Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Father's Day is such a different day when you no longer have a Dad living. But - no matter - I had the best Dad in the world. Even when he isn't here, he is. I have memories.So, today I will celebrate the person he was and remember all the great times, teaching times, loving times.

In live in the house I grew up in. That means it is filled with Dad. The clock he made, The basement he finished. His tools. The rocking chair he refinished. I can't go anywhere in the house without some physical reminder of Dad. But there's more.
In the kitchen I remember the time Dad was in his brown hoodie looking out at the back yard and our white cat was sitting on the TV next to him. Both were just looking out seeing something I couldn't see. He was often deep in thought.
In the basement I can see him in his workroom making the bench for my loom because I happene to tell him about one I saw and liked. Or when I was younger, practising shots at the pool table.
In the yard, he's there. Mowing the lawn, clearing out weeds, practising his horseshoes. Everywhere I go, he's here.
So, Happy Father's Day Dad. Thank you for choosing to be my Dad. Thank you for all the wonderful memories that will stay with me forever.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Quilt - Mostly revealed

Godson and future god daughter-in-law (J&K) have seen the quilt mostly done at their party last weekend so I can post a few pictures without worried that someone they know will see it and tell them.

Before showing a few pictures, a little bit of back story. You may or may not remember me talking about BFF in past posts. Laurie and I were joined at the hip for much of our school years and that friendship remained until they day she died almost 10 years ago. At the time the boys were in their early 20s so were grown up but they are such special boys we've always stayed close. J's older brother and J have come to our groups parties and kept us up to date on their lives. I've been so blessed to have them around.

Back 10 (ish) years ago when we cleaned out Laurie's house I kept a box of her shirts thinking some day I would make a quilt of each of the boys. Time passed - no quilts - more procrastination - no quilts. You get the picture. Then J got engaged. Perfect time to make one of the quilts. And this is what I can show you some of the pictures of now.

Back about a year ago I started playing with design ideas. I liked this but the border didn't work and having the stars go all the way to the border just looked wrong.

At Christmas while talking to J&K I found out their bedroom would have sage in it so I started playing with the colors and changed the border. I also added some background between the border center. Much better! 

Liked the colors but tried some different ones. The border seemed too busy and the center stars were going to be paper pieced and time was running out so I simplified the center stars. Also, I kept playing around with the brown edging of the center piece. One thing that's so great about EQ7 (Electric Quilt 7) is the ability to play around with colors, designs and everything until you like the final look. Much better to do that on the computer than with actual fabric!

Then I found out more about their colors and the lilac changed to a green/sage and I made some other color changes. That worked. The stars around the outside are not the pale color but rather the centers are made with pieces of Laurie's shirts.

Design settled on - time to get fabric. I tried buying fabric from an online source and they were wonderful. However, I didn't read one small word in the background fabric description - flannel. OOPS! It was also more orange/gold than I wanted so I've got 7 yards of orange/gold flannel sitting around. The brown was more orange and the pale green was bright and slightly sparkly. All of them match but they didn't go with my vision of what I wanted. Off to the store to get fabric in person, other than 2 of the greens. Oh well, all the fabric was good and it will be used for something else, someday. 
Bert has discovered quilting and the joys of helping out. He loves when I trim up the blocks. The stars and snail's trails block were made by paper piecing so there was a lot of Bert goodies after each block was completed.


The pale color in the center stars is a fabric I had and it worked out perfect. It's pale brown, sage/green and pale-pale pink. It gives a little something else to rest your eyes on between the other green stars. The border (green leaves on the right of the picture) was one of the original fabrics I bought. It's actually the center background and not the outer border. The light green matched the light green of the leaves fabric perfectly even if the picture doesn't quite show that.

Here's the center before it got the green leaves added. Everything blends well and the blocks mix to create and interesting look.

That's it for now. I'll post more pictures when I finish quilting. The border is done, the binding is on. The center stars have been outline quilted. Things are starting to look complete. But before I finish the quilt - I need to head out and find a new outfit to wear next weekend to the wedding. Nothing like waiting till the last minute!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Typical Day

Since I'm working on a project I can't post pictures of (yet) I thought I'd show what a typical day looks like around here when I'm home.

There's usually a little TV watching. I never have to worry about being lonely because the Boys like to watch TV too, Sometimes near the TV like other pictures I've shown and sometimes they like to hang out with me watching TV.

What!? Did you think I was actually going to post pictures of me?
We also enjoy dining together. Of course there are times when I think we share a little too much when dining.
After dining the boys usually like to take a little nap. You'd think with all his fur Chief wouldn't get cold but sometimes he need a little extra warmth.
Yes, that's Chief's tail under the covers and partly under Bert.

Finally, there are times the boys think I need a little extra exercise and they like to create special obstacle course for me to get from the TV room to the bathroom. Actually, this happens quite frequently and I always have to walk between the 2 rooms with a shuffle to be sure I don't step on cats or tails.

Well, there you have it, a typical day around here. As you can see I'm never lonely and life always has new adventures around here.
Pictures of the project will be coming in a week or 2.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day - the big picture

I grew up with a great mother. She was a person everyone loved. "You're so lucky to have her as a mother." was a common comment. I'd answer back something about she was great but living with her could be a challenge. Mom didn't make decisions well, she was always cared for by Grandpa or Dad and never lived independently. That was one of the reasons she would tell me the story about Grandma warning her not to let me lose my spunk. Mostly I didn't.

What Mom didn't have, she tried to cultivate in me like "spunk". But there were things Mom did have that I learned from her. Things like caring for others, a solid belief in God, the importance of family and so much more. She started me young in being creative and saw that was something built into me and something that I needed. I made my first machine sewn thing (a nightgown) when I was about 8 years old but I was already hand sewing and knitting before that with the help of Grandma and Mom.

My creativity came from more than just Mom getting me started on things. I had a second mother. The one that gave me life. In a time when being an unwed mother was looked down on, she gave me life and then gave me a chance at a good life by giving me up for adoption. I thank her frequently in my thoughts for not finding some back alley doctor  so she wouldn't have to go through 9 months of people staring at her. I thank her for believing in giving me my life that I've enjoyed.

I met my birth mother when I was 25 years old. It was not one of the meetings like you see on TV where everyone hugs and becomes instant family or where the child cries and wonders why they were given up. It was a one time meeting where we talked for a few hours and never met again. I learned she was a creative person, had a son 18 months older than me, married and had a good life. We just didn't make a connection that needed meeting anymore. We both got what we needed: I saw who I came from and she saw I had a good life. It was enough for us.

There have been other mother's in my life including my godmother/aunt, my other aunt, my knitting mother (friend of family who owned the first yarn shop I worked in), my best friend's mother and so many more. Each mother has given me lessons in life and helped to make me the person I am today.

I looked up the meaning of mother in the dictionary and found it to be more than just the lady we usually call Mom. It includes:

to be the mother of; give origin or rise to.
to acknowledge oneself the author of; assume as one's own.
to care for or protect like a mother; act maternally toward.
So, today I celebrate not only Mom but all the other's in my life who have given their time, love and wisdom. I also celebrate the people in my life who have cared for or protected me, the people who have given rise to my creativity - my teachers, mentors and life guides.
Thank you all and Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dreaming big Dreams

The past few months Chief has really gotten into watching TV from about 2 inches away. As I said before Jimmy Fallon is one of his favorites. But - he also likes to dream big and watch his relatives in the wild. Chief loves Animal Planet and the big cat shows. He was very excited to watch the pride of lions and a dead hippo but I didn't think that pictures would be a good one to share here. (not into dead hippo pics)

I have big dreams too. Mine are currently revolving around getting the quilt project done on time and having it turn out totally awesome. Two big dreams.

Here's a little bit of the quilt but not enough to really show it off, just in case anyone is looking here who shouldn't be!

There are lots of the 2 different stars and the snail's trails and the darker green is part of an inner border. There's an outer border with other stuff going on. When it is finished and has been delivered I'll be able to show the full quilt. Until then this (and pictures of Bert buried in scraps) is all I'll be able to show.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quilting buddy

I thought I was going to get some trimming done on the blocks in peace.  I was wrong. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fixin' Slippers

I have a pair of knit slippers that I put on as soon as I get home. They're made out of "last forever" acrylic yarn and have a double layered sole. I've worn them forever and unfortunately, the outer sole has finally worn through. I decided a few weeks back I needed to fix the growing hole but didn't want to redo the whole sole. A plan had to be made.

The plan I came up with was to crochet a patch on top of the sole hole. It turned out working really well so I decided to share my ugly but effective fix with you.

First the slipper and its sad hole.

As you can see the outer sole was done in garter stitch which worked out well for my repair plan.
I grabbed 2 yarns from the junk stash and picked up the toe stitches with a row of singe crochet. Once I got to the end I grabbed the first stitch of the next row on the sole with my turning single crochet. Now, SC back across the first SC row. Turn an this this row I grabbed the purl loop of the sole with each SC across.


I repeated this 2 rows until I got well past the hole and for my final "grab" row I did a slip stitch and grab instead of SC so the end row wouldn't stick up. I forgot to take a picture when I finished so here's one after its been worn for a week.  The fix worked out well.

Chief still watches Jimmy Fallon every night.

March 20th
April 2nd
I could have taken the same picture pretty much any night the past few weeks.
Bert in the meantime has been helping me with a special quilting project. I'm doing it using paper piecing so after the blocks are done the extra paper/material is trimmed off, That's Bert's favorite part.
He also still likes to hang out in the kitty cottage when we're in watching TV.

So that's been our last couple weeks - work, quilting, knitting and getting ready to do some yard work when the grass dries out a bit from all our snow. This weekend was officially snow-out in my entire yard. Let's hope we don't get any more this year!!