Thursday, October 31, 2019

Pink - lots of pink!

OK - I'm now obsessed (possessed) with this darn clean up thing. There was a pile of stuff in the living room and it was getting out of hand. So I loaded up the car and I was off to the recycling depot. Got rid of 7 or 8 boxes of stuff. Phew - that feels good and the living room looks a whole lot better. There's some stuff slated to go to the retreat with me next week, but there's still a couple of things that I need to get in touch with the person who said they wanted the stuff and see how serious they were.

I also sold another item (a small air compressor) on Facebook Marketplace. I listed it and it was picked up mere hours later. I've got a couple more things to sell. The trick is to not ask for a ton of money. The object here is to get rid of stuff, not make money. I check out similar items for sale and then price mine a wee bit less. It's worked every time.

I wonder if they recognize me at the recycling depot. I told the man what I had in the car and he said: "you know your way around?" Yep - I do. And then I proceeded to happily dump my stuff. While I was getting back in my car, I spotted this. Do you know what it is???

Election signs

Yep - our election was over last week and you are NOT supposed to throw those signs in the garbage. There should be piles and piles of these. It's such a waste. All that yummy corrugated plastic for bag bottoms. I don't need more so I just drove on by!

When I got home, I decided to delve into the cold storage room under the front steps. OH GOD! I found one box of chemicals for the hot tub that we no longer have. That goes right to the recycling depot where I just was! And I found TWO more boxes of fabric dyeing stuff. Good grief. Now I have to go through that before I list the fabric dyeing supplies. Thank goodness I found those boxes before I listed the stuff.

I'll be sharing pictures of that cold storage room soon. All that's left in there are some painting supplies that I don't need, but not sure I have time to sort through it. Oh - I know that I'll make time. There's also bags and bags of fabric scraps that people gave me to make pet mats. Why or why did I offer to do that???  I'm now saddled with a HUGE pile of stuff to make pet mats. I'll work my way through it - I'm now motivated to make that happen and I've found some treasures in the previous bags I went through.

Believe it or not, I find it very therapeutic to work my way through the crap and sort it. BUT - I'm NOT sorting through your crap. I have enough of my own. If I made three pet mats each day, I could get through it and I'd feel a whole lot better.

So the furnace room still needs some work and that cold storage room needs more work, but I made huge progress yesterday and it wasn't even a tidy up day! I now have more stuff in the kitchen to go through, but that's OK. It will be nice when I get to the quilt closet and the stuff under the long arm. Most of that is staying and just needs to be reorganized.

I managed to get the border on that scrappy jelly roll quilt that I serged at the Monday sewing day.

Scrappy jelly roll quilt top - DONE

I dug through the backings and found this fabric (this is the wrong side), and now the backing, binding, and the quilt top are in the "to be quilted" pile.

One more quilt in the "to be quilted" pile

Speaking of quilting, I got that huge quilt done yesterday. I now have two huge quilts to trim. I'd better get to work on that. That wide-angle lens on my phone is amazing! This quilt is 106 inches square.

Customer quilt - DONE

Do you want to know my current status on cutting pillowcase kits for Ryan's Case for Smiles???  After I emptied the tubs that contained the fabric dyeing stuff (it was transferred to cardboard boxes) and the tubs were washed. They've now been repurposed for the pillowcase kits.

Pillowcase kits

Let's see - I now have 10 completed kits. Once the band and the body are matched up, I'm putting them in a plastic bag and they go in the tub in the upper left. There are now TEN kits ready to sew. The pillowcase bodies are in the tub in the upper left and the bands are in the foreground. There are an additional 5 bodies cut and waiting for a matching band to be cut. 4 bands are waiting for a body. I think I said, I would get close to forty pillowcases from that fabric I washed. Well, I was wrong. It's more likely that I'll get 30. Some of the directional pieces were too short to make the pillowcases. And one darn fabric was polyester.

I kind of had my suspicions when I handled it but didn't think anything about it. But when I went to press it (and the fact that it wasn't too wrinkled) well the smell when the heat of the iron touched it revealed that in fact, it was polyester. Darn!!!!  Well, not to worry - remember this is ONE of four baskets of fabric that I've designated for making pillowcases.

Polyester - can't be used for the pillowcases
And if I was feeling sad that I'm putting this fabric to good use, that darn basket doesn't seem as empty as it should be after I've removed fabric for 30 pillowcases. I'll share that with you, but it's a bit disheartening. Enough fabric for thirty pillowcases removed from a basket of fabric and it makes hardly a dent? That means it's even more important to be going through those baskets and getting rid of stuff. Liberally getting rid of stuff.

I'm expecting fabric donations from three people. Once I get those fabrics in the next couple of days and I'll be done cutting what I have washed, then I'll know how much more fabric to wash. The rest of the stuff that I'm donating is NOT directional - so it'll be easier to calculate how much I need.

Fellow quilters - you CANNOT take this stuff with you. I would much rather be doing this than having my family deal with the mess once I'm gone. Get out your fabric and decide how you want to have fun with it. DO NOT save it for a rainy day - well, it's a rainy day today so get it out and find a use for it!

Here's my pile of novels that I bought at the used book store. I got lucky with that bottom one. I was searching for the next three books in the series and I found them all in ONE book. Yeah!!! I was trying to buy them so that they are in the series and only those that I can't find in the local library. However, some of them seem to be quite rare so now I'm buying in several series whenever I see a book that I need. That's why lists are so important. I'm going to need to read faster!

Novels bought at the used book sale

 Has anyone read the book "A House without Windows"?  I have three hours left in the audiobook version of it. Holy cow - this is a novel filled with twists and turns. It's a very sad book based on the subject matter and how women are treated (or should I say mistreated) in Afghanistan. And how a family will sacrifice so much for the sake of appearance in their community. It's long and not a page-turner, but very interesting. Now I want to know what happens - three more hours!

In the novel department, does anyone have any books by M.C. Beaton? There are two different series (Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin) and the books are rather hard to find. Let me know - I'd be happy to buy them off you or borrow them if that works.

I'm also on the hunt for this book about Nancy Zieman. Seams Unlikely. It's her life story and I thought it would be a great book. It's not in the library and if I can find a used one somewhere, then I'll buy used. That's just my quirkiness.

With Christmas coming up in less than two months, I've been thinking of lists of what people can buy as gifts. Not for me - I don't need a thing. That's going to be next week sometime.

One last thing today. Yesterday the new Cherrywood Challenge was announced. The theme and the color of the fabric. Oh boy - I didn't see this coming but I should have. The first two challenges were based on musicals. The first being Wicked (Green) and the second was The Lion King (Yellow/Gold). Then they went to honor people who were no longer with us. Van Gogh (Blue), then Prince (Purple), Bob Ross (Multi-color). So if one were paying attention to the fact that they are focused on honoring famous people who are no longer with us - who would you pick??? It's a woman. A very famous woman who died tragically. Her grandchildren are very much in the news.

Did you guess Princess Diana?? Well, you'd be right and the color is PINK!!!! I know Shelly will be chomping at the bit to get her package (NOT - she hates pink!).

And if you want to see the Bob Ross Challenge at Houston - check out this link.  Part of this display will be in Canada at the end of this month. It's going to be well worth the visit and you can pick up your PINK KIT for the challenge. Right, Shelly???? I'll get more details on the dates for tomorrow.

After my class last night, I started to do some research and well - not sure that I have an idea yet, but I might have.

I've got a couple of errands today that take me to opposite sides of the city. Not my choice. Oh well. I'll try to get some work done in between. And the next quilt is loaded, but I need to get to the sewing machine - I've got some samples to be making.

On that note, have a super day!!!!!


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

This is how we tidy up

I had the most amazing day cleaning up. I know - sounds boring, but I'm finding it very therapeutic to sort through things, decide that I do NOT need all that stuff and then devise a way to get rid of it. I have a pile of books about organizing. What am I going to do with those?? I don't think I'm going to need them after all!! While books are good, most books talk about how to organize what you have left - they don't really go into the issues that crafters have with all the stuff. I want to know how to get rid of it, not how to organize it - that's the easy part!!!  Anyway - I did it MY WAY and this time it's going to stick!

I don't have time to load the pictures this morning from yesterday's cleaning session but for anyone who says that I have a lot of stuff? Well - other than that stash room - you'd better watch what you say. And if things go well, that stash room will be a lot lighter as well. My duplicate serger book is also spoken for! Oh yes - there will be no stone unturned in this house. I'm not sure why I wasn't able to stick to it before, but I'm committed.

Have you noticed though that I seem to be very good at skirting around this office? Almost every single space in the house has been touched but not the office. However, as I'm working in the other areas, my mind is thinking about what's in here and I'm prepared to let a lot of it go. I'm running out of areas to tidy up so the office will be next.

It sure makes a difference to schedule those days in my calendar. My next scheduled day is at the end of November. Although now that I'm on a roll, I can spend an hour here and there to move forward. There are a few things left in the furnace room, a few things in the cold storage room and the basement will be done!!!!!  Except for one quilt storage closet that should be reorganized so I can shove more UFO projects in it. Let's say that by the end of the year, I want EVERYTHING in the basement to be organized. That's not a huge task at all. Oh, shoot - I forgot that there are still boxes to unpack. But it's doable and it would be nice to enter the new year with the basement totally organized.

A note about the organizing days. I schedule them in my calendar and I make a HUGE NOTE on the event to NOT RESCHEDULE. It amazes me how people can book a date, a class or whatever. The day arrives, they don't feel like doing it so they don't. Why????

Yesterday, I organized boxes and boxes of stuff for dyeing fabric. So if you know anyone interested in dyeing fabric, I have four boxes of dyes and supplies that I want to sell. I'll be posting it on Facebook Marketplace, but in case you know anyone locally who wants that kind of thing, I'm giving you first dibs.

I do need to stop for a bit so I can get rid of the stuff that is now in my kitchen and the living that is slated to leave the house!

Here's a couple of pictures that I have time to share with you today. Sorry, this first one should have been rotated. I thought I did in the editing process but it reverted back to this orientation. Isn't that just the cutest? Thanks to Sandra for the mug rug. It could be used as a postcard as well.

Mug rug

It's hanging out in Studio B where I can put my mug and cookie on. I love it. And did you notice the color???? 

Perfect mug rug

While I was making my three portable design walls (which are stored away in the storage room), I got the final panel for the big design wall completed and it's attached to the wall. I'm on a roll!!!!

The final section of the design wall is up

I also finished the last four blocks for the Lilla quilt. I ended up making 112 blocks - 56 for each of two quilts. One top is together and I hope to get the other one together and both of them quilted this month.

Last four blocks for Lilla quilt are done

This is also something new for me. I have always had a hard time getting the homework completed for those ongoing quilt projects. I have a shelf of UFOs to prove it! However, this year, I've managed to keep pretty much up to date. Not sure why that is but I'm happy!!!!

Got another quilt trimmed and this is my pile of stuff that needs to have the binding attached. Hopefully one of these days soon that'll happen. I haven't done a whole lot of sewing these days or quilting for that matter. However, I did get a rather large quilt loaded on the long arm yesterday and will be working on that later today.

Quilts and a rug that need the binding attached

This is a spoiler alert if any of you purchased the Bella Box by Kimberbell. Diane received her box the other day and waited for Monday so we could open it together. Thanks, Diane!!!! I love Kimberbell stuff but I just couldn't justify buying the box for myself.

Bella box

So what was in the box???  All kinds of embroidery patterns and goodies. The cutest little pillow - in addition to their regular Bench Buddies. An apron project, a couple of coasters, shoot - there was a whole lot of stuff. I don't remember it all. But all the trims, instructions, and materials for the projects were included. She's going to have fun to go through it all and create some very cute projects.

The contents of the Bella box by Kimberbell

And it was all nicely outlined on this card!

A map to what was in the box

So Grammarly has something new. They have a "tone" of voice filter. This post is classified as FORMAL. Opposed to appreciative or admiring. Not sure why they've introduced this feature. I much rather have more editing on sentence structure than a Tone Detector. Good grief.

Oh did I mention that my FitBit is now syncing with my phone again? I think it had something to do with an update. Anyway, when I was messing with my phone the other night - experimenting with pairing, I was able to get it working again. I don't ask questions.

I've got paperwork that needs to be done this morning. Oh  - and I got word yesterday that one thing that had been hanging over my head (paperwork) isn't needed after all. Yeah!!!!! That gets me very excited and I'm glad I hadn't spent a whole lot of time working on it!

On that note, I'm out of here. What are you going to tidy up today????

Have a super day!!!!!


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The serger

I have NOTHING to do and NOWHERE to go today! OK - so there's technically nothing on the calendar although I have slated this as a CLEANUP day. There's a TO-DO list, but nothing is due today and no official places to go. I LOVE IT and the weather is supposed to be glorious. I'm pumped - I'm super excited. I've got loads that I want to do.

Another fun day at the Monday Sewing group. I've been spending the last couple of Mondays doing hand applique all day. I just couldn't take another day of that. So I spent the morning doing hand applique and making nice progress on my piece.

 In the afternoon, I set up the serger. Not just any serger. This is the NEW Husqvarna Viking 

AMBER™ Air S | 400.  Can you guess what the Air means???  Yep, those loopers are now threaded with AIR. I LOVE this feature. Not only does it have air threading loopers, but there's a needle threader for the TWO needles. I had it threaded within mere minutes which is pretty good considering that this is really the second time that I've threaded this serger. It's super easy. 

I didn't have to touch the tension and I was off! You got to love sergers once you understand them. While I've had a serger for a long time, I've never really understood it and to be honest, I was a bit intimidated by them. I'm determined to learn everything there is to know about a serger.

This is one of the books that I bought at the Guelph book sale.

Serger book

OK - so there are two serger books. I bought the one on the left only to realize when I got home that I have the one on the right. They are IDENTICAL inside - just a different cover. DRAT!!!!  Fortunately, the book cost $1 so no big deal. However, seeing these books brought back great memories. When I learned to quilt, I used a Singer book. I still have that book and I must tell you that story one day. The book has been sitting beside the computer for a while. You'll love the story.

These Singer books are FILLED TO THE BRIM with great information. NONE of the techniques have changed. A four-thread overlock stitch is still a four-thread overlock stitch. Perhaps the fabrics used have changed, but the techniques are the same!! That's why I go for those older books. I've got more to share with you another day. If anyone wants that book on the left, you're welcome to it. It's a GREAT book and I've already learned tons about the serger and only ¼ of the way through. As I said, I'm determined to become very proficient with the serger.

I try to spend the evening reading. Not just novels, but I usually have a "learning" book at the ready as well. I finally finished the book on my new phone last night. I learned tons of stuff from reading that book. Here's one thing that I learned. Yesterday, we were chatting about the battery life of cell phones. Someone mentioned the memory of the battery and that you should try to let the battery run low before recharging.

That is now a thing of the past. The old phone batteries were nickel-cadmium (NiCad). Those batteries held a memory and if you didn't charge them properly, they wore out very quickly. However most batteries in cell phones today are lithium-ion (Li-ion). These batteries do NOT have a memory. That means you can charge them whenever you wish and it's recommended that you do NOT completely discharge the battery.

So what drains the battery??  You'd be very surprised at how many apps are running behind the scenes on your phone. You should get in the habit of shutting them down, especially when you leave the house and are away from Wi-Fi. There are all kinds of routines that you can set on your phone. When you leave your home, the phone can automatically (once you set it) go into several different modes to help prolong battery life. Before I return the book, I have a few of those to set up and then I should be good!!! I've got high security on my phone (facial recognition and fingerprints), however, I want to set up an account that'll help me find the phone should it go missing. Dare I say that I'm up to date on this technology???

OK - back to the serger. What did I sew in the afternoon?? Well, in less than two hours, this quilt top was together. I had two small jelly rolls - one was dark and one was red. I have some red fabric to make the border and another top will be made and more fabric used up. This is a very fast quilt to make if you need one in a hurry. Essentially, it's the jelly roll race quilt. Here's a link to a post that I wrote that gets you started on the quilt including the match involved if you want to change the size.    Here's the second part of piecing the jelly roll quilt with a serger.  

My jelly roll quilt made with the serger

It wasn't without a few issues. I managed to sew the wrong side of one or two pieces and I had to do a wee bit of ripping. Thankfully, I found out before I had gone very far.

I'm even collecting samples to practice my serging. This is the trimming from a quilt that was backed with fleece. I cut a leftover scrap of fleece into small lengths and now I can play with the tensions and different kinds of threads. This is the only way to learn so I hope to find all kinds of other types of materials around the house and fill the bucket with samples for practice.

My serger sample bucket

So how is the pillowcase prep coming along? I had some time last night so I got busy measuring and cutting. I had to eliminate a couple of the fabrics that I had washed - only because they were directional and were too short to be cut properly.

The directional print is not long enough for a pillowcase

Directional prints that run parallel to the selvage need to be 40 ½" long to cut the pillowcases. So this one went back into the basket of licensed character fabrics. No worries - I'll be making quilts from those at some point.

I managed to get three pillowcase bodies and three bands cut last night. I have one matching set (upper right) and two bands and two bodies that will be married up with something as I go through the fabric.

Components cut for the pillowcases
So far, I found two prints that wouldn't work because they were directional. Including the leftovers from the cutting of the other fabrics, this is my "reject" pile and it went back into the basket. I'm OK with that. It'll all go into a children's quilt soon.

Fabrics that went back into the licensed character basket

 OK - I'm over coveting this fabric. As far as I'm concerned, it's all been committed to the community projects project. Now I just need the time to process it. This is way more satisfying than just donating it so someone else is saddled with the problem of using it up!! I think this has been my calling all along. Amass the fabric, find a way to use it responsibly, gather friends for fun sewing days. And when it's time for me to downsize because I'm moving, I hope that a good part of the fabrics will be used up!! We may need quite a few sewing days to make that happen.

Remember - if you participate in the sewing days, I'm quite happy to help you with downsizing your stash for these causes. If you don't, then no - we don't want your fabric bits! If you have yardage that suits the pillowcases, I might be persuaded to look at it - only because it's easy to use up. I hope that makes sense.

I threw this small quilt of mine on the long arm last night. The black bits had been quilted and the quilt had been trimmed, but the center part had not been quilted. Don't ask. Anyway - it's now done. The only problem is where the heck is the pre-made binding? This quilt has been moved around so much that the binding is in one of the tubs of "to be quilted" projects, but which one?? Maybe I'll try to find that today.

My quilt - done!!!

Lots more to share, but that'll have to wait for another day. I'm too excited and need to get the "nothing" day started.

Have a super day and if you live near me - get OUTSIDE and enjoy this weather. I see a walk in my future.


Monday, October 28, 2019

A day of discovery

What a super day yesterday was! Despite the rainy start to the day, it was a super day.

I did a very brave thing before I left the house. I decided to use the navigation screen in my car instead of my stand-alone GPS. The last time I tried to use it (months ago), I was very unhappy and I didn't bother to try again. Why was I unhappy? It was how you started it up. Plug into the car, turn on two apps and then it might work. Nope - I was so disgusted that I just used the stand-alone GPS.

However, yesterday I was feeling in a great mood and I wasn't going to let that darn car navigation system get me down. I started by plugging my phone into the car. I should mention that the navigation system uses the data on your phone. That used to be an issue, but with the new phone - unlimited data - I don't care. Well after plugging it in, my phone popped open and asked me to do something. I don't even remember, but I had to zip through a few screens to connect the Bluetooth and get the navigation system to recognize my new phone. I'm not liking this, but let's keep going.

Then, POOF - everything was connected and it worked like a charm. I decided to try it on the way home just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Everything worked like a charm. I simply have to plug the phone into the car and VOILA - navigation system WITH traffic. I like that. OK - maybe I don't hate the system so much. Good thing I haven't written my critique letter to Toyota yet.

The navigation system in my car

Don't worry - I was pulled to the side of the road when I took that picture.

Where was I going? I headed out to the GIANT book sale in Guelph. This annual event is a major fundraiser for the Guelph Library. HOLY - it's HUGE.
Entering the book sale
Sunday was the last day and all books were ONE DOLLAR each. The place was packed and I think many people waited to come back for the bargain books on that last day. I went on the first day last year and it was also packed as people attempted to get the first pick of everything. Where to start?

I headed to the craft section. I saw this book and got a chuckle from the title. I didn't buy it, but maybe there were some good tips in there on time management.

Love the title of this book

When I was zipping through the novels, I saw this book - the one in orange. I'm sure that dog plots against me!

Cool book title

I did pick up several books - OK - 17 in total. I'll share them with you another day. Do you know how heavy 17 books are? But I had my tote with me (the one with the corrugated plastic in the bottom) and there was NO sagging going on with my bag. We had to line up to pay for the books. The organization of this event was amazing. The line went quickly and I was charged $14 for everything. Some of the items were very small - a little booklet and a magazine and I think they threw those in for free. Yeah!!!  Free is good. I had $15 and didn't take the dollar back. 

Waiting to pay

When I say the books were disappearing faster than you could blink, I'm not kidding. There were loads of volunteers around who were trying to keep things organized. When I made my first pass, there were no gaps in the books. When I made the second pass, there were huge gaps and the volunteers were trying to corral the books into the smallest space possible and even taking down tables. A total madhouse!

Some people brought their kids so you had to watch out for them. Some people were shopping like they were in a bookstore. Thye browsed through individual books. Others like myself had lists and we knew what we were looking for. It's a science to shop for used books. And I may have missed a title or two that was on my list, but it's amazing how the authors you want just seem to pop up on your radar.

Now here's one thing I've noticed - there are several quilt novel series - Carol Dean Jones (Quilting Cozy series), Ann HazelwoodArleneSachitano, Jennifer Chiaverini (although I don't think she's writing quilt novels these days) and Patience Griffith. Why don't those novels ever appear in a used book store or a used book sale?????  So for all of you who are hoarding books by those authors - we need to talk!!!  I can get Jennifer and Patience's books in our library, but not the others.

Then it was back home where I did a bit of work and I walked to the hardware store. More on that tomorrow. I dug out that overflowing basket of licensed fabric. Hmmm - let's see what's in there.

Basket of licensed fabric

I found a couple of Barbie panels, some metallic fabric, and some pieces were too small to be used for pillowcases. This is the reject pile after the first pass.

Fabrics that won't work for the pillowcases
I sorted what I kept into the themes. Mickey went into one pile, spiderman in another and so on. 

Fabrics for making pillowcases

Then I went through it again and there were a few more that got rejected when I looked at the size. So this is what the basket looks like when it went back on the shelf.

My much-reduced basket of licensed prints

I will tell you that at first, I had a wee moment when I thought of all the fabric that I was going to donate to this pillowcase challenge. This is MY fabric. I bought it to use. Some of it even had tags still attached. I know - what the heck is that all about???

Tag still on the fabric

Do you want to know the date on that ticket????  It's in the year 2000. TWO THOUSAND!!!!  That was NINETEEN years ago. I probably bought it to make something for M. She's now an adult and certainly doesn't need it. Did I feel bad about using it for the pillowcases? No longer. I can't imagine not coming home one day and having my family have to deal with that HUGE amount of fabric. So the more that I get it used while I'm around to make that happen - that's a good thing. I will have to downsize one day and I'd rather have used the fabric and had fun with it than just donate it.

Besides, doesn't it warm your heart to know that some child stuck in the hospital is going to appreciate that little spot of cheer in their room rather than it being stuck in my stash room? Let the flood gates open!!!

So if you're like me (and who doesn't have stuff that they no longer use), donate it to our pillowcase cause or use it up yourself. You can't take it with you!!!!!

This is what I took out of that basket to make the pillowcases. I figure there's enough fabric here to make FORTY pillowcases. Now I'll have to find a bit more to make the bands but I have a couple of tubs of solid fabric so that won't be hard. That means there is at least FORTY yards of fabric here. Forty yards at about $10 a yard???  FOUR HUNDRED dollars. That's obscene and this is ONE of many baskets in that stash room.

Fabrics to be made into pillowcases

I feel so good about responsibly using up my stash. I know I have a lot on the go - using up the other bits and pieces for the community projects quilts and now the pillowcases. I don't care. It has to be done. And once that is done - then I'll find more that I can use for these causes. So if you thought I might ever give fabric away? Think again! The only way you get to touch my stash is to come here and help sew it up!!!  I'm still looking for volunteers to come and sew on Tuesday, December 3rd. If you've never used a serger before, this will be a great way to learn. It's going to be super fun!!!!

I washed everything - took two loads to get it all washed. I was a wee bit worried as there were a couple of RED fabrics in there and you all know what happens with red. But as you can see from the photo that the red did NOT bleed as the other fabrics in the same load were fine.

That red did NOT bleed
 I did throw in a color catcher just in case and it came out pristine. Yeah!!!!

Color catcher is white

Now it's prep time. I started ironing the fabrics this morning. I don't know that I'll get all 100 pillowcases prepped for December 3rd, but I want to have a few prepped so that when people come to sew, there's something for them to do without having to wait.

Pressing the fabrics

It's so nice to have a clean cutting table to make cutting the pillowcases super easy and accurate.

The cutting table is prepped for cutting

This is what still needs to be ironed. If I prep one or two pillowcases per day, it'll take no time to get them all ready for December 3rd.

Waiting to be ironed

If you want to part with part of your stash that will be appropriate for the pillowcases, I would sure appreciate that the fabric is WASHED and pressed. I can do the cutting, but the washing and pressing are time-consuming and I'm trying to deal with my own stuff. Remember, I only went through ONE basket. There are three more and those ones are piled higher than this first one was. I'll easily have fabric for 250 pillowcases. That will make a dent in the stash and I'm looking forward to making that dent. I can use the space on the shelves for something else. NOT something new - just reconfigure what is already here.

There's one last discovery that happened yesterday and it brought a smile to my face. I was putting away a QuiltFolk magazine that I received last week. Guess what I found?????  Can you see in the photo below???

Guess what I found????

Here's a better picture - yep - my missing glasses!!! I must have been rooting around in the books/magazines and took the darn things off my head and put them on the shelf. NO - I remember now, I was pulling a project box off the top of the bookcase and had to lean my head backward. My glasses were sliding off so I took them off and put them on the top shelf. AHA - now I remember!!!!

My missing glasses

I was getting used to the old glasses. If you look at the two pairs, there isn't much difference between them. Now to take better note of where I place the darn things when I take them off!!!!  Oh, life is good!!!!

The old and the newer pair of glasses

Gosh - life couldn't be better!!!  Finding a home for some of my fabrics, found my glasses and my navigation system works pretty well. I love when things come together!!!! And it's Monday sewing!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, October 27, 2019

A blast from the past

Yipeee - it's a FREE day today. I have one thing on the calendar and it's totally my call if I go or not. It's a used book sale - of course, I'm going!

I bailed from the meeting I was supposed to go to last night. After the three classes and all the stuff that went on in the last couple of weeks, I was tired. So I came home, had dinner with DH and then sat and read my book. It was glorious! I even ignored my alarm this morning. Well, after I shut it off, I decided that I didn't need to get up yet so I just lay there for a while and contemplated life.

I'll be editing some pictures later today so I'm ready for the upcoming week. Lots and lots of pictures but that's what keeps us both entertained. Right?

During our show n tell yesterday, one of the participants brought in the most amazing show n tell. I'll share it in just a second. And I received a show n tell from a past participant. It was fun to see both of these projects.

This is Suzi's Dear Jane quilt. It's STUNNING. She hasn't decided how she'll quilt it yet, but the top is completely done! There were a ton of different techniques in this class. Hand piecing, paper piecing, applique, curved piecing and a whole lot more. We did that as an ongoing class in 2012, 2013 and half of 2014. It was a LOT of work. I was thrilled to see the top finished. How would you quilt it? By hand? By machine? And how??

Suzi's Dear Jane quilt top

The second finished quilt top is from Andrea. This is the Dragon Star by Judy Niemeyer. It's paper pieced. We did this class in 2013 so it took her 6 years, but that doesn't matter - it's done!!!!  She's sending it off to be quilted in a couple of weeks.

Andrea's Dragon Star

I just had a peek at the list of classes (our ongoing classes). I started teaching them in 2003!!!!!  We started off with ONE class per year and then went to two and sometimes more. Over the years, there have been 39 different quilts. THIRTY-NINE!!!!!!!  That's just insane and I have to admit that many of my versions are still not done. And they are BIG so that's a huge problem. I'm working on them. I should take a recap of them all and see where I stand. It would be nice to get all of them finished. Thinking about the other ones I taught at a different store (s), I'm thinking there are over FORTY of them.

If you go back to this blog post from 2013, there's a partial list (and pictures of some of the ones that we've done in the past). I'll compile a complete list at some point because it's a superb reference. We quickly forget the year!!!!  But I need help. I cannot for the life of me remember which quilt we did at The Hobby Horse in 2017. I know we did Kaleidoscope as one quilt, but what the heck was the other? I haven't had a chance to check my fabrics and I didn't write that one down.

So the other day when I was walking the girls, I noticed this sign still sitting on a neighbor's lawn. Hmm - the old me would have plucked that thing out of the ground and squirreled it away. Nope - not now. I have way too many. They are neatly stored in the garage and I don't need more. Why do I covet those signs? Because they're made with corrugated plastic and make wonderful bottoms for tote bags that prevent saggy tote bag bottoms. Here's a link to my tip.

Election sign up for grabs

Back to the pillowcase challenge. I thought about it on my way to class yesterday. Are 100 pillowcases even possible in one day? Well - if one person could make three in an hour (this method of making a pillowcase is called the 20-minute pillowcase), then in 6 hours, they could make 18. And if you had 6 people - you would have 108. Yep - we can make a 100 in the day. We're not making the french seam but going to use the serger so that step will make them even faster to make. We'll have time for lunch!

I had a quick peek into the stash room. Oh boy - there's a LOT of fabric that would fit this category. Here's a basket of licensed characters - Barbie, Winnie the Pooh, etc. Perfect for kids pillowcases. There are a few that have metallic on them so they are out, but this basket is going to be severely reduced (I hope).

Basket of licensed children's fabrics

PLUS there are THREE more baskets with bright fabrics that would work. Now some of the pieces are NOT large enough. So the first cull will be to sort out the pieces that are too small and then sort out any metallic. Then I can match up the fabrics to get the main body and a band. And there's also the question of directional prints. You can make the pillowcase with directional prints - you just have to cut it slightly different. I have written instructions for directional prints and once I figure out how to post that, I'll share it with you.

Three more baskets of bright fabrics

Seriously!!!  What the heck am I going to do with these four baskets of fabric? I haven't touched most of that stuff in years but it's all good quality and fun stuff. It's perfect for this charity program. I certainly can't take it with me and I would much rather it be used on a fun day with friends than donated to a guild so they can use it. No way - this is my stuff and I'm determined to make good use of it. It's time to get it used up!!!!!

Here's how the day will work. The date booked to make pillowcases for Ryan's Case for Smiles project is Tuesday, December 3. You do NOT need to bring a sewing machine. I'll have three sergers set up and three sewing machines. We're going to make a sweatshop. Someone can do the pressing, someone can sew the first seam on the sewing machine, others can do the serging and others can finish off the seam ends. Someone can be cutting although would be nice to have everything cut BEFORE the day starts. If you can only come for an hour, then you come just for one hour. If you can stay longer, great. It's going to be loads of fun!!!! 

Keep in mind, this is NOT a race. We want good quality work on our pillowcases.  If you have some time on that day to spare or some fabric to donate, e-mail me so I can get everything coordinated. I'm going to start sorting those baskets later today.

Things to remember if you want to help. Check this link to see what kind of fabrics are acceptable and what are not. This is EXTREMELY important. There's no sense in making a pillowcase if they won't accept it. We're going to be very strict about this. Although it's easy. No flannel, no metallic. And make them bright and cheery. Yes - winter-themed or even Christmas will work as there are children who will spend Christmas in the hospital.

Go to this link to get the instructions for cutting and sewing. If you want to make some on your own and add to our stack, then do so. I see a photo op for blog posts, quilt magazines, the local newspaper. Let's make this BIG.

The more places that I find to use up stuff that I have acquired the more excited I get. This is why I accumulated a huge stash over the years. Now I can actually use it!!!! I didn't buy it to give it away as I've seen many people do. What's the point of that? I might as well stand at the door and hand out money to people who walk by. This way, we get to have FUN days as we use up our stashes.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day!!!!


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Sewing Toys

Even though I'm teaching three classes today (two one-hour-long classes and a three-hour free motion class), I actually feel like it's a "free" day.

Why? Because I'm the one in charge today! I'm going to one place, the schedule is already set, but I'm teaching the classes. It's not that I want or like to be in charge, it's well - I don't know how to explain. Plus the day is shorter - only 6 hours.

And the rest of this week has things booked but not solid days. I can hardly wait! And the best news of all? I get to go to the Guelph used book sale tomorrow. Check out the video on that link to see how huge it is. I don't really care if I find anything and while I would have liked to have gone earlier, I'm just happy that I get to go. I have my list of books that I'm looking for and then I look for anything unusual. I don't plan to buy much - it's just going to be a fun day.

Back to the last day of the meeting. It was an interesting session and even though I'd heard most of the information before, hearing someone else's spin on things  - well I picked up different things. But I was glad when we ended a wee bit earlier than anticipated. I helped to pack things up and then loaded my car with goodies. Lots and lots of goodies. There's so much to play with that I almost don't know where to start! The first thing will be to unpack those machines and start messing around. That's a job for tomorrow afternoon.

Then there's software to play with and I'm getting my Scan and Cut fixed later this week and that's a whole other learning curve. But everything is related and well - I can't wait to get started. Thankfully my schedule is starting to lighten up! I have a couple more events scheduled before the end of the year and if you live in the northern reaches of Ontario (Timmons and Cochrane) - I'll be coming your way in the next couple of weeks.

I've got quilts to design and patterns to write and I hope a whole lot more stuff coming down the pipeline in the next couple of months. Let's just say that there'll be no end of stuff to chat about!

I can't wait for the show n tell today at our North Star and Ultimate block classes. I'll be sharing those with you this coming week.

The pond was closed up yesterday. The fish are NOT happy as they are completely exposed now - all the vegetation is gone and the water level is low. When we got home last night, I glanced outside and saw this. The light was accidentally turned on in the gazebo. Doesn't that look pretty???? My little oasis is inviting any time of day or night.

The gazebo at night

If I have time this morning, I need to pop the remainder of the outdoor furniture into the shed and I MUST buy a cover for the BBQ this coming week. I've drained the outdoor tap for the winter so hopefully, that won't cause any water issues. I'm flipping paranoid right now about any source of water.

Yep, it's time to shut down the outdoors and stay inside and sew!

Speaking of the outdoors, here's a great shot I snapped when I walking the girls the other morning. It was so pretty and as good as my camera phone is, it just doesn't do justice to the sunrise that morning. That would have been amazing standing at the lakeshore which is a couple of miles away.

Gorgeous sunrise

Here's something to keep in mind as you look at your stash and have NO IDEA how you're going to make it go away. I was approached by Claudia from the Toronto Chapter of this organization that makes pillowcases for hospitalized children. What a SUPER idea and each pillowcase uses up over 1 meter of fabric. HEY  - that's a great way to use up your stash. The program is called Ryan's Case for Smiles. There's a pattern for the pillowcases on that web page. Pillowcases are so easy to make - it's what I teach when I do the beginner class.

Think seriously about your stash - if you want to destash quickly, this is a great way to make that happen. I haven't checked out all the details yet, but I'm assuming there are chapters in more than just one place. Get involved in your community and destash at the same time. It sounds like a great deal to me!!!  I'm going to have to look at what I have - I know that I've got loads of fabric that would make awesome pillowcases. And I could use that brand new Husqvarna Viking Amber air s400 serger to make the process even faster. Shoot - I have to teach a class today!!!! I'd rather be sewing!

Hmmm - I have THREE sergers at the moment. If anyone near me is interested in a pillowcase making day, Ill host a day just for making pillowcases. And if you can't attend but have BRIGHT CHEERY yardage that you could donate, let me know. I'm going to be picky - read the requirements on the web page - 100% cotton, no metallic, bright cheery fabrics!!!!  Must be at least 26" by wof.  I'll be happy to host a day so you can come and sew. No need to bring a sewing machine - I've got loads here to share. You might even get lucky and sew on the brand new Husqvarna Viking DESIGNER EPIC 2. 

Oh LOOK - I just scheduled a date - Tuesday, December 3 is pillowcase making day. Let's see how many we can make. And if you can't attend that day, why not make a couple and we'll send them together. Could we make 100 in one day????

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!!


Friday, October 25, 2019

The FLOOD zone

It would appear that we live in a flood zone. Before that, it was an electrical hazard zone. That was when it seemed that light bulbs burned out prematurely and electrical switches went haywire. All of the "faulty" switches have been replaced and so far, the light bulb situation seems to be under control.

The water? That's an entirely different story. I was in my meeting yesterday when I got a text from DH that there was no hot water. Hmm - that's not good. He checked the water tank which sits in the furnace room. There's a leak. Well, there's a permanent leak from the furnace (they "fixed" it last year only to have it spring a leak again). It's a small detail and I wasn't worried about it, the water just followed the drainpipe to the drain.

What kind of a leak? A big one. He sent me a picture.

We have another leak

Oh dear - this looks bad!!!  You can see the leak from the furnace and that's nothing compared to the leak from the water heater! Now there's a couple of silver linings to this story.

  1. The main water shut off is located in the puzzle room. Guess what? It used to be filled with a LOT of stuff and so getting access to that shut off wasn't easy. Well, I've got something to share with you on another day, but there was only ONE thing to move to get access to the shutoff. Now that was amazing news!!!
  2. Only ONE thing got wet. It was a cardboard box that parts of the longarm came in. It's currently drying out and I need to evaluate if I need to keep that box. I have two of them used for shipping the head of the long arm. I hadn't reached the furnace room to do any tidying yet. 
  3. We were home when this happened. I don't know when the leak occurred - it was sometime yesterday. There could have been a slow leak, but I was in that room on Sunday and everything was fine. 
  4. The water heater is rented and we have a maintenance plan. It cost NOTHING to replace. 
  5. The service was quick. DH called about 9:40 and got a service window of 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.  I think they came around 11 AM. And then they came in the afternoon around 3:00 PM and replaced the entire unit. 

We were extremely lucky!!!  I can't imagine calling the insurance company again! I still haven't completed the unpacking from the last time. This is the THIRD time that we've had a significant leak in that basement. I'm getting a bit leary. I feel like I need to check before I go to bed and when I wake up. Let's just say that I'm a wee bit paranoid. 

So it'll take a couple of days for that floor to dry out. And yes - we need to get our furnace maintenance happening for the winter and try to get them to fix that leak again. 

The floor needs to dry out

I do have a wee bit of stuff in the furnace room. It is next on the list once I finish with the puzzle room.

The scary part of this? That water heater isn't that old. I'm going to check the date that it was replaced, but it was less than 10 years old. That shouldn't happen. We never even got a reminder from them that it should be serviced, unlike our furnace which they've been nagging us for the last four years needs to be replaced.

Here's a picture of part of my design wall in the basement. The part with a quilt on it. This is the best part of my studio!!!!

The design wall

Another great meeting day. I know - I need my head examined! But it's all interesting stuff so it's easy to stay awake! And I brought some goodies last night that I'm super excited about. NO - I'm not sharing them yet. I will, but not yet. I'll be bringing home more goodies today. That's the best part of my job. Getting all those goodies to play with. But there's a price to pay. I need to be making samples. Lots and lots of samples. I'm trying to think up things that could be made (or ready wear items) that can be embroidered or embellished. I've got my jean jackets to do and I've got a couple of other items in mind. Anyone have anything they would like embroidered and might not want back right away??? I need a kid-sized jean jacket! I've no idea why I'm obsessed with jean jackets.

We had our Lilla class last night and I'll share that with you later this week. Ooops - I mean next week. I'm madly getting stuff prepped for tomorrow's three classes. I'm in good shape so I'm not worried about that.

As far as technology goes? Everything is fine. Except that my darn Fitbit won't sync to my phone. There's always something that doesn't work. I'm getting better at fixing things. This has happened before and I don't remember how I fixed it. I tried Googling it but sometimes there's so much "noise" when you do a Google search. They are going to have to be careful about that or a Google search is going to become useless. You'll have to do a Google search on your Google search to weed out the crap.

Here's one more pet peeve about searches. I HATE Pinterest. With a deep passion. Why? A LOT of what is posted has NO ORIGINAL SOURCE. So if you see something you like, you can't find the source. First off - that's just wrong. Secondly, it's a pain in the " you know what". Pinterest is like Amazon - I'll go there ONLY if it's the absolute last resort. I was searching for something the other day and I finally found it (Ronda was helping). But it took a long time to find the source of the item.

Quilt Market is happening this weekend. I'm having Market envy! I do wish I could be there, but I've got so much happening in my own little corner that I don't really have time to go. So I'll watch the posts from everyone on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the loop. And I'll be chatting to a couple of store owners and friends who are currently in Houston. I'll get all the scoop!!!  If any of my readers are in Houston, I NEED a picture of my Cherry Wood Challenge that's currently hanging there. It's the stained glass one!!!!  The quilt exhibits open tomorrow. Today is Schoolhouse which was always loads of fun!

On that note, I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!!!!