Monday, July 18, 2016

Fat chance

I mentioned last post that I had been spending time prepping a joint project for Mom and I.  Mom made what we call the "eagle quilt" about 20 years ago I think.  The pattern is in this book.  The "Star-Spangled Banner" now resides at my house and I've hung it for the 4th of July season.  

Together, we made a second eagle quilt in 2009 and donated it to the Capital Quilter's Guild Heritage Day Auction to raise funds for the guild and Military Missions In Action.  We were also thrilled to win a ribbon at the NC Quilt Symposium show that year.  Now we are making a third version of the quilt.  Mom doesn't sew as much anymore due to poor eyesight so she's declared this one to be her swan song.  Mom will hand piece the small blocks and work on the applique.  It will be my job to assemble all the pieces and quilt it.  Basically what we did the last time.

The Sailor Son and his boys visited for a few days.  I decided to surprise everyone and dragged out the dehydrator to make some fruit leather.  It was not a success.  Obviously I need dehydrating practice!

We spent a day at the lake in the sun.

At home the boys bounced back and forth between The Sandbox, the bedroom with the Lego, and the living room with the TV.  Five was fascinated with all my measuring implements and had a grand time measuring his brother with a tape measure.  He declared himself to be in business and tried to sell the clothes he had measured for.  Batman wanted his garments for free so this led to long negotiations between them and explanations from me that I couldn't give my work away for free because of time and materials.  It was lots of fun watching them in action.  :-)

My car has not one, but two DVD players!  I don't know how to work them, but the boys do and it's always a treat for them to watch movies as we drive around town.  It was so funny when Batman insisted on wearing the headphones over his hat.

The Viking didn't have sound, but he didn't care.  When his cousins are here is the only time the DVD players are used.  He was thrilled.

 The boys were fascinated with the built-in vacuum system.  They had a great time taking turns vacuuming.  I had an untapped resource!  They can come and clean house anytime.

The big treat on this visit was letting them use my sewing machine.  We went to JoAnn to choose fabric for pillowcases.  Look at that smile.  He was so excited.

The both of them were fascinated with everything.  The leftover scraps of fabric, pinning, removing pins, cutting threads, the presser foot lifter lever, the knee lift, to say nothing of driving the sewing machine!  So much excitement, so much pride.  "This is the best thing I've ever done Mimi!!"

Batman chose a US Army print with dog bones as trim.

And Five chose the US Marines print.

"Take another picture Mimi!  So the pawprints show!"  Five is determined that the next time he visits he's "going to make a whole blanket."  Oh me, oh my!  He always has big ideas.  :-)

 The dogs got lots of extra attention.

And cousins played.

On Saturday evening when they were planning to leave we had torrential rain.  I took this photo from the car as I turned into the driveway after a quick and very wet trip to see Nanny and Papa.  The road to the right is underwater and the water is higher than I've ever seen on our side of the pond.

They left after midnight when all the rain, thunder and lightening had calmed down.  The next day was such a contrast.  If you click on the photo you can see the big pile of debris on the standpipe and the pond is chocolate brown.  I think I even saw a tire floating in the pond!  Where in the world could that have come from???

 The Sailor Son is going to be stationed in Texas for a number of months so he brought his plants to stay at my house.  Before the rains came we spent a couple of hours repotting and refreshing the soil of many of our plants.  All the Spider plants, Thanksgiving cacti...


and some of the African Violets.  I have more to do, but we ran out of time and soil.

On Sunday The Tramp and I finished up rewiring the potted motor on the 201-2.  It's so clean and shiny now and the motor purrs.  

Today the weather remained very hot, no storms though.  There is Piglet laying on a hot paving stone in the noonday sun while I hung laundry.  It must have been like a stovetop.  Crazy dog.

I persevered with my garment making and now the four blouses are finished.  I definitely need practice with slinky type fabrics.  I'm so used to quilting cottons!

And speaking of quilting cottons I am so very behind on the 365 Challenge Quilt blocks.  I have to put some concentrated effort in and try to catch up and stop getting distracted by other projects.  Yeah.....right.  Fat chance.  :-D

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bright and new

We stayed close to home, but other parts of the family traveled to be together over the 4th of July weekend.  The Viking had a wonderful time hanging out with his Cousin Stardust.

All ready to go to the 4th of July parade!

The Sailor Son and his boys were there too.

The penguin lover finally got to see the real thing!

And he got to cuddle up with Stardust's guinea pig,
Mr. Squibbles.  Awwwwww.

The little kittens I made for Stardust were a hit too.  :-)

The Tramp and I had a quiet holiday weekend at home.  We were also taking care of an extra dog while The Viking and his family were away.  Patrick and our Ivy are not happy about loud noises and we had thunderstorm after thunderstorm, to say nothing of fireworks.  Poor things.

I arbitrarily decided it was also an ideal time to take the old Singer 201-2 apart and give it a full spa treatment.  While I degunked and oiled the innards and polished up the outside, The Tramp started rewiring the potted motor.  We did all we could then I cleaned up the mess and put it safely aside.  A few parts have been ordered so we can finish the job soon.

I also visited a hand specialist for some help with the osteoarthritis that's developing in my hands.  Sigh.  Getting older isn't for sissies.  Splints were suggested (and of course pills) to help protect the joint and ease the pain.  I'm having my doubts.  It may protect the one joint, but it certainly puts strain on others.  If nothing else, the things are darned uncomfortable, and the purple velcro does nothing to boost their fashion appeal.  But we will persevere.....for now.  At least until the next appointment.

The constant storms took a small break and Sunday was a gorgeous day with a breeze perfect for laundry.

It was quite hot, but just beautiful.

I spent a couple of days prepping fabric for a joint quilt project with my mom.  I never thought to take a photo before I delivered all the pieces for her part of the process.  Ah well.  A secret project then.  :-)

I finished rosette #2 for La Passacaglia.

The Tramp helped me figure out how to crop out the seam allowances and background in Photoshop and I managed to place the rosette photos on a scan of the chart.  How much fun it will be to see the quilt grow this way!  I have a few things to finish first before I can start a new rosette.  I can't wait!

The Viking and I were back together again today.  We spotted this beautiful creature in the garden this afternoon.  The flower is part of a butterfly bush I grew from seed.  ED gave her nephews, Five and Batman, some little plastic egg seed kits several years ago.  Some how I ended up taking care of them and this was the only plant to survive, and I'm so glad it did!

"I see you Nini!  You are very small!"

Then he turned the "renoculars" around the right way.  "Now I'm looking for butterflies!"   He's too funny.

I indulged in some garment fabric the other day.  I feel the need for something bright and new to wear.  Four shirts are in process.  The original one I made from this pattern, about a month ago, is the black one in the background.  I tore the sleeve a bit on a rough shelf in a store last week.  Grumble.  I fiddled with the pulled threads and some Fray Check and it's fixed well enough to get by.  Actually no one will notice but me, so I should stop fussing about it.  :-)

Friday, July 1, 2016

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.....

I really do feel that way after finishing this project today.  The Catch All Caddy is so sturdy you could carry rocks in it.  Cross my heart!  The pattern calls for Soft and Stable which is marvelous stuff.  I love to use it in some purse patterns.  For the caddy I bought some Pellon Flex-Foam which is not quite so thick and stiff as Soft and Stable.  Good thing!  By the time I was sewing on the binding I was sewing through the outer pocket (two layers of fabric quilted to Flex-Foam), the body (two layers of fabric quilted to Flex-Foam), the sides/bottom (also two layers of fabric quilted to Flex-Foam), side pockets (also quilted with Flex-Foam), and the bottom part of the handles which are tubes of fabric with strapping inside, folded double.  Then add the binding fabric.  GOOD GRIEF!

It was quite a wrestling match, but I did it!  Thank goodness for the larger space under the presser foot on the Bernina 710 and the even feed feet.  I've also made even better friends with my stilletto.  Once I got my head around the pattern designer's way of thinking I found her methods and sewing tips spot on.

So I survived to tell the tale.  This will sit on my cutting table to hold all my junk tools.  No fair guessing how quickly it will take me to fill it up with odds and ends.  :-D

Gardening in the North Carolina summer weather will make you stronger too.  As long as the mosquitoes don't get too much of your blood.  A few pots of vegetables are starting to produce, as long as I dash between the mosquitoes to keep them well watered.

And the weather.....oh my!  Check out those black clouds.  (click on the pictures to make them larger) We are supposed to be dodging storms this whole 4th of July holiday weekend.  Sigh.

And the bugs.  Have I mentioned the bugs here?  I'm still not used to southern snakes and bugs.  This chap surprised The Viking and I right outside the library door a few days ago.  It's huge!  I didn't know they had such things here.  A bit of research tells me it's a male Eastern Hercules Beetle, the largest beetle in the United States.  'Nuff said.

Then there is the matter of small people.  In this case The Viking.  As his mother says, he has turned into a "threenager."  Some days lately my survival is in question.   :-)

Good thing he is cute.  This was "I am a monster" day.  All day.

Storytime at the library keeps him entertained, for a few minutes anyway.

He sweetly allowed his lemur to "sleep over" at Nanny's apartment for a few days.

Always a comic.

"Are you scared Nini?"

The joy of a pizza face selfie.

If it's too hot or wet he works off energy at the mall while I sit and sew.  Never have I been I happier to have the mall so close to home.

Enjoying his "hot spoiled egg."

The park is fun too.

For both of us.  I'm sure each day we survive together makes us stronger.  :-)

I also survived some kitten making.  I can't survive real cats as I'm highly allergic, but these are the cutest darned things.  A great tutorial and I've made six so far.  They are a bit like potato chips.

(Yes that's my La Passacaglia quilt behind/under that kitten.  Rosette number two is in progress.)

Three kittens and and a plastic canvas carrier are on the way to Stardust in New Jersey.

Also a couple of sleeping bags for her stuffed animals.  I added a zipper to the original pattern so it's an exercise in wonkiness, but I'm sure the animals won't care.  ;-)

Will the world survive Amazon Prime is a good question.  I ask myself that each time I get a huge box with something very small in it.  I almost couldn't get this one out of the mailbox!  Normally the mail carrier would have put it on our porch, but on this day it was pouring rain so they wedged it in.  I'll bet going in was a lot easier than prying it out was!  

The box in the mailbox contained exactly one package of sewing needles.  On the left was the box from the day before which held something equally small.  What's wrong with a small padded envelope?  I feel guilty ordering small things.  But then again, I've ordered large things that come in equally oversized boxes.  It seems to me this kind of excess could possibly kill all of us in the long run.  :-(

Thursday was a happy day all around.  The highlight was a fairy garden workshop for children at a local garden center.  ED and I scrounged around for the container and some decorative items.  The garden center provided soil, colorful pot shards, rocks and moss along with a little plastic fairy.  I bought a few small plants.  The boys and girls were given a choice of pink or blue princess tiaras, and superhero or dinosaur masks.  The Viking was adamant, he had to have a "crown" and was very happy telling everyone during the remainder of the day that he was a fairy princess named Patrick (Patrick being one of his family's dogs).  We also sprinkled fairy dust (glitter) over the garden so he was hot, sweaty and glittery too.  So much fun.

I'll bet you wouldn't have guessed it, but I'm told the blue pinwheels are radio towers for the fairy and gnome.

They had to endure helicopter traffic overhead too.

Awwwww.  My little fairy princess for a day.