Thursday, May 28, 2009

May Snippets

Basted (see the fun back!) and... I am machine quilting it myself it is so little. Using a walking foot I did double squares inside the green and then stitch in the ditch around the pieced squares and X's through the centers. Just have to decide on what to do in the border and I can bind it!
It has been a cold week - mid 40's straight through with wind. SB and I did ride the tandem bike over to the cove one day... here he is wearing one of Nana's headbands. My Nana died 11 years ago but her headbands live in probably just about every family members jacket pockets! Anyway, I for one really treasure the headbands - they fit perfectly under the bike helmets.

And today - for some reason he needed to spray paint this tube. And then a dowel to match. And then I had to figure out how to make some sort of spy scope out of the pieces. It kept him occupied for awhile anyway. Crafts are always good just so long as there is no spray painting in the house!. As an added bonus - he spray painted a flower gold for me - he was very proud to announce that I am the only Momma with a real GOLD flower! He is sooo cute!

Even though it is cold, we are spending more time outside. At least the flowers are out (these are apple blossoms). Last year waxwings came by the 100s to the apple blossoms and I am hoping they come back again this year. But what I am really hoping for is some warm (but not hot) sunny days so I can sit out in the sun - I am so tired of the cold. Brrr, enough already!

My mixer died month before last... a new one has finally been ordered and should be here this coming week. In the meantime - my baking has to be mixed with a wooden spoon. Banana bread fit the bill this week. When the new mixer arrives I have baking plans!

Here is a photo of 1 of 2 of my stray cats - Momma kitty. She has 3 kittens - 1 is black (like the father), 1 is a very fluffy gray fur ball - and this one looks just like Momma. Wild little spit fires! The other day the father cat brought a live vole to Momma kitty - interesting present. I hear the vet will be here June 3rd so I've got to call the stray cat association to borrow their cat carriers and at least try to capture up the 2 adults for shots and to get fixed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Sneakers!

Asics Gel 1140's to be exact. Ahhhh. Now, I know that these sneakers haven't had stellar reviews for long distance runners, but I just knock around the block (ie - NOT long distance runner!) and love my Asics.. Narrow through the arch with wiggle room for the toes. Love them! I did try on a more popular pair, but they were cut a little higher and seemed to rub a bit on my ankle bone. No thanks!
Here is a photo of ALL my shoes. Let's see... new Asics, old Asics (2100's - now demoted), Ryka's (my favorite walking around shoes), Reef slaps (you can get these at good surf shops and believe me - they are worth every penny - excellent arch support!) and my "dress up" Champions. Winter boots are already put away for the season. The Champions have to go soon - I am looking for a more comfy pair of "dress-ups". Maybe I am turning into my mother. She only wore sneakers. Certainly I scream "American" when I am in Europe with my white running sneakers. I do have a pair of Rockports over there for dress-up, but gosh, I love my sneaks! I DID have a "real" pair of shoes for emergency use- I wore them to a funeral this week and they are now in the goodwill box - never to return to my feet. The Champions would have been just fine... people are used to me always wearing sneakers! No more emergency use shoes for me!
I don't really buy alot of "new" clothes for myself. I love the bargains at used clothes stores... but I always buy top quality sneakers. And we wear UV blocking sunglasses. And UV beach shirts. And our winter gear has to be warm. And we need WINDPROOF windbreakers. Otherwise, I don't think I am really picky. Gosh, I've had most of my clothing for YEARS. Once I find something I love - I don't part with it easily... except sneakers which need to be replaced when worn. Although... in addition to my long awaited for new sneakers, I did treat myself to a new sunvisor hat yesterday. I like it because the underside of the brim is black to cut the glare, but the top of the hat is white to reflect the sun. My son got a drink bottle, plant for his garden and a Matchbox car. And we went out for lunch. Oh, and we had to replace his 3 year old kiddie pool as the other one just won't last another season. $16 for a summers worth of entertainment - a bargain... he just loves his little pool! A quick trip, but we did have a good time.
Shopping - always an adventure. We live 3 hours from the store, but yesterday was a beautiful day for traveling so it wasn't that bad. Here is a photo of my son... en route. He is sitting on the upper steps playing a little penny flute. He is NEVER quiet!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Knitted Goodness

My friend Adele knit me this super fab scarf. Oh my goodness, I love it! Can you see the beautiful pattern? It is alpaca. Anyway - tonight my community chorus is having a concert. I went last year and it was so nice that I am really looking forward to tonight's performance. I should be able to get there about 15 minutes before the show, but a friend of mine is going earlier and she is buying my ticket and saving my seat because last year it was sold out. Guess what I am wearing? The perfect item because it is cold tonight but the little hall will be roasting hot.
Oh - and just because I know someone will ask me - Adele didn't have a pattern... I wanted an open pattern with a shell on it and she worked this out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

On Hold

A phone doodle - I was on hold for a bit.

Apple and crab apple blossoms. Ink pen (not waterproof) and water color pencils (not the best combination!).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just For Me

I love, love, love my bike! I've had it for a few years and it is really the nicest bike I have ever had - complete with handy-dandy wire basket in the front for my extra layers of clothing, water, camera... and stuff. You know? See my mittens in there - it was 6C this morning when I started off (that would be almost 43F). And windy! I wear Nana's headband under my bike helmet - keeps the wind out of my ears. And I have a windproof fleece jacket.

I took some photos on the way back - my ride is pretty much right along the water and marshes. Absolutely beautiful!

2 hour rides - a few times a week.


Just me. Just for me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring Rain

Simplicity 3678
Spring rains bring... summer dresses. At least around here they do!
The weather here has been cold and damp with rain, rain and then some more rain. If it isn't raining, the sky is gray. For days now. Yuck. The good news is that the grass is getting ever greener, the leaves are coming out on the trees, the daffodils and tulips are up, the song birds have arrived in force (hundreds of gold finch, red finch, a blue finch!, humming birds, Baltimore Oriole- to name a few. Surely warm weather is right around the corner. And in my spare time I've been working on a new summer dress for myself.
Here is the line drawing. I am making View A.

Out of this:

The fabric is a really slippery knit - sort-ov like a swimsuit material, but it is so soft and cool to the touch - I just love it... even if it does need lots of pins and basting for good measure. You can drop it into a slippery pool on the floor, pick it up and it still has not a wrinkle. My kind of fabric - who has time to iron clothing? Great fabric for a trip... and paired with a cute jacket and boots this dress can do double duty right into fall very nicely.
The pattern is very easy! I basted the side seams and tried it on today - it seemed perfect so I sewed those seams. The sleeves are self faced - I already have them basted on - hopefully tomorrow I will get that step done. Then - only the hem is left! Easy does not mean fast though - I am not one of those people who can whip out a dress in a day. I cut the pattern 1 night, then cut out the fabric another night and slowly have been working on 1-2 steps at a time. The front was a bit fiddly with the slippery fabric, but I did it! It is taking all my will power to stick with this project until finished, but I am almost there. Next time around I will try View D which has an easier front and looks so classy... out of something a bit less slippery!
For a long time I hesitated about sewing knits because I don't have a coverstitch machine for the topstitching and hems (but I do have a serger). Well guess what? A $6 double needle for jersey does a great job! The top stitching is double so looks neat and the bottom is just your 1 bobbin thread and it does a bit of a zig zag between the top 2 threads - so you have your needed stretch. I'm not saying that I don't want a coverstitch machine, but at least I don't "NEED" one!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thinking Smaller

I almost always make bigger bed sized quilts. After using all those 1.5" strips on my courthouse steps... I thought - small strips and smaller sized quilts are a nice mix. And I got to work on this cute little baby quilt. The funny thing is that my son thinks his Momma has gone plum crazy because don't I know - I don't have a baby and this is too small for him to fit under!
I didn't have a pattern - didn't even really know what I was shooting for. First I made up 2 matching blocks, each 4 1/2". Then I sliced them in half and sewed them back together. Remember my very own comments about not using all small strips, I made a square in a square of the pieced blocks (they are 7 1/2") and then surrounded them by that fun green fabric. If you like to set your quilts on point - the formula for what size to cut the setting triangles can be found on Bonnie's website at . I have orange for the inner border and hopefully just enough of a 2nd fabric for the other border - I am almost certain I have enough... we will see!
Usually I like to make controlled scrappy quilts. I like to think out my colors/tones ahead of time in terms of either summer, fall, winter, spring colors. So - this is a "spring" quilt. The bright green of new grass, the bright colors of flower bulbs... I didn't use any purple or pink (although the border fabric does have purple). I tried to keep my colors limited because I knew that this would be a small quilt and sometimes fewer colors play nicer together on a small surface. I picked just yellow, green, orange and blue for the blocks and they had to be bright tones - so no "fall" colored hues made the cut.
Here is a mini collage of some of the fabrics, close up.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Missed the mark?

Courthouse Steps 56.5" X 66". I won't be adding borders and the binding will be hot pink. It is a good size crib quilt or nap quilt for a child as it isn't long enough for an adult. When my son was little I liked to put small quilts on the floor for him to play on when we visited someone - so this is a good size for that too - still small enough to pop into the washing machine often!
I wasn't sure I liked this one early on, but by the time I decided that - I already had time invested into it so I forged ahead. It isn't BAD - it actually has a bit of charm, but I only feel luke warm about it. Probably because it was ALOT of sewing for such a simple design - all those 1.5" strips. I have learned - when sewing with small strips - pick a pattern that also has bigger pieces of fabric or else you will be sewing and sewing and sewing. I might make this pattern again - but using 2.5" strips instead! NOW I remember why 2.5" strips are my favorite size!

I was trying to see what dark blocks on the outside with all light blocks on the inside would look like. Well - maybe a few lights made it to the outside edge, but we won't talk about them, ok?! I usually like things with lots of contrast, so using all lights in the middle is different for me. Every fabric was from stash - other than a few tiny cuts of yellow from Marden's for just a few more outside edges since I wanted to keep that all yellow.
Several of the fabrics I ran out of - and improvised. The purple "fix" is the most obvious.

The maroon one - I was just a tiny bit short - so added a very similar fabric to the end. Can you see it?
A flowery sort of panto with hot pink thread over the top should do wonders for this top?? I hope so.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Is there anything better..

Is there anything better than skipping Kindergarten to build sandcastles with Momma on an empty beach? OK, so it was a bit cold and windy, but we were there. Just him and me, enjoying some time together... away from the playground bullys and the repetitive classroom work which now that he knows how to read... he thinks is boring. We unplugged and went away for five days and have returned - renewed.

Take the time today... because time is fleeting.