Monday, February 28, 2022

A mystery for you to solve

That was a CRAZY weekend! One class on Friday, THREE on Saturday, plus the Virtual Retreat, one more class on Sunday, and then Virtual Retreat all day Sunday. That's about 20 hours of Zoom in one weekend! Let's say that I'm getting my money's worth from my annual fee. And I saw a lot of familiar faces throughout the entire weekend!

I need to look at several other things to which I have a subscription and see if I'm getting my money from those. 

I think we all agree that the Zoom thing is here to stay. We had Nina from Germany join us yesterday and our friends from the US and across Canada. What a fun way to meet new friends and keep in touch with them! And I troubleshot an embroidery issue that Ronda had. I'm sure what we said went right over the heads of the others. I'm surprised that she could verbalize the issue so that I could visualize it in my head, and then I was able to explain an answer to her so she could solve the problem. But we did it!!! Teamwork!

I'll be sharing some of the pictures from the weekend over this coming week. I have a LOT of follow up to do after our Monday sewing class today. Posting photos, doing writeups -- ACK!!

I got an invitation to a meeting this coming weekend. It's been held on Zoom for the last couple of years -- this year, the invitation is in person. Do I really want to go??? The answer is, "I want to attend, but not really in person -- I don't want to drive there!"

I need to finish cleaning up Studio B as well. This is how it looked after I finished prepping for the last class -- mere minutes before it started!

So much for a neat sewing area. 

A very messy sewing area

Boxes of pattern strewn on the floor -- but I found what I was looking for. 

Boxes of patterns

The ironing board was heaped with samples. But that all got put away before I started to sew yesterday. 

Samples on the ironing board

And more stuff on the cutting table. The one half got cleared off, but the other half still has things on it! 

The cutting table got hit as well

I did bring out several small projects that I could quickly finish off, but then I decided to work on this. 

These are the blocks from my Farmer's Wife Quilt. There are 111 of them, and I randomly threw them on the wall. Hmm -- the values are pretty jumbly. 

Blocks for the Farmer's Wife Quilt

So I rearranged them, so the lighter values were in the center and the darker ones on the outside. It's not perfect but looks much better than the original version. 

Blocks have been rearranged

Here's the label I made a while back. Note that I taught this as a class in 2012. I finished the blocks in 2018, and my plan was to finish the quilt in 2019 -- look, I even put that on the label. I want to make a different label since it definitely didn't get completed in 2019. 

The label for the quilt

This project is one of my UFOs for this month. And I was worried that I bit off more than I could actually do, but I think it's doable now. I had stitched the name of each block onto the sashing, and I had to find the appropriate sashing for each block. It would have been so much faster to just add a sashing piece, but I like to make things more complex! 

I had to alphabetize the sashing pieces to make that job more manageable. 

Sashing pieces sorted alphabetically

And here's what it looks like when the blocks are together. It's very subtle, but that's what I wanted. 

The name of each block on the sashing

I was making good progress, and it's looking great. 

Starting to sew the sashing on

I managed to get almost HALF of the sashing done in the one direction. 

My progress for the day

It's hard to see in that picture, but the bottom seven diagonal rows are each in one piece. There are only eight more diagonal rows to do. Then, I have to make the sashing and cornerstones for the long sashing rows. Then borders, backing, and binding! I CAN do this. 

Almost half the blocks are sewn in diagonal rows

This UFO had got placed into Pandora's Closet. So I have actually removed ONE box from the closet, and it will NOT go back there! There's a lot of stuff in that box, and I'll be happy to get it all organized and put away once the quilt is finished. 

What's still in the project box

I didn't get any half-square triangles trimmed, but I found these in the box to sew. Like seriously?? How small are these? 

Scraps to make half-square triangles? 

They now reside in the scrap box. I mean -- there's a limit! 

The scraps are now in the scrap box

Two photos of the neighborhood. The speed cameras in the school zone are now WORKING. The original signs stating the cameras were coming went up in July, and they only recently turned them on. We work slowly in this city -- slow and steady! 

Speed cameras are now in use!

30 KM per hour is SLOW, and I imagine loads of tickets will be issued before people realize what this is all about. 

And can you believe that the house with the missing shingles is still missing the shingles??? We're not talking one or two -- we're talking quite a significant area on that roof. I can only imagine the mold and water damage in the house. I've told them -- I did my job. 

Shingles still missing from the roof

We had a water issue in the garage, and it turned out that when the new drainpipes went in, they put nails through the shingles. Once those nails were gone, I think our problem has been solved! Imagine a whole area like that with no shingles. 

OK -- so does anyone know what this device is? Carol found it at a thrift shop, and after much discussion last night, we discovered what it was -- but I want to know if any of you know. If you want a hint - it's an item from the kitchen. 

A mystery object

Well, it's going to be another super busy day. Lots of sewing this morning and then computer work all afternoon! 

So do you remember that video clip I posted about the weather a while back? Here's the link again. I swear this is what really happens. I keep looking at the seven-day forecast, and while it's freezing cold this morning - it is forecast to get warmer. YES -- PLUS ONE. That slight glimmer of hope keeps me going! And then it never comes! Watch the video if you haven't -- it's pretty funny. And it's minus TEN right now and feels like minus 18. Seriously? Aren't we done with winter yet? 

I'm off to spin class -- the last time I have to show proof of vaccine, so things are opening up and well -- the future is looking brighter. Not only will it get warmer, but the amount of daylight per day is getting longer, and it feels fantastic to look out the window at 6 PM, and it's still light outside! We will make it through this winter!!!

OK -- I'm off. 

Have a great day!!!



Sunday, February 27, 2022

Hold my paw?

Hello Jenny from Australia!!! She figured out the time zones and popped into our Virtual Retreat last night! How fun is that? It was Sunday morning for her, while it was Saturday night for us. Gosh -- I absolutely LOVE the Virtual Retreat. We get to stay in touch with our friends, and meet new people! And if you're traveling, as was Karen, no problem -- just pop into the call from wherever you are!

Yep -- those Virtual Retreats are here to stay! And so will the Monday sewing -- I can't help it -- if some of them want to go back to the physical in-person meetings -- I'm good with that, but I just don't have the time to pack up and go, set up, then sew for a bit, then pack up and come back home. Not going to happen for me for a long time. 

Well, let's take a look at the remainder of those UFO projects. 

Colleen has almost completed all the hand applique on this quilt called Fleur! That is a LOT of hand applique, but the end result is gorgeous!

Fleur hand applique

Dede is very close to completing her 100 Tula Pink blocks for the Samler. This extra pop of color that she has added looks fantastic around the blocks. 

Dede's Tula Pink Sampler quilt

Diane is working on Night Sky by Jaybird Quilts. The frames are on the blocks, and now it's time to assemble. 

Diane's Night Sky

Elaine has the backing and the binding completed for her William Morris snowball quilt. 

Elaine's snowball quilt

Jane is completing some blocks for the Border Creek Station sew along from a couple of years ago. In her wisdom, she thought that making 5" blocks instead of the original 10" would be a good idea! Never again! (so she says!) 

Jane's sew-along blocks

Kathleen finished off two quilts from a stack of churn dash blocks. Now you know how we say that a quilt is dog-approved or cat-approved? I think Hobo Kitty was pointing out that he wanted ONE of these quilts. That looks like a very possessive pose if you ask me! 

Hobo Kitty claiming a quilt

Kathi is in the final assembly steps of her Graphic Jam quilt by Sassafras Lane Designs. I LOVE this quilt - but I don't have time. No -- I don't have time!

Kathi's Graphic Jam

Look at those shameless ladies in their skimpy beachwear!

Shameless ladies in bathing suits

Linda used it to make a pillowcase. 

Linda's pillowcase

She made a couple of extra pillowcases for donation. 

Donation pillowcases

She took a stack of blocks and assembled the top, as well as quilted it! 

Linda's quilt top in the snow

PLUS, she got quite a few blocks completed for her Town and Country (365-day quilt) from The Gourmet Quilter!

Blocks for the Town and Country quilt

Sheila finished the blocks for this quilt, and it's now quilted and bound. 

Sheila's quilt

The back is perfect for her quilt

WOW  -- that's amazing. I just love seeing how much the group pushes themselves and each other to get stuff accomplished, although I did hear some grumbling last night that someone (not me) took on a bit more than they thought they could get done this month. It's good to push ourselves! I know she'll get it done -- she's just grumbling! 

I have a couple of things to share that I worked on last night at the Virtual Retreat. 

The first were these two table runners that needed borders. Hmmm -- is this on my list of 22 things for 2022? I better check -- if they are NOT on that list, they should be! 

My two table runners with the borders added

They now both have the borders on them, the binding is made, and I have a large piece of fabric for the backing. I'll have to quilt the first one, then piece the leftovers to make the backing for the second one. Yeah!!! These are leftover bits from a quilt I made a couple of years ago. The runners were on the current project table, and now they are in the "to be quilted" pile. 

Backing, binding, and the two table runners

I also finished one of the blocks from yesterday's homework. We had to make two identical blocks -- I managed to get one done for the class, and now the second one is done -- you'll see that later this week. 

And I decided to start clearing the ironing board of all those half-square triangles. So I pressed, then trimmed, then pressed and trimmed. I still have a large stack, but I hope to get through that today, as well as process some of the half-square triangles for the hourglass units. I put some of the units away before I decided to take a picture. 

Trimming half-square triangles

Then I need to layout my UFO project for this month, or I will be grumbling that I took on too much. 

And what's with these girls? They seem to have a love/hate relationship. They never sleep together, and they love to play fight and are totally jealous of each other if one gets a treat or more attention than the other. 

This is the closest I've ever seen them sleep together, and probably because Mom was sitting in the chair right there. This was after a play-fight session. 

Close, but not too close

And what's this? I'll hold your paw? Notice that sly Lexi has her paw on top -- she always looks so innocent, but who is really in control here? And Lexi was closest to me -- did you notice that?

Holding paws

Murphy is just a goof. I looked out at one point, and there she was - curled up in a sad dog ball against the house. She is on one of the rabbit's paths to move from the gazebo to the deck. Maybe she thought if she was quiet and hiding behind the bushes, she could trick the rabbit into complacency? Oh, Murphy!! 

Murphy hiding 

That dog is all or nothing. Fast or STOP! That's our Murphy!

Well, it's time to get moving! We have our first show and tell from Out of the Box this morning, and the homework is AMAZING. So much creativity!!! I can't wait to hear all the stories. 

Don't forget that after that class -- we'll start the Virtual retreat TODAY at 11:30 Eastern. 

Here's the link. 

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Why I love Facebook

I have accounts on several social media platforms, but I don't hang out that often. I know people frequently post pictures of whatever, but I post various photos of my girls and sometimes a project or two from time to time. But I mostly use social media for my classes - at least these days, and I use it to stay in touch with people in my life, but not close enough in distance or relationship to see what's going on. 

My brother's MIL is not well and likely won't make it out of the hospital. Her daughter just posted some pictures of her Mom, and while I never got to know her well, she is a wonderful lady and so nice to be reminded of all the worldly travels they took. 

And then I got a bit of a shock yesterday when I saw a post by a friend of mine, who I had met once, but we stayed loosely in touch through Facebook. I knew he was ill -- he has had ALS for some years and would post updates on things on Facebook. He also was an avid reader and would post his recommendations on Goodreads, and I loved reading his reviews and often read books he recommended. 

He was also an avid cyclist, and I remember asking him for advice when I was embarking on one of my long-distance trips. Several years ago, I made him a quilt with bicycles all over it. He said they hung it up in his room to view it every day. I got the nicest thank you note from him for it. He was such a gentleman. 

Well, you know where this is going. His condition has deteriorated, and it was time to say goodbye. He wrote the nicest note on Facebook to basically say goodbye to all his followers. He has chosen MAID, and I can only thank goodness that we have that option available to us. He made a choice to go with dignity or what dignity he had left. All the comments from his friends were gut-wrenching -- this was a well-loved and fantastic guy. 

But without Facebook, none of us would have been able to participate in his final years and get to say goodbye to him. So I say -- keep the staged stuff off Facebook -- who cares how many "likes" you get for a post. Use Facebook wisely -- it's a lifeline! 

He was also a brilliant man, and when he was first diagnosed, he proceeded to get rid of all his bicycles, tools, and everything else that he knew he could no longer enjoy. Can you imagine that happening to us with all our sewing machines and fabric? 

Rest in peace, Alan -- you will be sorely missed, and I'm going to have to choose my own books now! I wrote him that when we both cross the Rainbow Bridge (or is that just for pets?) that we need to go on a long ride together, but no hills! 

Anyway - enough of that. 

We had snow yesterday, and I had to take my MIL to the dentist. Of course, amid that darn snowstorm. The roads weren't too bad as the city was out in earnest, but I was more worried if I would run out of gas. OK -- so I like to live dangerously. 

My car has one of those calculators showing how many miles you have left in the tank. I wonder how accurate it is? This happens when you get below 100 KM left in the tank.

Low fuel indicator

 And then, on the monitor, you can see the countdown. I thought I shouldn't risk it below 35 KM! I know --- your dad told you to never go below a quarter of a tank. Well -- I don't care! My dad never said that! 

OH -- almost out of gas

I've never run out of gas before. Although I remembered years ago, DH got a new company car, and it had something similar. He was bragging about how accurate it was and how low he could run that tank. And BAM -- we ran out of gas! I have to laugh whenever I think of that story, and if that ever happens to me -- I'll never tell him! 

I put $70 worth of gas into the car. That's for 47 liters, so you know the tank was pretty empty. I've never put that much in my car, EVER. The price of gas here is $1.558 per liter. 

Here's an update on our group Virtual Walk across Canada. We're going to make it before the deadline of June 30! We're getting close to the Quebec/Labrador border. There are 21 groups ahead of us, but we're currently in position 72, which is pretty darn good considering that we are a group of 4 and none of us are runners. There are many groups with lots more people in them. We are the first little marker on the bottom left in this photo, and we need to go to the top right! 

Our progress across Canada

At our pace, we should finish by the end of March, which is one month ahead of what I had initially planned! Go team, go!!!!

Speaking of walking, this is Princess Murphy yesterday before our walk. 
MOM -- my paw hurts!!!!

Poor thing -- she hates standing at the door waiting to go out at the best of times, but with a sore paw? OH -- let's be a total drama queen and make it look way worse than it is. She was fine the moment the door opened. 

It does seem to be better, and she is licking it less, so that's a good thing. Thankfully, she doesn't even notice there's a pill in her food and gobbles it down! 

I spent most of the day sewing! I got all the sewing done for the three classes today, and for the most part, the presentations are done. OK -- let's be honest -- two are completely done, and one needs to be assembled!

Next week, I'll be tackling that paperwork to catch up on what didn't get done over the last couple of days. 

I swear this shoveling business and trips to the dentist with my MIL are time-consuming! And we have an easy situation with my MIL, as I know other people's time is much more consumed by elderly parents! I'll put that in my gratitude journal. 

Here's some show and tell from the second UFO group. OK -- this is totally weird -- it loaded the pictures in reverse order again!

Sharon is working on her 2000 Piecemaker Calendar and making excellent progress. The top is together, and she's working on the little bits of applique - birds in the trees, animals in the fields, etc. This quilt is STUNNING!!! 

Sharon's Piecemaker Calendar

Nancy is working on Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman. Here are her 16 foxes. 

Nancy's foxes

Morgan was quilting quilts and finished one and a half quilts. This is the half, which is on her bed, still with some safety pins in it! I LOVE that. 

One of Morgan's quilts

And here's the other quilt that she quilted. This is absolutely adorable, and I love how she customized the people, including adding her dog to the quilt. I forget the name of the pattern, but it's LEGO people. 

Morgan's quilt - DONE

Mary finished the applique on the fourth (of 4) blocks. Now she's in the process of hand-quilting the blocks. 

Mary's appliqued Dresden plate block

Liz got the top (without borders) completed on this Marti Michelle pattern called American Beauty. Gosh -- we did that as a sew-along or a block of the month at Cockadoodle, many years ago. 

American Beauty

Shoot -- I don't have time for the rest of the pictures, so I'll post them tomorrow. But we are really cooking up a storm in those UFO Clubs. So much is getting done, and many of these projects have sat for YEARS. UNTOUCHED!!! It's so nice to see them get resurrected and finished. That warms my heart, and when it comes time to downsize, I'll be thrilled to pass along a quilt top or two or maybe even a finished quilt. That will undoubtedly be a whole lot better than passing along a box with an unfinished project in it!

On that note, I have just enough time to walk the girls before the classes this morning. 

Don't forget the Virtual Retreat TONIGHT!!!! 

Here are the links for today and tomorrow. 

Saturday, February 26   --- starts at 6:00 PM  EASTERN 

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, February 27 -- Starts at 11:30 AM  EASTERN

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

See you tonight!!!

Have a great day!!


Friday, February 25, 2022

The money pit

Progress is being made -- I've got the homework done for the class tonight and working on the presentation, which won't take long. The homework for the weekend classes is mainly cut and ready to sew, and that's a job for later today. The best part of all this is that I should have ALL the homework for February finished and up to date with the Virtual Retreat this weekend. Then I get to start all over again next month! I have a bit of applique to stitch in place and some strips to sew together. 

But not before I make my Master TO DO list (March) for all the projects to keep me on track. I'm not out of the woods yet, as those extra jobs on the list need to be done, and I need to find time to make those happen. 

I finished one of my writing tasks, and the other one will take only a few minutes to complete this morning. That leaves ONE left to do by the end of the weekend. That is good to get that off my list of things to do and just in time since a new list of things to write comes up next week. 

Since what I'm sewing can't be shared with you yet, here's a couple of pictures from one of the UFO groups last weekend. I'm amazed at how much people are getting done. There are some overachievers, to be sure, but hey -- if the group motivates people to get the project done -- then it's a win-win, and they can move on to the next project. 

For those of you who think those UFOs will magically get done -- think again! 

Oh, that's weird -- the pictures got loaded in reverse order. 

Val finished a couple of blocks and got the quilt top sewn together. This is adorable!!!! This is an Elizabeth Hartman pattern

Dogs in Sweaters (travel themed)

Suzanne is quilting this Border Creek Station mystery quilt. The coloring is so subtle, but it's stunning. 

Border Creek Station mystery quilt

Susan finished this quilt top. The blocks were collected on a Shop Hop that happened in her area several years ago. It's stunning, and with the light shining from behind, it looks like a stained glass quilt. 

Susan's Shop Hop quilt

Shannon finished the quilting on this quilt, and it's even cat-approved! The quilt is called Belgian Lace. 

Cat approved!

She also assembled and started to quilt this project, which resulted from a class from years ago. 

Shannon's abstract quilt

Rose is working on completing the blocks for her Farmer's Wife quilt. 

Blocks from Farmer's Wife

Instead of only four blocks, she got eight done and is now ready to assemble the top. 

More blocks from Farmer's Wife

Maryke finished a couple of cushion covers for her neighbor. 

Cushion covers - DONE

And she also got half of this quilt quilted. 

Maryke's sampler quilt - half quilted!

Marg finished all the applique on this positive/negative quilt and got it put together. The pattern is one from  Wanda's Designs.

Positive/Negative applique quilt

Lucy is going gangbusters with hand applique on this project from McCall's Quilting magazine years ago. It's called Robert's Floral Garden, and The designer is Robert Callaham. She has two blocks done!

Lucy's hand appliqued block

Lucy's second hand-applique blocks

Kelly finished some Christmas placemats and a runner with piping on the edges. 

Kelly's Christmas placemats

Joanne finished the quilting, and this quilt is also bound. The pattern is by Sew Kind of Wonderful (curved ruler), and it's called Are we there yet?

Joanne's curved piecing quilt -- DONE

Heather completed this paper pieced project by Judy Niemeyer. Quilted and bound! 

Heather's paper pieced leaf - DONE

Gillian is working on her Nebula (Jaybird Quilts) quilt. Not only did she get Months 6 and 7 done, but they were stitched into their appropriate sections. 

Gillian's version of the Nebula quilt

Cheryl went crazy. She was going to complete the quilt tops, but her long arm quilter had time, and the quilts are now quilted and bound!! I think this first one is a version of a Hunter's Star. That's amazing! 

Cheryl's quilt - done!

Here is Cheryl's second quilt this month! 

WOW -- that's incredible, and doesn't it make you want to drop everything, get into the studio, and sew and quilt? Knowing that these UFOs are getting done is HUGE. I don't seem to be proceeding as quickly as I would like; but I've gotten more UFOs done in the past couple of years done than I ever would have thought. It's only because I am FOCUSING on them. Making lists and keeping them in my sights is so important. I don't have a list of all of them -- that would be overwhelming and counterproductive. That's why I add 12 each year to the list. 

Some of these UFOs are HUGE and can't really be done in a month, so we take baby steps and progress towards getting them done. I feel pleased about taking those steps! 

OK -- so here's the money pit story. I mentioned that Murphy broke a toenail. Actually, it split, probably because it was too long, and got caught in the deck. 

So I took her to the vet, and they clipped her toenail so it won't get snagged on anything. I should know how to do that, but I can't do it! She got antibiotics, just in case. 

Our money pit

The vet said it wasn't bad as it was still attached but split. Poor thing - I know she's not comfortable and not happy, but there's nothing I can do about it. 

A boo-boo

Let's just say that she's pretty subdued compared to her usual self. 

Sleepy Murphy

Of course, Miss Lexi was quite upset that she didn't get to go in the car! 

What about me? I'm a GOOD dog

And the best news of all? I managed to get a grooming appointment for Murphy! Yeah!! The groomer at the vet took pity on her and booked an appointment. 

I might as well just tie money in a little bag on Murphy's collar, so when she needs something, she can pay for it! She's a money pit compared to Lexi. Sigh.....................   Thank goodness she's cute!

And what's with the snow? Ooops -- I'm not supposed to talk about the snow. But things had just dried up, the sidewalks were almost clear, and we got a covering of snow last night. Nothing huge, but can't we have dry sidewalks for more than one day? 

Here's a QuiltCon Video to watch today. I think this is all the quilts at Quiltcon. Thanks again to Laura for suggesting this link. A great way to stay in touch with what's going on in the modern world for those of us who weren't able to make it. And you know what? A part of me is glad I didn't go. I saved a ton of money in travel expenses and buying unnecessary things; I didn't have the time, and well -- I'm happy to check out the photos online!

Don't forget the virtual retreat this weekend. Remember, it's open to anyone, and it's free. You can come and say HI or stay awhile and fire up your sewing machine and sew along with us. It's really just an open link to chat with like-minded people! Not scary at all. 

Saturday, February 26, Starts at 6 PM   Eastern Time Zone

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, February 27  --- Starts at 11:30 AM   Eastern Time Zone

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

Have a super day!!!