Friday, June 30, 2023

In the gazebo with a book!

It's so good to be home! Yes -- I'm now home for at least three weeks -- can you believe that? I can barely believe it, and the even better news is that my commitments are much fewer this month, so it'll positively feel like a vacation! I'm going to be totally lost! 

OK -- that's a lie since I have some long-arm quilting to do, blog posts to write, articles to put together, plans for the fall quilts, and a lot more paperwork, but I won't have so much happening on the weekends. Yeah!

We all got up yesterday and sewed until lunch, and then it was the quickest pack-up ever, and we were out of there by 1 PM, which is the norm. What a great retreat, and I really am blessed with great friends. They have ZERO drama, just good chats and lots of fun! And just the indisputable fact of relaxing with zero pressure. That was the best four days I've spent in years! I barely walked either, so that was a total shutdown!

I got quite a bit of cutting done in the morning, and I came home with the lids fitting on both brown scrap boxes - who knew that was possible? 

The brown scrap boxes

I think it's easy to see that the one on the left is the unsorted box, and the one on the right is nice and neat. 

And here are the fruits of my labors. 

The cut scraps

I think I surprised myself that I cut continuously for 3 days. I would never manage that at home, but with great company and good conversation, I didn't even notice what I was working on. 

I stopped on the way home to get a geocache. Oh gosh -- I don't know if I can keep this up for one more month, but I'll try. I might have to get my bicycle out and use that to get to some close to home, but a bit far to walk to. I certainly HATE using the car for that in my neighborhood, so let's see how it goes. 

The best part about geocaching is finding these historic plaques or other oddities in places you've driven past countless times but never knew were there. 

Historic plaque

The worst part is standing on the roadside in knee-high weeds and grass, trying to find a cache and looking inconspicuous. That's a hoot! I bet people driving by just shake their heads and wonder why some grown woman is messing around in broad daylight in the weeds. But here's the log, so it was a legitimate find!

Signing the cache

One of the things we all agreed that we should do less of is be on our devices. I do not play games on ANY device. And I'm really trying to keep my time on Facebook and IG at a minimum. I like to see at a quick glance who is doing what, but I want to avoid watching countless reels or following clickbait, and I DO NOT care what people eat. So the less time spent there, the better. 

OH MY --- I somehow gave permission to a Hindu newspaper to send me notifications on my phone, and every day I get tons. It's the only site, so how do I change that? Great! I turned off notifications from Chrome, so that should stop it. 

What we all agreed to do more of is to pick up a physical book and read it! So I've been trying to read this book for months and have yet to get past the first chapter. So upon arrival home and unpacking the car, I got that book and my tea and was out in the gazebo. 

Relaxing in the gazebo

It was glorious, and even though I had many things to do in the house, I said they could wait! But there was a certain someone, who shall remain nameless, in my face like a dirty shirt. 


Let's just say that I had to hide the ball because, within minutes, it was INTENTIONALLY dropped in the pond multiple times. And if I didn't get it, she barked non-stop! Oh, Muprhy!  -- I love you, but have you not heard of a lazy afternoon? 

At one point, I tried napping but wasn't comfortable, so I popped into the house to nap on the couch. Only to be joined by Miss Lexi. Notice that her ears are perked up to hear everything going on, but she's pretending to be asleep! 

MOM -- I can hear you taking my picture!

But she is a cutie, so you can't complain about her, except that she is a princess!

MOM -- I'm beautiful! 

Then I got some ambition and went downstairs to see what damage control needs to happen this weekend. Hmm -- there's space to cut and sew, so that's good, and I puttered a bit to clean up some of the stuff from the week. I swear I took pictures, but I did not. 

As I found new homes for all those cut pieces, I was thinking that should I not come home one day, those cut pieces will be a jackpot for any scrap quilter out there! 

And in thinking about where to go with the scraps, this is what I did. I went through my patterns to find two specific patterns for scrap quilts that I knew I had. Hmmm --- that led to a couple more, and I think I now have 14 patterns for amazing scrap quilts. NO -- I will not share the patterns with you. You'll have to wait. It drives me MAD when I pull out a pattern to sew, and other people feel compelled to sew the same pattern. My new motto -- JUST SAY NO and keep some things to yourself! 

Searching for scrap patterns

So I'll note the size of the pieces, but I think I'm good with what I'm cutting and what I plan to further cut from those boxes, and my ultimate goal would be to NO LONGER have scrap boxes, but only boxes of cut pieces. That is going to take a TON of discipline to get there, but I have time during Monday sewing and Virtual Retreat to make that happen. It'll be nice to see all those scraps under control! 

And now that I have confirmed sizes in mind, anything smaller will be tossed into the pet mats. My logical brain likes a plan, and I'm now going to be a happy camper, creating an even more valuable resource. I'm still not 100% sure how to store them - by size for sure, but by color? Or don't worry about it and pull out what I need when I start to sew? As I continue to go through the boxes, there will be about 10 different sizes. I may start containers for each of the fourteen quilts and sort it that way. 

I'll do some contemplating as I work away this weekend. 

Having those naps and starting that book was not good for sleeping. I couldn't sleep, so I was up reading. Oops -- but no matter -- I have nothing on the agenda for today -- well, lots to do, but no appointments or anything, so I can nap if I need. 

On that note, I'm out of here! The girls are getting excited for their walk!

Have a super day!!


Thursday, June 29, 2023


AH -- you make me blush! But thanks for the comments about the scrap quilts, but I have to say that I'm HOOKED! That influencer - Linda!

Now here's the thing - I was NOT interested in precutting my scraps - not in the least. I had tried it in the past by cutting some fat quarters into strips and I was totally uninspired and I'll be handing that to Diane soon. But this? I now have a couple of patterns in mind and we had a chat last night and I now have a couple more. 

So are you anxious to see what happened? 

This is my cutting station last night before I went to bed. And let's say that it was late before I went - there were loads of comments and I did sleep in (until 6:30 am) this morning! WOW! 

My cutting station before I went to bed

I decided to continue to work on the scraps this morning, so I put the other stuff away. That leaves my cut pieces at the top of the photo, the scrap bits in the bottom left. Some odd bits in the plastic bag and one box of ironed and sorted pieces and ONE more messy box of brown scraps. 

Here's a close up of what got done. 

The cut pieces

That is HUGE and I can't be happier. Since I've had so much fun with this and I want to continue, but how to find the time. As I was evaluating my schedule, I realized that this is the perfect thing to do during Monday sewing days and the Virtual Retreats. I'm not good at sewing because I like to stay close to the computer. So guess what? I can put the computer on the cutting table and I can cut away! I love WHEN I find a solution to a problem!

There are a "few" boxes of scraps that need to be dealt with and last night I was introduced to several other patterns, so the idea is to look at the sizes of the shapes. NO -- I'm going the other way -- these sizes I'm cutting seem to be good ones, so I'm going to find or create patterns that fit these sizes so then it's easy to find the colors I need. 

Because my definition of brown - well, sometimes it seems that I used the term "brown" rather loosely in some cases!!!

OK - so when you look at those piles above, you're not impressed, but look at one of them from the side. 

A HUGE pile of scraps

Yep -- positively overflowing!

Another pile

All the piles are over the top of the containers. I should have brought more containers, but no worry - I'll find a safe place to stow them for the trip home and then I can dig out some containers or bags to keep them. Now I need to decide if I'm going to make a brown quilt or save these and mix them with other colors. 

The last pile of scraps

And here it is -- the entire result of my 2 1/2 days of cutting. Remember, this might not be the most productive environment to cut (loads of distractions), but that's OK. All progress is progress. 

The fruits of my labor

Now I have a dilemna - what am I going to work on today? As I said earlier, I will focus on this to get as much done as I can!! I can sew and putter on my own this afternoon. 

I know I'm keeping way too much, but that's the way my brain is wired and I'm organized so I can live with that. But I will go through the sorted bucket another time and this time I'll cut any strips into 7" pieces and I'll cut 1 1/2" squares. Then I'll seriously evaluate ANYTHING left and most likely toss it. 

But look at some of the stuff I found in the container. Seriously? Why would I keep this? That was a hoarding moment for sure!

A "useful" scrap - NOT

Thankfully, the next box of brown srcraps is not nearly as full as the last one, but I still envison it'll take several Mondays to get to the bottom of that. 

And I may keep a box for each color going forward or will I cut as I go? I'll have to decide that when I get there. All this to find out that one of the retreat goers is already doing this as well! I am BEHIND the eight ball! 

Here's the second container of brown scraps. 

The second box to cut

See the height of it isn't bad, but the top is still popping off. HEY -- I need to rejig my guild scrap presentation! And there was discussion of having a scrap quilt club in the fall to keep us all motivated. WAIT -- I was supposed to be cutting down, not adding! So as much as I would like that -- I will NOT be hosting a scrap quilt club in the fall. Find a time and cut your own scraps!

The box from the side

But cutting scraps requires stamina! So I had my own buffet on my cutting table. 

My personal buffet

The morning was consumed by chatting. Yep -- we've chatted loads and I LOVE having that time to catch up with friends. 

Then we went to the used bookstore so we could check out what they had. Look what I found! This is the same book that I still have at home and it's a GREAT book! 

The Vogue Sewing Book

I also found this one and I was tempted, but there was a note inside that this book is going for $65 US on the internet and I didn't think it was that valuable to me. It was printed in 1953. I just double checked this and it's way overpriced. I can buy it for $10 and that was the original price she had on the book! 

Singer Sewing book

I drove, so I wouldn't feel so guilty making them stop at a cemetery to get a geocache! How's that for being sneaky! I wasn't the first one to spot the cache so someone else has an eagle eye, but I knew that it was an easy one. 

The geocache

And as we were driving around the cemetery (too smoky for walking), we spotted this giant headstone with this huge story on it. OH my -- what an interesting character and this memorial was erected years after he died. We would never have found it, if we did not do the geocache!! So there is always interesting things that are discovered. 

Beautiful headstone

Hmm -- here's a mystery -- we cannot find anything about this guy online, but his story is very cool and it's all on his headstone. You cannot read this, but I took a picture and I'll try to post it tomorrow. 

So you want to know why I'm still geocaching? Well, it's the Virgo nature in me. There's a chart on the geocaching web page that shows which days of the year you have geocached and the idea it to fill in the entire chart. If you were good, it would take one year. But I've been geocaching since 2008 and there are still gaps, so I decided to fill in the gaps for June. And now I find out that the hard task for July is to geocache for 28 consecutive days. I goofed for June -- you needed to find TWENTY caches, but they did not need to be consecutive. Sigh --- I misinterrupted that one!

Well, we'll see what we can do and just keep on caching!!

On that note, I'm out of here! 

Have a super day!!


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Slow and steady

What a relaxing time we're having! It's so fun to be in a small group, so there is NO drama, no crisis, no over-talking, and well --- this is my favorite retreat! No need to name you -- you know who you are! We don't see each other often, so it's nice to catch up with family and mutual friends. 

Recently, we made desserts at the retreat optional, and so far, we've not had any dessert. Guess what? I do not miss it, and I feel better. So optional dessert is going to become the norm! 

I had a Zoom call yesterday morning, and then we had a quick lunch, and we were off on an adventure. Well, it turned out to be a bust! Our first stop was the bookstore. OH - closed on Tuesday. OK - no matter, we'll head over to Fabricland, just around the corner. OH -- it's closed. FOREVER! And the last day was on Sunday. OK -- so not to be discouraged, we had one more stop. And it was OPEN. 

Do you know where we went?

Red spoons!

How about now? In case you are wondering, that's my haul -- who cares about the others! OK -- so I did share  - a bit! 

Afternoon delight

Then we were back to the house, and I popped out to get a geocache, which was nearby. I did not walk as it was a bit far, and the air is very unsettled. Lots of smoke, and it rained on and off all day. I didn't bring rain gear, so I stuck close to the house. 

The shoe posts

The cache was here, and as I was getting back in the car, I spotted two ladies walking down the road. As they approached the car, they asked if I was geocaching. Yes -- they do not geocache, but they live right next to these posts, so they often see people stop. 

Oh -- I bet you are wondering why I am still geocaching. I'll tell you that story tomorrow. 

I stopped my scrap cutting to sew part of a project we were all sewing. We didn't have a pattern for the project, so at one point, we had to send an SOS to a friend to help out. And as usual, she came through with flying colors!! It's the SECOND time I had to request a pattern SOS from her! I'm going to owe her something! Thanks -- you know who you are, and we greatly appreciate your help. Three of four of the projects are done! Mine is still in the assembly stage, but I want something I have at home to finish, so I'll do the lining today and finish it tomorrow. 

But I had part of my project done and sitting on the table and imagine my surprise when I came back to my table to find this. My "friends" were using my project as a template and left it like this! But I still love them!

My project!

And then it was back to cutting. This pile of brown scraps seems overwhelming, and I swear it doesn't seem to be getting any smaller. It's like an archeological dig as I go through the layers. 

The pile of brown scraps

Here's my nice and tidy cutting table. My two bins of cut pieces are on the bottom, and the pile is at the top. There is still a lot of stuff going back into the scrap bin, but as I mentioned, there's loads of fabric in there for a string quilt and cutting some 1 1/2" pieces. I'll leave that for the next time. 

My cutting table

But honestly, there is a lot of fabric in those bins, and whether I do it now or later, those scrap bins will be good ways to sew up quilts. There is NO NEED to purchase new fabric at my house. The scrap bins could keep me busy for a very long time! So thanks to Linda for the inspiration!

I had a wee nap yesterday, and what's with the weather? Yes -- we have smoke, but the temperature is cool. I'm in shorts and well - it's cool!!!

It's time to get back to work. Everyone is still asleep but I've been up for a while and I would LOVE to get through that big pile of brown scraps today, but I really doubt that is going to happen! 

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, June 27, 2023


WOW --- it feels great to be away in a very casual setting and have great friends to chat with! Yep -- I think I'm in quilting heaven, and that's OK. 

It took a while to get here as I had to wait for my 1:30 appointment for the ultrasound. And can you believe I was almost at the clinic when I realized I had left my wallet at home? And my health card was in my wallet, and so was my credit card to pay for parking. DUH!! I didn't have time to go back, so I hoped that all would be OK, and sure enough, they had my information in the system and took me at face value. I will NOT do that again, and I truly appreciate the staff for letting me in. 

I guess I look like an honest person who makes honest mistakes from time to time. 

I needed a nap in the morning, and there was plenty of thunder and lightning, and the girls were not so happy. So I was napping on the couch, and guess who had to join me. 

MOM - we are protecting you - we are NOT afraid of the thunder!

Notice they were facing away from me. That's to keep an eye on intruders before they get to me! Oh, the girls are so silly. 

And then they jumped off, and one was on one side of the seat

MOM - I'm the right guard

And Murphy was on the other. It was quite hilarious to watch them. 

MOM - I've got the left flank!

So I am trying to get my projects organized. And I found this fabric in a project box. The original intention was to make a stack and whack from it. And guess what? I did -- I've made two. Now can you tell me why I would have this many more panels? Good grief -- that was in the days when I needed MULTIPLES of everything because MORE is better. I've learned (thank goodness) that MORE is BAD. 

Excess panels

So the question is, what to do with it? AHA -- I've now designated it for a quilt backing for the community project quilts. And there are a few bits and pieces in the project box, and I'm making up something as I go, and so far, it looks great. So hopefully, when I'm back home, I can empty that box. 

I was trimming some HSTs, and for the life of me, I could not find the others that I had trimmed a while back. AHA -- I found them sitting beside my computer. DUH!! There are days - but they were there to remind me to send an e-mail to someone! They are now all back together again. 

My trimmed HSTs

Oh -- you can't really see, but it was pouring buckets at this point. Needless to say, the girls were in the house. 

Pouring rain

Thanks to Linda, I'm now in a scrap-cutting mood. I brought some boxes of scraps here, and I'm going to cut. I also brought my sewing machine, but it's still unpacked. I raised the height of my table in the workroom to make it comfortable for cutting, and now here I am. 

My cutting station

I do not like precutting everything to shapes and have resisted for years. However, I've decided on THREE shapes that will work well. And I have THREE quilts in mind. So I'm cutting the first bits at 2 1/2" square. The second bit in the picture are 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" rectangles. So far, so good. That is for TWO different projects. 

Precut shapes

Then I cut 2" squares and 2" by 5" rectangles. Both of those are for the same quilt. 

More bits for another quilt

And so help me, this is what's left. Everything is nicely ironed and in a box. I know --- what am I going to do with this? Well, I'll have a second go another time, which I'm OK with. And I'll pull out the long skinny pieces for a string quilt, and I might cut 1 1/2" squares or some form of 1 1/2" rectangle, and then I really need to toss the remainder. But for the moment, I'm dealing with those specific sizes. 

The rejects (for the moment)

It's totally therapeutic, and with the quietness of the retreat, it's a blessing. There is ZERO drama, just fun and friends, and I love it!

This is the ONE container I've tipped upside down and dealing with. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to get done while I'm here. Yikes -- that is a lot of scraps. 

What needs to be cut

Then I had to cut a few squares for another project I'll work on here, and I brought a bag of Tula Pink scraps. I'm determined to get those things used up! I got enough squares for the project, and I have some yardage for the lining. Phew -- that job is accomplished. 

Squares for a separate project

I also bought some small bags of precut squares at a quilt show. Yes -- that one bag is cut at 1". I may or may not go down that road - I'll see how it goes when I make the first pass through the brown bins. 

Bags of squares

I'm not sure if I'll make a totally brown quilt or if keep those bits and mix colors? I'll just cut for now and see how it goes. So this exercise would be much easier if I cut those scraps as I go along. But I honestly needed to find a pattern before I could do that, and now I'm on a roll!

Yes -- I got my 20th geocache in 20 days. However, when I went back to look at the task, I think it meant 20 caches in the month, not necessarily on 20 consecutive days. Oh well -- it doesn't matter -- I did it!!!!!

My virtual geocaching badge


So I have one Zoom this morning, and then I'm free for the remainder of the retreat. I can live with that as I had to move this class from last week and this was the only time we could do it!

On that note, I'm out of here to resume cutting!!

Have a great day!!


Monday, June 26, 2023

Back in the saddle!

The weekend is over, and four lazy days of sewing are on the agenda for this week - I can hardly wait to get started! But it'll be a late start as I have my knee ultrasound at 1:30 PM. And that's OK -- it's a perfect excuse to be late for a sewing retreat! How long will it take to see someone to discuss the results? 

After the two Zooms yesterday, it was time for the Virtual Retreat, and I hadn't sewn for so long that I honestly didn't know where to start. 

But I had a helper, so to speak.  

MOM -- just catching a few ZZZs

Let's say that she came with baggage! That darn ball is with her always! Sorry -- I changed the ratio of the photos on my phone and forgot to change it back. Something I'm constantly reminding others to do! 

MOM -- did you see - I brought my ball downstairs! 


On Saturday, we finished up with our year-long scrappy class. One of the students is very prolific when it comes to making scrap quilts, and it's partially because she is PREPPED. She cuts her scraps into 2½" square and other sizes. Usually, I'm not a fan of that, but in this instance, it makes a lot of sense. 

So I went to my scrap boxes and evaluated the situation -- what could I easily take to cut. So I grabbed these two OVERFLOWING boxes of brown scraps. 

My overflowing boxes of brown scraps

It's time to deal with this mess. So I've got a couple of containers, and I'll be cutting 2½" by 4½" rectangles and 2½" squares, and they will go into their own container. Then I can start to use them as enders and leaders! As much as I want to "save" those scrap boxes for when I downsize, this is a bit much! I'm also taking two boxes and one bag of green scraps, and those need to be organized to make it easier to use for my 365-day quilt. And there's one box of beige scraps that I'm taking as well. So it's going to be a scrappy retreat! 

Before I did much in Studio B, I had to clean up a bit. The cutting table looked like this - not much cutting will happen until a bit of that is put away. I'm happy to report that HALF of the cutting table (all you see in the photo) has been stored back in its proper place. 

The cutting table is a mess!

I still have this tub of fleece to deal with. but that'll have to wait until I'm back. 

Fleece bits to sort

And that extra table is still sitting there, so it got a few things placed on it, and I'll have to deal with that when I'm back as well. A good part of that needs to be sorted for Diane, and I was hoping to get stuff to her before I left, but it'll have to wait until next week. 

More stuff to sort

Today should be the LAST day of my 20-day streak for geocaching. When I started, I didn't think I could do it, but here it is, the last day! This was the one I got on Saturday, which was pretty easy. As a matter of fact, there were TWO containers in the same tree! 

Two containers in one tree

The one yesterday was a bit of a challenge. It's somewhere in this photo, but I bet you can't find it. I searched for about 10 minutes and had no luck. Yep -- the people driving past in their cars were probably wondering why some grown woman was feeling up and down all those fence posts! I was about to give up when I went back and checked one spot I had not looked in before, and there it was. Number 19! I have to say there is a lot of satisfaction in finding these darn things. Many people go out in groups, which is fun, but if you have an eagle eye in your group, are you really finding the cache? Or just being part of the group that found it? I like to go alone, so I can honestly say I found it! 

There's a cache here! 

We've had some unsettled weather the last few days. OK -- admit it -- EVERY DAY is unsettled weather. But I got these photos on my way home from the mall. The sky was dark in front of me and behind me, but I didn't get caught in the rain! 

Unsettled skies

Unsettled skies

OH -- here's my Studio B helper again. 

MOM -- I know you're taking a picture! 

And there is GOOD news from Studio B. I managed to finish these ten blocks for my 365-day quilt. Seven were complete and had been for months, but three were missing some fabrics. So I cut and sewed, and now I've completed the blocks until March 10. A wee bit behind, to say the least, but that's my goal for the next couple of days -- get another 20 complete. 

Ten more blocks for the 365-day quilt

And the binding got put on my Wanderer's Wife, making THREE Jen Kingwell quilts DONE and one left to go. I'll be working on that next month - it would be nice to complete all the blocks, and I think there are three to go. None of which will take long once I get myself going. 

The binding on Wanderer's Wife

And on that note, I still have a few follow-up e-mails to send from some classes, and then it's Monday sewing. I did not make it to spin class this morning. Between my knee and the storm, I didn't get much sleep. I HATE when that happens as it throws me off, and I have barely recovered from last week's craziness. But it is what it is, and I'll find time for a nap in the day. 

OH -- I did work on something else yesterday in Studio B, but I'm not sharing it with you yet. It's been sitting on my sewing table for MONTHS, and I'm happy to report that I've figured out what to do with it and trying to use up all the scraps! 

On that note, I'm out of here! 

Have a super day!!!