28 January, 2023

Winter Stitching and other Happenings

I've been as busy in the sewing room this month as an active puppy will allow me to be! Never a dull moment around here. I've begun cutting out all the pieces for "Stars and Snowflakes" by Wendy Sheppard. 
The trial block is shown here, under construction. I hope to have this all cut and prepped to take along for stitching together at an upcoming weekend retreat. While preparing all the pieces for this one I managed to finally gather enough folded triangle leftovers to constitute a 9" block. I can't throw any of these triangles away, even the 1.5" itty-bitties! 
Yet one more block for the bulging, overflowing, orphan block bin. I need to get all of these blocks out and stitch them together soon! Something I keep telling myself. 
This donation quilt for a child received a mini Cloud Stipple quilting design to bring it to life. It's really sweet with the small character panels, and quilted up quickly; I really loved working on it. 
Augie has become quite the little sewing room companion. He sits in my chair with me whenever he can. 
He also has his bed and toys in here, which helps when I'm at the longarm! 
He's grown quite a bit in the past 6.5 weeks!
He thinks that his job is to prune all of our houseplants! The training is going okay; he's slowly learning. We didn't attend puppy class this past week due to a reported case of Giardia; I didn't think it was worth it to risk him being exposed, just in case. So, he's learning new things as a home schooler right now; first lesson: time out for tearing up plants! That's a tough one!
Speaking of plants; this beauty, an Amaryllis bulb Christmas gift, is putting on a show in the kitchen right now... 
... while these forced forsythia branches are brightening up the family room! A harbinger of things to come!
Our youngest grandchild finally had her "official" birthday celebration last week. 
They're all double-digits now. Sigh. I'd better hang on to our Augie baby as long as I can! 😉

Life is Good!

19 January, 2023

Fuzz-B-Gone

I have had one of these hand-held fuzz removers for 50 years. I remember where I bought mine, in the cash register checkout line, where they hang all those last minute impulse-buy temptations, at Osco Drug in the Tippecanoe Mall, Lafayette, IN, back in 1973 or '74. I worked across the hall at the Singer store in those days, before I was married. I really had no business buying anything on a whim, it was basically a hand to mouth existence in back then, which is probably why I remember this purchase, out of guilt. It likely cost less than a dollar; but, this was the hey-dey of polyester double knit everything, and it was just the tool that I thought that I needed at the time. It certainly did serve me well, saw decades of use, and always did a fabulous job of ridding sweaters and the like from pesky fuzz balls. Over time it slowly lost it's effectiveness, though. The plastic handle became brittle and cracked and the little de-fuzzer teeth either fell out or dulled to the point that the tool was deemed useless a few years back. I admit to being intrigued by the battery operated fabric shavers when they hit the market but have resisted, until now. I suppose my hesitancy was based on the loyalty that I felt to my old, trusty, fabric-comb friend; we'd come a long way together. 
On Tuesday this handy-dandy tool came to live with me. I had a stack of sweaters that needed attention and this sleek, two-speed dynamo cleaned them up in seconds flat, neatly pulling the fuzz into the receptacle in the handle for quick and easy disposal.
You can easily see the before and after on this knit sweater vest. The results are impressive. It's rechargeable and works like a dream. I'm happy with the purchase but I'll never have the same relationship with this whiz-bang tool that I did with that fifty-years-ago, checkout-line, defuzzer comb. Progress is a good thing, don't get me wrong; but in my memory that d.fuzz.it was all that, and always will be! 

Life is Good!   

17 January, 2023

Strings Attached

I've decided that for me, and my sewing room, this year will be the year of STRINGS! Back in the spring of 2019 I had my granddaughters help me to sort through all the strips and strings that I had stashed underneath the cutting table. We organized them into color groups. Sadly, that's as far as it got. Until yesterday!

I started with an idea and the low volume bin. I laid out the strings into manageable groups.
After stitching that group together, it measured approximately 24" in length. That was good enough- there's not a lot of planning going into this! The object of this is to empty this first bin and make room for something else, the next great thing. Waste not, want not. There are SEW many memories in these strings; long ago, otherwise forgotten, projects that I'm happy to recall, they warm my heart. 💗 I trimmed up the newly-constructed slab and cut two 5" strips, lengthwise, the called-for size based on what size blocks I'd already decided to build. 
Using the Studio 180 Diamond Rects tool I was able to get six diamonds for that many 5" x 10" sub-units. There was another lengthwise strip left over which will be saved for a strip-pieced border section. I'm going to try and use up every last bit of these strings. I have no idea how large this scrappy quilt will be. It will be determined by what's in the bin. The basic building unit will be the 20" pieced block shown at the top.  I grabbed the setting fabric for the side triangles off the shelf, this is meant to be stash reduction at its best! We'll see how this goes... sew on and sew forth.
Life is Good!

16 January, 2023

Growing


I've been trying to keep up with the Cream and Sugar block of the month at my LQS, class meets again this week and my stack of blocks is growing. We've been stitching two a month. These, eventually, will each be "framed" by a larger star block as shown on the pattern below. This is the book that we're using, by "It's Sew Emma". I chose very similar colors; the effect is soft and calming.

Someone else is growing too! Our youngest granddaughter turns ten years old today! We celebrated with her annual shopping trip to the American Girl store, it's become a tradition. Lynnleigh was so excited when we picked her up, she'd been waiting "all year"  she said. 😉
She's three in this first photo, either she's getting bigger 
or her Bitty Baby has shrunk quite a lot in the past seven years!
After shopping and lunch; Lynnleigh entertained us, and Augie, all the way back home!
Augie was celebrating a milestone, too; he turned 100 days old on Saturday!
Time marches on...
Life is Good!

10 January, 2023

Never Underestimate...

...the tenacity of a dachshund. 
This is reminiscent of the old song High Hopes: "Anyone knows an ant, can't move a rubber tree plant. But he's got high hopes..." In Augie's case, those high hopes and hard work paid off with some big toys (some bigger than himself!) that have been in there for years. 
Life is Good!

06 January, 2023

And, Just Like That...

... Christmas is over and, as of today, packed up and put away again until next time! I always wait until Epiphany, Three Kings Day, to take it all down. January 6 was my grandmother's birthday; she's be 120 years old today. She was the one who impressed upon me the importance of leaving Christmas for the full twelve days. When we lived in Puerto Rico we experienced first-hand the true festivities connected with "Los Tres Reyes", the three kings. 
Not unlike Christmas, Puerto Rico's Three Kings Day is a holiday rooted in religion that people now celebrate with social gatherings, food, and gift-giving. Los Reyes Magos, as the locals call it, is Christmas with a Latin twist. The concept of Santa Claus is left behind for Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar, together known as the Three Wise Men. Traditionally, the island (and most of the Latin world) celebrates Three Kings Day on the eve of January 6. The one thing that I remember most was how Santa evacuated the mall as of December 24 and was replaced with The Kings, the children waited in long lines to tell them what they wanted.  So, happy Tres Reyes to you and yours, however you observe Epiphany today. 
This precious quilt angel was the last removed from the tree today before storing it away. Isn't she just the sweetest? Given to us this year by dear friends, she'll always have a special place on our tree and in my heart!
One more donation quilt off the frame. This pantograph is "Double Plume" by Keryn Emmerson. 
On the stitchery front: I got the buttons added to the Vintage Christmas sampler making that a true "finish", as far as I'm concerned, and began this sampler of New Year's Day. It's always hard for me to write the new year in the beginning, can't believe how it looks in stitches! 
And, just like that... this little fella is thirteen weeks old, weighs four pounds and has outgrown his first harness! We got him the next size up, which he can swim in (!). His Puppy Manners and Socialization classes begin on Thursday. Our boy is growing up, starting school already!
 Life is Good!

02 January, 2023

New Year, New Goals, New Milestones!

Happy New Year! I've given up on any guiding words or resolutions for 2023; I decided that I didn't want to set myself up for any disappointments or failure in that arena. Instead I have set some goals, both short and long term.  With an active, growing puppy in the house, it seems right to set the biggest long term goal for this year as one that sees Augie growing into a well behaved and obedient companion. With a LOT of patience and firm, consistent, training we should be able to accomplish that nicely. He's already been training us, now it's going to be his turn. He begins classes in Puppy Manners and Socialization in a week and a half.  The plan is for him to graduate into basic obedience classes after that, as the year progresses. I've begun having him sit with me at the sewing machine. He's fine with that as he has quickly become my little shadow and enjoys being wherever I am. Even in the chair while piecing!

Leash training has been seeing good progress, he's less interested in biting the leash now and understands the concept of walking while tethered. One step at a time. 
Mr. G celebrated a milestone birthday during the "in between" week of Christmas and New Year's day. We were discussing this week how when we were in high school we were all  reading George Orwell's 1984 in English class. Politics of that science fiction book aside, we thought that sounded like such an outlandishly futuristic date at the time! Now here we both are, all these many years later, celebrating birthday milestones we couldn't even imagine back then, and ringing in a New Year that we would have only laughed about back in 1970!
I did accomplish a small quilting goal last week; another donation quilt pieced by the mother of a friend, for our son-to-be Quilt Ministry closet at church. "Popcorn" pantograph by Willowleaf Studios; it's one of my "go-to"s and never disappoints on any straight/angular patterns, I believe it is a nice combination for quilt tops pieced that way. I have another on the frame right now; one more small, achievable, goal. 
One more goal: I am looking forward to becoming much more
 blog-active again this year. 
In the meantime, I have my hands full. 
You know, it's referred to a "puppy love" for a reason. 
Happy New Year!
Life is Good!