO - it was due yesterday at 1 PM.  I found out at 10 AM.  That put a bit of panic in me, but I got it done and even had time to make ONE block.

The pattern will get posted on the Northcott website at some time and I'll share it with you.  Despite this looking really complex, it's super simple to make and very forgiving to match up all those intersections.

Sample block made for free download

I love to work in my bare feet, but over the years, I find that I'm less comfortable so I usually start the day with shoes or sandals.  It was interesting because while I was away on vacation, I wore running shoes almost the entire time. Then one day I wore these flip flops and noticed a pain in my foot. Oh - could those flip flops be the source of my minor foot pain?   It's very possible.

Anyway, at some point in the day, I realized that I had no shoes and for some reason, I seemed to have "lost" this one in the middle of the floor!!!!   How did that happen?  No idea.

A lost shoe!

Well - I had a great night's sleep and I'm ready to rock n roll today.

Thank goodness because when I look at my schedule - it's crazy!!!!

Have a super day!!!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Motivational Monday - progress report

I love WORDS.   And if you love words, check out this cute short video on words.  It's amazing. They only forgot one thing - the total eclipse of the sun which would be pretty cool depicted in words. 

Speaking of the eclipse, I heard on the radio this morning a small clip by Walter Cronkite.  He was reporting on the solar eclipse in 1979. He said in his report that the next eclipse is in 2017. That date would have seemed so far in the future at that time. A lot has happened since that date!

While I had tons of stuff to be working on, I figured that I'm not doing so well on my UFO projects and if I don't start making a dent, the end of the year is going to be here and I'll be lamenting that I didn't get anything done. 

SO with that in mind, here's what I did yesterday. 

I sew the final border on one of the construction quilts. 

Final border on one of the construction quilts
I should say that the strips for the border were cut and joined together, but not pressed and as a matter of fact, they were sadly messed up in a bundle so I had to press everything!

Then I decided to keep plowing on and got the borders on the second of the construction quilts.

Final border on the second construction quilt
I wasn't sure if I had finished one or two of these quilts, but it looks like only one top had been finished so I plowed on to get the border on the last construction quilt. And yes - there are three DIFFERENT quilts - it's not the same quilt three times.

Final border on the third construction quilt
By this time, my allergies were driving me crazy and I needed a break.  Does anyone else find that a snack and a nap seem to clear up the allergies?  Boy - I was thinking retirement would be great so I could snack and nap all the time!

Now some of my UFOs are OK if only the tops get done. At least a quilt top is something that someone could easily take and finish. That is my goal for ALL my projects.  Ah - what a dreamer! But there are some projects that I want to completely finish and these construction quilts are one of those projects.

The backing is fleece - remember that huge laundry basket full of fleece?  One of the pieces was long enough for two quilts so I loaded the entire piece. It was a tad bulky around one of the rollers, but it worked. Just wait until the second quilt gets finished. I had to join three pieces of batting - ugg.  I have to say that my pieces of batting are finally getting depleted!  I'll show you pictures some time.

And one of the quilts got quilted!

One construction quilt - DONE
It's still on the long arm as I will just load another top, add some batting and get the second one quilted. Then I can take it off the long arm. 

Let's just say that I don't like fleece for the backing. It's a pain. The fleece is about 3 inches wider than the quilt, but it sort of shrank up and well - I was glad to get it done, and I'm not excited that there is one more to go!  Perhaps having that much backing wasn't such a good idea?

I also got the binding done for one of the quilts.  I was going to do all four, but when I calculated that I needed to cut 27 strips of fabric, I decided to do one at a time!

Binding for one of the quilts

Amazing how you can put all things work related to the back burner while on vacation and as the weekend progressed, I got to thinking more and more about what had to be done. Yikes - it's going to be a busy week. 

I had a date with my Task Master last night. Checked off a few things that had gotten completed but not marked off. Added the items for this week. A few more that I should add based on the book of deadlines. And here's where the Book of Deadlines (note the capitals - it's now an official name!) comes in handy. I checked that book, saw what needed to be done and I could write the tasks in the Task Master. And there is a quilt that I want to make for next summer. I'll design it. It will go in the Book of Deadlines and then when I review the book weekly, this quilt won't get forgotten and won't get done at the last-minute!  

How is everyone else doing?  I know that it's hard to keep on schedule. Look at me - I'm way off track, but I hope to get back up to date soon and at least I have a list of those projects that I wanted to work on so they will not be forgotten. Let's just hope that some of them take less time than the ones that I've been working on.  Of course, a few minutes here and there will not finish these quilts - a full day will!  Plan and schedule accordingly!

On that note, I'm out of here. 


Sunday, August 20, 2017

A wee bit of improvement

I did it!  I spent the entire day (well minus time spent with two visiters - which was very welcome!) cleaning up that office. Let's just say that I'm far from done, but I did make a dent in the room and that's really what the purpose of the day was. Try to get enough done to keep me excited and want to continue on.

So - we're NOT allowed to make comments. Are we allowed to call me a hoarder?  No - I don't think I'm a hoarder. I'm lazy when it comes to dealing with paper. Very lazy and I'd rather pile it than file it.  My goal wasn't to deal with the bits as much as it was to file some of the paper and then I'll deal with groups of things later.  Hm - that doesn't sound right - I threw away a LOT of paper, but things that I may want to keep - I just filed those for the moment and once the room is all super tidy, then I can take a file at a time and sort through it. I was going for maximum effect yesterday.

Here are a couple of before shots. Yes - there is a table in the center of the room and then a desk under the window and another computer desk in the corner.

A before picture of the mess

Another before

Yep - this is where I work! (or not!)

I'm a piler, not a filer

Yes, you can call me out for critizing my Mom for keeping things. And you're probably wondering why I let it get so bad. Do I even see the mess?  Oh yes - I see it and I know it's there and I'm frustrated that I can't find things. But obviously not enough to do anything about it. And there was a time when I hired a professional organizer to help me with this room.  It was neat and tidy and well - I'm not good with maintaining things.

I did find this bunch of quilter's tape.  Any takers??  Otherwise - it's being tossed. It's been sitting here because I didn't want it downstairs, but I don't use this and can't imagine where I would use it so it goes.

Quilter's tape - to be tossed
 I also found a collection of bicycle shaped paper clips. Now why did I buy so many?  They were on sale (those words that often get us in trouble! - right Ronda and Laura?)  and they were cute. I'm sure they are impractical to use, but I'm going to open them up and as I find the need for a paperclip, I'm going to use these ones.  There is ZERO sense in buying something that is cute and special and NEVER using it.  I'm going to stop that habit NOW.

Cute paper clips

I sorted, I filed and I moved stuff and I actually did more than I thought I would.  But at one point my back was so tired that I had to have a nap!  I think that was more from getting in late the previous night.

I have a box of electronics that needs to go to the recycling place. I tossed a clock that I thought just needed a new battery, but after charging up the battery in the clock, it appears that the clock is toast. I found a few things that I took pictures of and will post them in a bit and the items are gone. I found the embroidery that I was going to take with me on vacation. I have several big things in the giveaway pile and I have two more boxes of stuff that I'd like to go through today if possible. I also have another pile of things that I would like to address. Could be an address or phone number that needs to be into my phone or something that requires further attention. I wasn't doing that yesterday.  I really must make an effort to grab two or three things from that box every day and deal with them.

I must admit that the room which is a decent size feels a whole lot bigger today.  I was only planning to clear off the surfaces of the table and one desk, but I ended up cleaning up a lot of stuff that was on the floor as well. It positively feels open concept!!!

I'm far from done, but here's what it looks like now. I hung up my thimble collection that has been sitting on the table for years.  Whacked a nail in the wall and put up the letter press drawer and all the thimbles are on it. I moved the computer desk to the corner on a different angle to maximize space.

The computer desk
I have this white shelf that I put on the desk, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep that. I'll see. But now both computers are in the same spot, it's way easier to type on the laptop on that lower surface and well - this isn't in too bad of shape.

I removed all the stuff from the other corner and it's gone so I could move the other desk into the opposite corner. So the two desks are side by side. It was completely clean but then I sat there last night looking through some books that I want to make a couple of notes on, take a couple of pictures and then those books are gone!

The desk top - yes - there actually is a desk top!

It was fun to sit at that desk last night and actually do some work and not fight to have a spot to work in. I know all the good points to keeping things organized. I just can't get myself to completely buy into that!

And here is the table. It looks like an island at the moment. There is NOTHING around the table so you could actually run around in circles (which the girls do!).  I did pile as much on the table as I could so I could clear off the other surfaces. Don't worry, I did get rid of a lot of stuff but no time to deal with this mess.

The table with crap on it!

There are two boxes of stuff in the kitchen that I hope to get through today and there is more in the office but you don't see it in the pictures.  I figure that it will take about two or three more days to get through the bulk of the mess and find homes for the stuff.  Are you kidding me?   What a HUGE waste of time, but the end result will be so muchh better.

Going forward what am I going to do?

Well - I need to process one or two or hopefully three pieces of paper in the "must address pile" and that pile will grow as I continue to go through the rest of the stuff.  Oh - I found $30 yesterday in an envelope!

Let me put them in points so my brain can process it.

1. Two or three items in the "to be addressed" pile must be dealt with every day
2. Spend about 1/2 hour every day to go through more stuff - like the pile on the table
3. Deal with all new paperwork in a timely manner. In other words - NO more piling! Try filing!
4. Do NOT accept anything from anyone that wasn't already prearranged.

That is going to be a bit hard as there are things that we get and we're not ready or not able to process them that day. I must find a way or this place is going to be right back where it was! And hopefully the more I do it, the easier it will be to keep on top of it all.

On that note, I'm out of here to try and get some sewing done today.

Have a great day!!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

A rude awakening

Ooops --- I knew I missed the post on Friday, but what happened to Thursday?  Oh - I guess I missed that one too. Well - there is a good reason.

But I'm back home now having arrived late last night and while it was nice to be away, it's super nice to be home! The girls and I had a great time at the park and now it's time to get to work. But wait - there's a story here. A story that is dirty, disgusting and well - a very rude awakening.

You see my Mother is a hoarder. There is no question in our minds - she NEVER EVER threw anything away. There are two houses on the farm. Both are filled with stuff. And they have an apartment which has stuff - but I'm not going to deal with the apartment. Not today and not until, well not until she isn't around. It's just better that way.

Since they moved, my Dad will go out with a list of things to get. Thankfully he's going out less and each time, it appears that there is less to bring in. But what to do with all the stuff that is still there?

My brother and I had (finally) free rein to roam the houses to take assessment of the situation. Let's suffice it to say that it would be way easier to just leave everything and let it go than to figure out how to deal with it.  I'm not kidding when I say that. The responsible part of me says - it should be cleaned up but as no one will likely ever like in either house again - what's the point? Well one of them for sure. Box after box of stuff. Bundles of old papers, bundles of book catalogues, books, knick knacks - you name it - it's there.

We looked in the kitchen cupboards of the older house which no one has lived in for thirty years so you can well imagine what it looks like inside the house. An old farmhouse empty for thirty years - need I say more?Well, the kitchen cupboards are filled to the hilt with dishes. Why? Where did the dishes come from?  I've no idea  - I can imagine, but seriously it's a serious mess. No - she has a serious addiction and there were several well meaning friends who went to garage sales to "help" her.

Never mind the dead bat that I found in the newer house. ICK ICK ICK!!!!

I know how I would solve the problem, but I won't put that to pen and paper!

I did take pictures and I could go on forever, but here is the thing. I learned some lessons and I'm going to share them with you.

1. NEVER EVER let someone give you their crap. Unless it is something you will absolutely use. I mean like books you WILL read or dishes you WILL use or whatever. It's for this reason that I will NOT give or sell my fabric and craft supplies to an experienced quilter. They already have their own mess to deal with.  I do have a couple of bundles here that I need to get in touch with my "new" quilters.

2. USE your garbage or recycling bins often!  Look at the paper as it comes in - why are you keeping this - does it have a home? If you don't have a good home or a good reason to keep it - get rid of it! Old bills, receipts - there is absolutely no need to keep most of it. At least get in the habit of getting rid of what comes in so you're not adding to the problem. I can't even begin to tell you what we found that should have been tossed years ago - god - it should never have been saved in the first place. Our only saving grace is that she was an organized hoarder. Like things are stored together.

3. Pick a spot in your house and go through it. Like the cup cupboard or the pantry or whatever. Do it once a year. once you get rid of the bulk of the stuff, the second time around won't be so bad provided you haven't filled it up again. I'm happy to note that there is a lot of space in the apartment kitchen cupboards. Why? Neither of them can reach the space!!!!

4. Think twice before you buy ANYTHING!  Do you need another shirt?  Do you need that new kitchen gadget?  If not, don't pawn it off on someone else. I really really hate to say this, but throw it out!

5. Get over the sentiment of things.  I mean - get over it!  Take a picture - that's all you need to evoke the memory. And it you have something that you treasure - then get it out in plain view. I retrieved a painting for my mom that had a note on it as to how precious it was to her and it had been in the newer house for the last two years, tucked way back in a corner that she would never have seen the painting when they lived there. If you love something - put it on display!

While I was there, I made a vow to myself. I will get my house in order and trust me - it looks empty compared to what we saw. BTW since I know that you will all be thinking of my studio - I'm going to get the rest of my house in order first and then deal with the studio.  Yes - it would be amazingly overwhelming for anyone and I realize that a lot of it would be thrown out.

So I'm taking today off!  I'm going to tackle the office. I took a couple of before pictures and I'm going to get the recyling bins outs and have fun. I know I'll feel better, but I just never got around to it or there was something way more fun to do.  But after seeing that - well - it would make you sick!

Look around you - is there some area of your house that you would like to tackle. Take a couple of hours and get it done. Think about if you didn't come home today and how overwhelming that space would be to someone else to clean up. We found three boxes in the house - one was labeled pens, the second was labelled pens and the third was labelled MORE PENS. I  mean - seriously????  And I bet that all of them were dried up!

On that note, I'm going to tackle this area and see what I can accomplish by the end of the day!

Have a super day!!!!!