Bored and lazy…sigh…

Boredom is, of course, a reflection of a lazy mind. And my brain is very lazy today. It’s a too hot summer day—I’d much rather be sitting outside on a normal hot summer day than in the air conditioning–and my energy level is near zero.

It’s about all I can do today to lift a needle, much less thread it and actually use it!

I picked up a few scraps and started to work on another little block and hated it. The background was fine–on it’s own–and the scraps were fine–on their own. Not so good when I tried to put them together!

That sent me on a search for some better background scraps. I’m a lot happier with this piece now.

I have so many of these little pieces now and most of them are still waiting for me to decide on beading or no beads. They are certainly fine as they are, for what they are. I simply need to decide if spending more time on them, adding more embellishment to them, will raise them above the level of ‘okay’ to ‘very nice’.

And my lazy brain is not up to that task today. Must be time to lie around on the couch for a while and read a book. Might even slip into a nap!

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Cousins Re-connect

Met up in Chicago with my California cousin Peg, with a plan to spend a few days doing family research. Spent the night and had to take at least one pic of the skyline. Nothing like a big city at night!

The next day we connected with our Chicago area cousin Bill. He has an old one-horse buggy from the family and it is just beautiful!

He also has this beautiful old car…which he admits he has not cleaned up and run in a few years!

AND he has a serious woodworking hobby!

Loved catching up with him and his lovely wife.

Then we spent a couple of days going to cemeteries and libraries and the old family farm sites. Found out we had a relative who was running a dance pavilion and got arrested and convicted, from not having the proper permits. Quite a local scandal, but it was during the Roaring 20’s and I think it was a time when people were looking to have a good time!

Our cemetery searches found almost everyone that Peggy was looking for, and maybe all that were ‘find-able.’ It helped that most of the relatives had big headstones with their names on them! I didn’t take any pics of those but took one of this monument.

I came upon it from the back and thought it was a tree stump with carving until I got close. It’s stone! Totally awesome!

There are some other cousins from my mom’s side of the family that I am going to try to meet up with on our way home. This could be a really good weekend for making family connections!

In any event, we have had a wonderful time. Peg had done so much research on the family that she made it easy to find any missing links. Better than that, though, is that she and Rick were great to hang around with!!

Spring Break Sewing

The grandson is on spring break this week and we are babysitting him every day. This is the extent of my sewing…

We have done painting and stenciling and made stamps.

We have done some household tasks, like replacing old shower curtains and a damaged mailbox.

We have done some necessary math, which is NOT his favorite part of the day.

We have also gone to the movies, which WAS his favorite part.

This is a great time for us and I would never think of giving up time with him in favor sewing. Nope!

Sewing will resume in a few days…thanks for playing along with me. Go find a kid and get a hug!

Spring and batiks–right?

My new stashbuster project was inspired by a photo that I backtracked to a free pattern. Now I know you all will want to know which pattern, so here’s the link  Kite Flight  by Robert Kaufman and it’s a beginner friendly, strip pieced pattern.

Easy to make the strip sets, of course, and I was eager to see how the actual measurements and instructions work on my machine, in real life! The assumption with jelly rolls is that the strips are all at least 42″ long and of course that’s not always true. It also assumes that your seam allowance is sewn exactly like theirs. The pattern cautions that there is not waste, which means ‘be careful or you’ll run out of fabric.’

I used my fast stitch machine and I know that the 1/4″ I sew on that machine is a scant 1/4″.  And I used the very edge of the pinked cut as my edge. And the instructions said to press all the seams open…………..fat chance! I am not going to spend forever picking open those pinked edges on a 5 strip set! I just pressed them out each way from the center strip. If it’s an issue later in the construction, I’ll figure it out and deal with it then.

It came out as a skinny 10 1/2″ strip set. If you are a beginner, and yours comes out a touch small, don’t panic! The next step is to cross cut into squares, so you make your squares the same size as your strip set. The objective is to make the square! If it’s 10 1/4″ instead of 10 1/2″, there may be some other adjustment needed later on, but for this pattern it’s more important that it be square.

I certainly did not mean this post to be all about the pattern instructions, because they are fine. This is to reassure you that perfection is not always necessary to achieve great results. And for me, the goal is to use up the stash, not produce an heirloom masterpiece! I quilt for fun, aim for precision and don’t stress over any part of it. My favorite quilt teacher said that fabric is forgiving and it’s a statement that I’ve lived by as I work with textiles.

Now, about that 42″ WOF measurement…so far, so good, by measuring carefully. But how to avoid panic and having to make more strip sets if these are short? I decided while I was sewing them together that it’s a scrap quilt. If it was short I was simply going to add a piece of fabric on the end and cut out the square. In a different situation, I would make more strip sets or seam the ends of the ‘short ones’ together to make large enough blocks.  (And that may yet happen!) I’ve only cut one set so far, but this is what I had left!

I hope all the other strips work as well! I’m eager to keep going on this one. It should be quick and I’m liking those strip sets, so I’m positive I’ll like the finished quilt.

I have to tell you once again, I am having so much fun working on these stashbuster projects! And getting an actual, useable end product is a big bonus!

Quilt on………………..

 

 

Busy days, sewing wishes

Yes, indeed, I’m wishing for sewing time. Even though I’ve done more sewing in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last several months, it isn’t enough! I love having time to play with my fabrics, to be creative and have no deadlines.

But there are often impediments to getting down to that sewing machine, like enjoying weekend hockey tournaments and going to kickboxing with my daughter. And, yes, I’m too old for kickboxing, but guess what? I can do it anyway. It feels good to exercise, even when I complain about it!

I’m making tiny bits of progress on my tree, and I’m happy with it. Stitched down my little branch and leaf pieces with some crazy sewing.

The idea is to simply get it attached to the background at this point. Additional stitch decisions will be coming, but step 1 is done.

My two big panels are sewn together and I’m thinking about a narrow strip of the stripe (say that 3 times real fast!!) across the top.

Nothing more will happen for a day or so. Monday evening I have to give a lecture at the Macomb Co. Quilt Guild and Tuesday is giving blood. Even though there may technically be time to sew, I find it’s harder when it’s interrupted time. Looking forward to Wednesday, when I’ll be back on my regular lazy retired person schedule!

Priorities

Making time in my studio a priority is not as important as it used to be. In the last couple of months I have started to feel really and finally retired. I am not looking for speaking or teaching jobs, but I wouldn’t turn them down!

I knew so little when I started!

Anyway, I don’t feel like I have to constantly be in production mode and if I miss some time in the studio, it’s no big deal. I’m thinking of projects that have lain dormant in the back of my brain for a long time and I’m trying to create in a more thoughtful manner.

My current project is totally laid out in my brain. I love when that happens—and I hate when that happens. Getting from the brain picture to the actual piece is not always a straight road.

It has grown larger than I thought it would be already.

My brain picture had it about 20″ wide but these projects make their own demands. It is huge and I’m not used to working with silk, so it’s a little daunting to think about quilting this part of it.

Practice pieces are not big in my process, but I thought I’d better try it out for this one. I grabbed several scraps and put them on batting and backing and started stitching.

No issues whatsoever, so off I went on the real thing. Spoiler alert: Nothing fancy was attempted on this piece! Simple straight lines are all that is required on this part.

Know what? Channel quilting is boring, no matter what fabric you are using! That’s all I got done on the project today, but that’s fine.

In my newly retired state of mind, spending the day with my hubby, going out to lunch, stopping at the bead store……….it’s all so good! Having relaxing days like this is what it’s all about!

And the studio will be there tomorrow…after I lunch and chat with a friend…and maybe do some local shop hopping with her…life is good!

 

This has been my week!

New flooring in my living room has been happening this week. I have furniture piled in my kitchen, my garage and some lamps are even upstairs! Everything is covered in dust so I have to clean it before I can move it back in, but the floor is done!

Before:

Looked good from a distance but it was falling apart. It was glued down so much better than the guys thought…it took them the entire first day to get this removed!

Day two was mostly prep and a start on installation of the new…

I started to get excited when the first few rows went down! And now I have a beautiful new floor in my living room!

Just need to get everything dusted and dusted and dusted…..and dusted and we can sit in here in comfort again!