04 August, 2017

Cleaner House, Less Time

My life has changed since I discovered Norwex, my house cleaning life that is. This is not a commercial. I receive no compensation from Norwex to endorse these products but I have to tell you that I am in love with them, this information is too good not to share. Using nothing but water and their Enviro Cloth and Glass Polishing Cloth on my windows, mirrors and glass surfaces, as well as my countertops, they are clean, sanitary, sparkling and 100% streak free. Seriously. No harmful chemicals anymore, no wasteful paper towels. The Enviro Cloth is spun with silver, bacteria won't grow because of the antimicrobial properties of silver. How did I not know about these until recently? Over the last few months I have switched, too, to their additive free, natural soap-only laundry detergent (1/2 tsp. per load, y'all; that's it!) and have changed from expensive, chemical-laden dryer sheets to wool dryer balls. Using the dryer balls has easily shaved a third off of every dryer load, timewise. I did discover that my lint screen was so deeply impregnated with the residue from dryer sheets that it actually held water when I ran it under the faucet! 😲 It took me some time and elbow grease to thoroughly scrub that screen clean, no surprise though, I have used dryer sheets for decades; now it looks (and performs) like brand new, the small amount of lint that accumulates sweeps off effortlessly. Not only is our house cleaner but it requires less maintenance now to stay that way. I could go on and on but I won't. I will let you discover the merits of these products for yourself. Look at the link attached here, find a Norwex consultant in your area and ask all the questions you need to ask. If you can't find one send me an email and I could possibly help you. Yep, my life has changed, my cleaning life is free of harmful chemicals and better because I am not wasting product, time, energy and paper; it's all good. If you have no Norwex you need to know Norwex!
Life is Good!

03 August, 2017

Testing... 1,2,3

I spent some time last month testing some blocks and patterns. I had not tried any of the "Cake Mix" packaged pattern sheets that Moda is marketing to accompany their 10" square "Layer Cake" bundles. I had received a free trial pack at QuiltCon, a "Cupcake", it came with two 10" squares of fabric, enough to yield two, 7 inch, "T" blocks.  The instructions are straight forward and easy to follow. One simply layers two fabric squares right sides together and places the paper pattern sheet on top of the stack. Following the stitching lines on the paper, stitch through all the layers and cut apart on the clearly marked "cutting lines" as indicated.

Remove the papers, lay out the stitched units and assemble the blocks as shown on the direction sheet. Press the blocks and trim to size. Voilá! There is little room for error here. Stitch on the line. Cut on the line. Perfect blocks. Every time. The paper is easy to remove and not at all a tedious task. You can find these Cake Mix pattern sheets at your LQS, likely anywhere the Layer Cakes are sold.
I tested out this block for a friend who had the pattern: "Feathers" by Margot Languedoc; this pattern is also expressly written for the packaged "Layer Cake" bundles but can work up easily from your scraps (as I did, above) or from purchased yardage. It is a sweet block. Would I have constructed it according to the written directions if I had it all to do over again? No. I would over cut the HST squares and use the Tucker Trimmer next time; but that's just me. I am sold on Deb Tucker's Studio 180 tools and use them whenever I can, they're that versatile. However, with both of these trials I was pleased with the results and would definitely make more.  What are you testing out on your cutting table today?
Life is Good!

02 August, 2017

Just Like That...

... July is gone and this boy is NINE years old already! NINE!! What? How did that happen?

He celebrated his birthday by swimming in the county wide championship swim meet on his birthday that very day. He did extremely well too, nine days post-op. 😲 His friends from his relay team shared a pool themed birthday cookie and a birthday sleepover party at his house later in the day. Our very talented daughter in law created the birthday tees for Mason's party. They were a hit!

She also created this adorable shirt for the birthday boy's sister. This was her right before the championship meet.
And this was Lucy Ann a few days later, sporting the hardware to back up her shirt's claim. She is speedy!!  Yep, and just like that it is August already. My life has been stuck on 'fast forward' lately.  I will catch up, I know that. It's all good.
Life is Good!

01 August, 2017

Teenager In The House

Our boy is thirteen years old today!
Just the other day I noticed that his hearing isn't what it used to be, 
then I remembered, he's about to become a teenager. That explains it.
Our human children didn't hear me when they were teenagers either.
Happy birthday, Hannes!
Life is Good!

17 July, 2017

Forced Expulsion and Other Happenings

Bear with me through this post, it has lots of photos and a weekend update too. This was my the state of my sewing room on Friday. Being banished from the studio has resulted in a change of pace and tidier, better organized spaces in other parts of the house; not necessarily a bad thing! I have to admit, just looking at the plastic drapes, floor cloths and chaos in my favorite room gives me a case of the jitters. But, the face lift will be worth it. Freshly painted wall surfaces, ceiling and trim will revitalize the appearance of the room and recharge my creative energy when I return.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.
So, late last week I tackled dresser drawers and my closet. The closet was a MAJOR undertaking. It was in dire need of cleaning out and organizing! I did not take a before photo. Trust me, it was bad. I organized from the top down. Shelves first, and then hanging items. At long last all of the wire coat hangers (how do the multiply exponentially?) are gone, replaced by cleaner and quieter plastic hangers.
I used the one year rule for identifying items to be donated. Some items had taken up valuable closet space for ten to fifteen times that! Of course, keepsake items have been retained. But, even with those were carefully scrutinized first. I was ruthless.
This was the final result. I thought I was done. Neat, tidy, organized. I felt like my clothes could breathe again, I know I was breathing easier having this task behind me, it had weighed me down for a very long time. Speaking of weight though, if only those closet rods could talk!
The donation bags ready to go. You can't tell relative scale here, these are 42 gallon bags. I "borrowed" the bags from my husband's workshop. They are "contractor grade" plastic, 3 mil thick, they're very strong and sturdy. It's a good thing because I filled them and they were HEAVY.  I am thankful now that those closet rods never buckled, in all truthfulness they've had the largest load lifted from them. Wow.
About the time I was finishing up the closet I received a desperate phone call from our daughter. She needed some help with Lucy Ann, our son-in-law was traveling and she and Mason were on their way to the hospital, he was in need of an emergency appendectomy! As luck would have it, our son was in the car at the time, near the Capital City. Uncle Kyle to the rescue. He picked her up and brought her to us.
Here's Mason after his successful surgery. It was a textbook procedure and he was on his way home (yes, HOME!) two hours later. His Daddy arrived back in town just before Mason went into surgery. The surgery, performed laparoscopically, plus an otherwise healthy young boy combined to make this procedure, in essence, one of out-patient status. This seems almost unbelievable to me. Twenty six years ago his own mother was in the hospital for three days when she had the same surgery; and she didn't get souvenir photos of her procedure to bring home! Mason not only has photos but stories to share too!
Meanwhile, back at Chez Goodneedle, little Miss Lucy Ann had a fun sleepover with Nana and Paw Paw and staged a perfectly wonderful fashion show on Saturday, modeling her mother's old prom dresses! These sparkly sequined dresses, a pair of rhinestone-studded sandals and her imagination were all she needed for a great morning of dress-up fun. We returned her to her family later in the day, she was eager to get home and check on her big brother. 
Yesterday after church I showed off my now clean closet to my son and daughter-in-law. (Yes, I lead a very exciting life!) My daughter-in-law, after complimenting me on getting rid of  all those horrible wire coat hangers,  graciously informed me that I was using the wrong style hangers for my slacks. She pointed out how this style (above) has the vertical posts to stabilize them for the weight of slacks on the bottom bar. I had no idea! A few substitutions were easily made and I was in complete plastic coat hanger compliance! Am I the only one who didn't know this?
All is well.
And back in the Capital City: Legos and a lap tray. Let the healing begin.
Life is Good!

05 July, 2017

Successful Binding

I have a few quilts with the binding attached and hand basted into position, they patiently wait for their turn at the finishing hand work. I have already explained my preferred method for attaching binding, but this post is focused on how to precut those binding strips for a smooth and successful application. Before I cut the binding strips I measure all four raw edges, add those numbers together and add another ten inches to the total for good measure. That ten inches allows plenty of room for joining the two binding ends together at the end. Using that final sum I divide that number by 42", the normal width of the selected fabric chosen and set aside for binding. That figure is the number of WOF strips needed to bind the quilt. I cut my binding strips 2.25". Multiplying the number of strips needed by your preferrred cut binding width will reveal how much total fabric you will need for binding. After I cut the proper number of binding strips I do the pre-trimming necessary to make perfect 45 degree joins without dog ears or second guessing where to sew the joining seam.
 I use the Creative Grid Quick Trim and Circle Ruler for perfect results every. single. time!
By aligning the 45 degree angle line of the ruler along the top of the strip and precisely placing the right edge of the strip along the corner line the exposed strip fabric can be trimmed away.

The binding strips can now be joined, RST, in the usual fashion, but without those pesky dog ears they line up neatly and sewing from corner to corner is exactly at the 1/4" seam line.

 I press all of the joins open revealing a perfect seam every time.
Once all of my binding is made and pressed I wrap it around a piece of cardboard to keep it neat and place it together with the quilt top until I am ready to attach it. Sometimes I even make the binding ahead of time and it's ready to go when I am. I hope you'll consider using this ruler the next time you are ready to make binding strips. Binding strips isn't the reason that I bought this ruler, however! I bought it because I saw a flawless mitered napkin edge hem demonstrated using this tool. Have I made the napkins yet? Of course not! But I can when I'm ready, I have the ruler!! 
Life is Good!

04 July, 2017

Turning Sunflowers Into Fireworks

I've been looking at my cookie cutters creatively. How could I use that sunflower cutter in other ways?

I could add fireworks for the 4th! Wishing you all a safe and happy celebration today.

Happy Independence Day!
Life is Good!