Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Much anticipated is the imminent arrival of The Sailor Son and his lady.  With an hour and a half more until they arrive I realized I have time for a post.  How about that!

Evil Step-Daughter sent another photo of her quilt, now finished with the binding.  The recipient is going to love it!

I finished my four pairs of jeans.  I'm very pleased except the blue ones are a bit tight.  This body needs a blue denim with more stretch.  Sigh.  ;-)

I think I've figured out that all my frustrating sewing machine problems when making the first two pairs, striped and grey, were caused by the very heavy Guttermann topstitching thread.  The black and the gold threads are Coats.  Much better!!

A simple pattern with real back pockets, but faux fly and front pockets.  The soft knit waistband is a big plus in my book.

I also spent some time making a Captain America experience for The Viking.  He was thrilled.

 Even more exictement when we stopped, in costume, at Target for the shield.  He wore the outfit everywhere we went for two days and is looking forward to showing off for The Sailor Son tomorrow.

In anticipation of our visitors I've been doing some spring cleaning.  Always a chore is removing the pollen.  You could write your name on everything on the back porch.

The sandbox cover.  Ick!!

After a long session with the vacuum I managed to get most of it.  Of course I'll have to do it over again soon, darn it.  So looking good.....for now.

The water level on the pond is being lowered in anticipation of some repairs to the dam.  We've realized that not only is wind and water our enemy, but muskrats as well.  Nasty little buggers apparently.  The water has to be lowered four feet and this is how it looks at the moment, down almost a foot.

The boat is on the edge waiting to be used to go out and re-open the valve to let out more water.  The dam work is scheduled for next week.  It should be interesting.

Thankfully, not all of our azalea flower buds died from the cold.  I was so pleased to spot these starting to open today.  Lovely large flowers with that interesting leopard spot pattern.  Beautiful!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Yum and Yuck (sort of)

Just catching up with a few photos, kind of in order.  Sometimes I come up with a theme when I'm typing.  Yum and yuck is reaching a bit though.  Heh.

This month Bernina had a 25% off special on presser feet.  Yum!  I had watched a video on binding a quilt with the #71 Run and Fell foot.  I mentioned it at bee and Cathy was able to loan me hers to try out.  It works great, so I took advantage of the sale, and with practice I'll know what adjustments to make depending upon quilt sandwich thickness etc.

This sandwich was a bit thick and firm so I struggled a bit and only one of the corners is what I would call well done.

But it looks just fine when you are galloping by on your horse.  ;-)

I also made three more blocks for the Honey Pot Bee sampler.  The foundation pieced envelope blocks look simple, but were a bit of a challenge to put together.  I also made it harder for myself by printing song lyrics and a poem on fabric.  It was tricky to line everything up just so.

This is the "echo" block.  I decided using pink and purple would represent the yin and yang of The Tramp's and my favorite colors.

It's yummy colorful!

I take The Viking for a swimming lesson once a week.  He was thrilled with his new "'merican flag bathing suit."  "I love it because blue is my favorite color, Nini!"  At the same time we found a matching backpack on clearance to use as his own "gym bag."

I finished the biscornu I was working on as a swap gift for the March guild meeting.  I added a few crystals for sparkle and the recipient was very pleased.  I added a gift bag with chocolate and pretty pins.  Oops.  I didn't take a photo of my pincushion and gift bag which also included some pins and yummy chocolate.  The next swap is tote bags.  I can't wait.

We've had a bit of yucky cold weather interspersed with the warm spring days and this is what Maisy thinks of the cold.  :-)

The geese layed at least five eggs in a nest at the foot of our driveway.  Sadly a fox (we are guessing) thought the eggs were yummy and the nest is no more.  We've put some rocks in it's place to discourage them from re-nesting in the same spot.  It was kind of yucky being attacked by large and outraged geese each time I went to the mailbox!

We had several nights of below freezing weather which killed the flowers on many of the azaleas and has also killed the new leaves on several shrubs and trees.  Yuck.  I'm hoping they survive.

A St. Patrick's Day photo of Stardust in her yummy greens.  :-)

The Evil Step-Daughter in New Zealand has been busy working on a gift quilt.  She does amazing work, even with small children and large dogs underfoot.  Just fabulous.

The Sit-Down Free Motion quilter's Facebook group has a free-motion sampler tutorial and I've done my practice and filled in the first square.  Not bad.

 The Viking and I stopped at McDonalds one day this week while we were rushing around doing errands.  He saw some children at another table wearing their Happy Meal boxes as hats and glasses so he had to try it.  He also continues to enjoy dipping his apple slices in ketchup.  YUCK.

 I ordered some more Valdani pearl cottons for my BOM chicken project.  Yum!

 Some beautiful days have prompted walks with the dogs.

The pond is looking brown and yucky from the recent rains and scummy from all the pollen.  The dam end has been eroding at a newly alarming rate and a lake and pond management company has been contracted to fix the problem.  The narrow strip between the water and the expensive new road is quite squishy and large chunks of the bank fall into the pond after each rain.

Yesterday I was startled by the dogs barking frantically at the back door, rather than at neighbors, cars, delivery trucks, dog walkers and what-have-you out the front window.  Luckily I spotted the doe on the other side of the fence before I opened the door.  I hate to think what Crazy Maisy would have done to herself if she'd tried to go over the fence.  I know there are deer everywhere, but this is the first time I've actually seen one in this neighborhood.

The last jeans I made are wearing out so I'm making four new pairs for the summer.  The Bernina was giving me fits yesterday with the thick topstitching thread and it took me all day to get it sorted to our (mine and the machine's) satisfaction.  Yuck.  The serger was a trooper through it all and worked like a charm.  Yay!  Something had to go well.  That stripe fabric was making me dizzy too.  It was nice to move on to a grey pair.  Now for the black and the blue ones.

The Sailor Son flew out to California to his gal's graduation at Travis AFB.

They are now sending us scenic selfies from their drive across the United States to Virginia.  This is Hoover Dam.  They hope to be here by Wednesday.  I can't wait!

Oh dear.  That means I better finish up this sewing and then clean house!!!  Yuck!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Spring....with a chance of sewing

The weather has been spectacular.  Everything has been bursting into bloom.

Some bloom is finished already.  The Bradford Pear trees around the pond have turned green since last week.  We've had a heavy rain and strong winds this week.  Yesterday morning was very chilly, but not as breezy and I caught some nice reflections in the still water.

One of the girls found this photo.  It was taken around 1987.  That's ED with her very long hair on the left, then a friend, MD with all those curls, and the Sailor Son who would have been three or just four.  Hard to believe he was ever that small!  :-)

The Viking was very excited to have a new-to-him pair of boots for running around in our backyard.  Though we are constantly cleaning up, with four dogs it's just easier for us all to wear some kind of "backyard shoes" to keep any messes out of the house.  The paper airplane was given to him by one of the garage owners while we were waiting during my car's oil change.  The Viking was delighted and it was the Toy of the Day.

After everyone had been sick for so long it was nice to get back into the routine of having lunch with Nanny and Papa once a week.  Tuesday is "pizza day" and The Viking does like his pepperoni.  He also likes ketchup on everything.  In this case he was happily dipping his chunks of melon in it.  Ewwwwww!

This is my serger.  The poor thing hasn't seen the light of day for years.  I've carefully carried it from place to place safely stored in it's case and was relieved to find out it is none the worse for it.  A bit of cleaning and oiling and it works perfectly!  First thing I did was make a machine mat with a bag for catching the scraps.

I wanted to try out this pattern and ran to JoAnn's for some inexpensive knit to make a "muslin."  I need to adjust the pattern size as this is too wide across my shoulders.  I also need more serger practice, but it's wearable and I look forward to trying other versions with sleeves.  Very pleased!

While playing around with making the mat and bag for the serger I was trying to quilt the mat with the #4 stitch on the Bernina 720.  Oh. How. Awful.  When you stretched out the stitch to make a nice serpentine pattern it was just terrible.  See the bottom row of stitches.  All wonky and uneven.  I couldn't understand it, as any other Bernina I've used hasn't had this issue.  I checked in with a local dealer and discovered an update for this problem had just been issued!  I zipped up there to pick up the update and sure enough it did the trick.  It even added stitch #1396 to the quilting stitches menu.  So now I can use either #4 or #1396.  Very cool!

So just to prove it works, I dragged out this table runner that's been waiting in the to be quilted pile and did a quick job with some straight line and serpetine quilting and it was quickly done.

Other members of my quilting bee went to Quiltcon East in Savannah last weekend.  They generously brought back a few small goodies for me, not the least of which was this deck of Bonnie Hunter playing cards.  So funny!  Joker Bonnie says, "I said to myself: I need to do something besides sewing today . . . then I laughed and laughed."  I'm laughing right along with you Bonnie!

In 2019 Quiltcon East will be in Nashville and we are already making our plans to go!  In the meantime I have lots of sewing to keep me busy.  I started a short (six month) BOM from Lone Star Mercantile called "Here a Chick, There a Chick" by Bonnie Sullivan.  Raw edge applique on flannel.  Pretty cute.

I also have a biscornu to finish for a guild swap on March 16th.  It is stitching up quickly except for the metallic floss suggested for the dragonflies.  What horrible stuff to work with!  Now I know.   :-)