20 September, 2022

Removing Bricks

"Zippity Doo Dah" is all quilted, off the rails, trimmed up and ready for binding. This quilt measures 76" X 64" and removed 192 light colored 2.5" X 4.5" "bricks" from my precut scrap bin. That might sound like a big number, but I still couldn't manage to even get the top on the bin; it remained full-to-overflowing. I knew that I could do better. As I posted last week and the week before, the Potato Chip quilt took shape, leader-ender style, as I was piecing a different top. 
As of this morning the Potato Chip quilt (on the wall) is fully pieced and measures in at 64" X 80"; a good, usable size. This little endeavor helped to remove 640 bricks from the bin! I'm on a roll, and now, not to be defeated by my own scraps, I'm moving on to another design while still working out of the same bin! Yay! You can see the blocks on the table and how they combine; again, using light/dark contrast to make the columnar setting stand out. I was inspired here; this scrap quilt design showed up in my Pinterest feed and the time was right. I guess this must mean that I'm working on a series~ a first for me!
So, the brick removal continues and with any luck at all, the bin's contents will begin to dwindle. Another 4, 5, or 6 hundred and I should be in pretty good shape, at least I'll be able to place the lid on this bin and hear it snap shut! Oh, happy day!

Sew, what's next?
Life is Good!

15 September, 2022

The Best Diversions

We've had some diversions from our normal routines this week, the best kind, an overnight visit from these two. Since they're currently being home schooled we were able to take an active part in that and even added some enrichment activities as well! 
At break time we played a rip-roaring game of Sequence and took a field trip to a local park for some exercise, fresh air and sunshine; the weather has been absolutely wonderful this week, cooler temps with lower humidity. Sometimes a brief redirection from the customary is just what the soul needs; I feel confident saying that we all had a good time during their visit!

In other news; our little buddy, Hannes, turned 18 last month! He's grown more feeble lately and his little back legs have been slipping on our hardwood floors as he navigates. It's so sad; and scary. We ordered these "grippy" socks and they really seem to help! As you can see, they work for him to safely walk around, and turn, with no sliding or slipping whatsoever. He leaves them on just fine, and doesn't seem to mind one bit.  Honestly, I think he's grateful. We cherish every day that we have with him. 
The Potato Chip quilt has made its way to the design wall, it will need another row and finish up at 64" X 80" when it's all together. I've been shifting and rotating blocks daily as I size it up. This is a fun and fast project!
The Kousa Dogwood is beginning to put on a show with it's fall "fruit". 
The colors are simply stunning as they ripen. 
Life is Good!

10 September, 2022

How One Good Thing Leads To Another...

Have a look at the fast-accumulating Potato Chip* blocks that are appearing, L-E style, as I continue to set together the Stitching Kindness quilt. That one is currently residing on the design wall as the rows are being stitched which is why these blocks are currently occupying the design floor. I just love the happy, chaotic, scrappiness of this one. The original idea behind this leader-ender diversion was to empty out the 2.5" X 4.5" scrap bin. As you can see, even with this many blocks done, I've barely made a dent. ↓
Which makes me think that perhaps I need to make another one after this. Yep, I can see why this one was called the Potato Chip block; in my case, I can't (or shouldn't) stop at just one!

 Life is Good!

* See here for previous post.

09 September, 2022

A Cautionary Tale

So, I'd heard about a hardwood floor "refresher" product that claimed to restore beauty and gloss to hardwood floors. We have hardwood floors throughout our home which I've never had a problem maintaining through regular mopping and  cleaning; however, there are areas where the finish has become scratched and dull over the years from heavy use and traffic. One such area that needed attention is in my sewing room under where the ironing board normally stands. I keep the board against the cabinet wall when not in use and swing it out into the room farther when I'm standing behind it to iron, this action has caused an "arc" to be etched lightly into the finish. After ordering the hard-to-get new product (it must be that good, I thought), and waiting a very long time, it finally arrived! I read the instructions to the letter and even applied it with the recommended applicator pad, which I also purchased from the company. It went on glossy and beautiful, I hoped it wouldn't shine too much as it dried because I was only spreading it in that one section, in the middle of the room. I shouldn't have worried about that, as it dried it became apparent that it not only took care of the scratches but it took off all of the finish that had been there! I was shocked and incredibly disappointed. What to do now? Honestly, I could have spread acetone on the floor there and gotten the same result. The finish was stripped off and I was feeling ripped off. The manufacturer is covered as the small print states: "buyer assumes all responsibility for proper use, results may vary according to floor condition." So, the bottom line here, the cautionary tale, is this: "always test in a small section first, in an inconspicuous area", that's the rest of the small print at the very bottom of the label! Okey-dokey, I've learned my lesson. Two coats of polish later and another top coat of my customary, tried and true all-in-one cleaner/polish product* and the floor is beginning to look the way it should, it's coming back, thank goodness!  

Always read the fine print, my friends, always
I know that I will, from now on, that's for certain!
Life is Good!

* That tried and true product, one that I've used for years with great results, is Orange Glo. 

05 September, 2022

Stitching Kindness

Accepting the challenge that my small stitching group threw out there earlier this summer, last week I began setting together the blocks from Susan Ache's "Stitching Kindness" sew-along. As someone who has a deep love for all things red and white, this was an easy one for me to participate in.
The block sub-unit looks much like the Swiss flag to me! This one goes together in rows rather than blocks.
I stitched up the block sub-units and copied the embroidery designs for hand stitching this way, using a light box. 
This is how far I am as of today; I have almost all of the embroidery finished and am working totally from my red stashed scraps, the only fabric that I've bought for this one is the background setting pieces. I am using my all time favorite DMC floss: red #321. It will be SEW much fun for us to all get together later this fall to compare our finished quilts! I know that two of us are using all reds, but Quiltkeemosabe, who has an impeccable eye for color, is striking out on her own with an alternate colorway; I can't wait! The one thing that I wished I had thought to do is to have prewashed my red scraps, or at least soaked them in Retayne before I began piecing. I am considering soaking the finished top in a Retayne/water solution for color-fixing that way before I quilt it. Does anyone have any experience in using the product in that fashion? Or, would I be better off to quilt and finish it and then soak it as described? I'm really unsure how to proceed. Any and all advice is welcome!
On the other side of the studio I've loaded "Zippity Doo Dah" onto Snowbird and quilting has commenced. I've chosen "Flying Paisley" as the pantograph and am using a light silver gray thread to blend in with the chambray linen. 
This one has the very BEST BACKING fabric of all time! I had been saving this on the shelf for a long time and decided it was time to use it (I still have another 2 yards! 😉).
It's a rainy, gray Labor Day Monday here today; how are you spending your holiday? 

Life is Good!

02 September, 2022

Back to the Books

It's that time of year, the big yellow school buses are running and I find myself checking the clocks, once again, before I run any quick errands to avoid getting stuck behind them or in a traffic jam resulting from carpool traffic snaking its way out onto the streets around the local schools. This time of year always makes me smile and feel a bit nostalgic at the same time. Our grands are in eighth, sixth (2) and fourth grades this year! Anyway, I digress... remember those "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essays that were assigned at the beginning of every school year? In that vein: these three books consumed my last six to eight weeks. Knighton's book: Leave Only Footprints is nonfiction and, as a National Park lover, I thoroughly enjoyed his firsthand account of his travels to them. Backman's endearing fictional characters from his native Sweden grab me and pull me in, the author is a master of character development and storytelling, I just loved these two novels. It's time for me to hit the books again and get back to the library for something new. 
What's on your bedside table right now?
Life is Good!

01 September, 2022

Do You Wordle?

This is my latest morning routine: as the water is boiling for a cup of tea I pull up Wordle on my phone and attempt to solve the puzzle of the day. It's a great way to sweep out the cobwebs of sleep and jumpstart my thinking for the day to come. The best part of this is the ability to share the results electronically, I play along with our daughter and oldest grandson. Once I've solved the puzzle I "share", via text, how many tries it took me to successfully guess the chosen five letter word; and they do the same. Wordle stores one's statistics, too; informing the player how long your latest streak has lasted and even breaks down how many games you've solved by what they call "guess distribution". I knew about this game and had resisted for a long time but our daughter talked me into joining her and Mason. It's fun to compare notes and commiserate over the exceptionally grueling words together. It's one game a day, so it's not a huge time commitment; and, the way I look at it, anything that helps to keep the ol' gray matter functioning is always a good thing! Do you Wordle?

Life is Good!