Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Nine Down, Three To Go

OMGosh, I am finally getting back to stitching.

I wanted to sew.  Thought about it a lot when I couldn't.  Even bought new fabric.  That always gets the juices flowing.

Where was my focus? It really took me 2 days to get my mind to pay attention to what I needed to do. I read the instructions more than twice and still cut the wrong sizes from the wrong fabrics, then cut again. I laid out the pieces to form the block.  Stitched a few only to find I stitched the wrong sides together on a couple of them.  HOW DID I DO THAT?!? I thought I was paying close attention to the task at hand. Somehow before I knew it my focus was back.  The block went together easily.

This is the block for Lesson 9 of Kathy Shawl's traditional quilt class. The triangles are stitched on a paper grid.  I kind of liked that when I was stitching the grid. But in the end I really like just stitching squares into triangles without the paper.  But I like the finished block and like the fabrics I chose.

The pieces in my scrap piece box are slowly growing. For sure a scrap quilt is in my future.  The next lesson is a Dresden Block.

The one big thought I have after stitching this block is that I NEED a dedicated cutting table.  Not the dining room table.  Since lack of space is an issue I'm going to be working on an idea  to have a table that can slide under my sewing machine table that I can slide out when I need it. Maybe something like the keyboard tray on my computer desk.  I'll put Terry right on it!! LOL.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here's a Little Mystery

Look at this!  Know what it is?  Probably.  The mystery question is WHERE is it?  I was shocked.  More in a minute.  I'll give you a little time to think about it.

Life was on hold since July 2 until today.  My father-in-law is coming home today to enjoy the rest of his life under the guiding hands of hospice.  Boy did that decision cause a stir in the family.  Someone put it in my mother-in-law's head that he could go to rehab and that is where she decided he would go but failed to tell her two daughters who have been taking care of him day and night  during his hospital stay.  Since I have been reading my recently received Medicare Manual I knew that was not an option so I asked her to please talk to the case worker to know what her options ARE.  She refused.  So here is info for you.  If you have a terminal illness, your options are hospice or a nursing home.  Since they had not made provisions for nursing home insurance, she realized that Hospice would be the best for everyone.  We will all do whatever we need to do to make these next months as comfortable for him as possible.

You have no idea what can happen to landscaping when it is neglected for 3 weeks.  Luckily I am able to try to catch up.  BUT, the pond cannot be neglected.  We add water every day which helps to add oxygen to the  water and keep the algae down.  We also have to clean the filter in the filtration box.  Have you guessed the mystery yet?

I do the box duty since it's hard for Terry to get the filter out.  The box is about 1/2 full of water and contains a net that catches debree.  The pump pulls the water through a filter to catch algae then sends the water out through a hose to be recycled to the pond.  We keep another filter under the pump to be sure that nothing gets sucked into the pump to ruin it.  I usually reach down in the water to get that little filter out.

The other day I lifted the filter box lid to see a little face with a forked tongue looking back at me.  He drew back in the water, but here it came again when it needed air. OMGOSH!! I hate these critters with a passion!!  I closed the intake flap so water would empty the box.  I thought I'd get that thing!!  But the best I could do was chuck him to the side of the pond where he scurried under the deck.  OK, so I can't see him so I'm not scared...but I know he's out there.

When Terry was cutting the grass he saw one of his sisters and a niece snake out in the front yard.  We hardly EVER see snakes.  What the heck is going on?!!?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Life on Hold

I've talked about my father-in-law before.  He has battled one cancer or another over the last 8 years.  He is 92 and does not easily give up.

He was having trouble walking.  Actually having trouble moving his left leg. About 5 days ago he entered the hospital to find out that he has a tumor on his spine and his lung cancer has grown.  He would not be able to take chemo, but they are treating the tumor with radiation.

We go go see him in the morning for 4-5 hours then go back in the evening for 3-4. Terry's youngest sister spends the night with him taking care of him.  The hospital he is in was once, in our opinion, the best in the area.  However, it has been bought by a large corporation and it has changed a lot.  Our family is not impressed.

We can't speculate what the next few days will bring, but we will be there to see him through it.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Another Block - CARD TRICK!!

I love this block!!  I like the fabric I chose.  I enjoyed learning how to piece it, though I needed to concentrate when stitching the pieces.

As each lesson becomes progressively more difficult, I "get" something in each one.  I think I especially learned the importance of squaring each pieced block before stitching the rows. Yes, I know I should have "got" that from the beginning, but sometimes it takes me a while.

I think the next lesson will be about paper piecing, though I have not had a chance to read through the instructions yet.

The most difficult thing for me in this learning process is selecting fabrics.  I am trying to use fabrics from my stash.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Churn Dash Block

The good thing about making a mistake is that it is a lesson learned.

I remember that when I read through the class instructions, Kathy mentioned to be sure to pay attention to VALUE when selecting your fabric.

I remembered reading that....AFTER I laid out the completed pieces when I was getting ready to sew them together.  I didn't want to remake the pieces so I switched them around to get the "Churn Dash" motif.  Like Kathy told me when I posted it to the class blog...I won't ignore value again!!  My block is NOT wonky.  I don't know why I can't get a good pic of my blocks.  They all look crooked and off in the pictures, but in reality they aren't!  I probably need a design board but I have no clue on where I could put one.

The next class is the Card Game Block.  I have seen it called the Card Trick Block too.  I first saw this block when Cathy  (Cathy's Crazy by Design) posted the one she made a while ago.  I was so excited to see it is a block I am going to learn how to make!  Today, I will be looking for just the right fabric to get the next one right!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Traditional Quilt Class - Diamond Bars Quilt Block

Remember when I said I was going to sew everyday to create a habit?  Well, I gotta tell you the sun and pond call to me and you know what they say about the best However, when I do sew, I am uninterrupted and focused.

Here is the latest block I learned to build in Kathy Shaw's online traditional quilt class. I have decided and been approved to discontinue sewing mug rugs and focus on using the blocks in another way.  I'll be saving them to use on kitchen appliance covers and a table quilt.

My seams look wonky here, but they are straight in person.  I just can't get a great pic of these blocks.

After completing each block I think about what I learned in the class, besides how to cut and piece each one.  I check each cut for accurate size.  I stitch each seam with a 1/4" allowance.  REALLY, I DO. I have a 1/4" guide foot on my machine.  I stitch slowly.  But when it comes to stitching the rows together I have had to rip a seam or two to make seams match.  Even though I analyze where I made the mistake, it is not apparent to me.  But rip and restitch and it all works.  Brother.  As I was restitching I was thinking these little pieces stitched together with precision is just not for me.  Maybe larger blocks would be easier.  (these are 6")    But that is silly. The problem is not in the size.  After re-sewing the seam it all matched perfectly.  I had a supreme feeling of satisfaction. I guess I WILL continue on to the next class after all.

So, I sew on to the next task.  Learning to cut and piece a Churn Dash Block.

Do you quilt?  I'd love to here ANYTHING from you.  Any tip or comment will do!!  If you don't quilt, well you all know I love your comments.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Life Is A Beach...or....A Pond!

 Imagine a huge hole in the ground, lined in black rubber that also lays out around the hole which is really a fish pond.  That is what we started out with this year.  Just that black rubber with no landscaping around it.

We have tons, literally tons of rocks that we have collected since we moved here 40+ years ago.  I can't tell you how many times we have moved them over the years.  So of course, I started moving rocks to line the side of the pond, covering what I could of the black rubber.  Sometimes work stopped to give our Blue Birds the time they needed with their babies.  This is a pic of the female, either visiting the pond or maybe deciding if she should use this house again.  I thought it might be getting late for another brood, but I'm not sure.

Here is a pic of the same side of the pond, to the right of the area where that house is.  It looks much more presentable than the area where the blue bird house is.  I moved dirt under the rubber to create that island where the alligator is which created a small channel between the island and the edge of the pond.  In the early morning the fish swim really fast back and forth down the channel.  We have two frogs that like to sit on the island and keep the alligator company.  We have tree frogs too, but they are not usually in the immediate pond area.

The front of this picture is the opposite side of the pond.  I planted ground cover all along this side.  There is also a two seat covered swing on this side and the Indian is directly across and to the right of the swing. You can see the black rubber in front of the rocks.  We plan to fill this area in with smaller rocks and pea gravel as a walk area.

This area is on the right end of the pond.  We were originally going to put a water fall in here, but really it would have been so much more work and we decided against it.  My daughter bought us this little bridge several years ago.  As we were sitting in the swing enjoying our 90 degree weather, I got the idea to move the little bridge here and added rocks under and in front of it to cover the liner as best I could.  After I came in the house after placing the bridge I caught a pic of this chipmunk enjoying a view of the pond.  The green behind it are Rose of Sharon that will bloom in July and August.  I have elected not to plant annual flowers in the pond area.  But as a second thought, I might add a few pots of geranium for more color right now.

There are Iris and Day Lily planted along the fence that are not in bloom yet.  Also orange Trumpet vine his climbing on the fence.  You can see it behind and next to the Indian.  I can't remember when exactly it blooms, but it is pretty invasive so I have to keep it from going crazy where I don't want it.

We had a terrible and unusually cold winter two years ago.  We lost all of our fish, even though we had a heated air hole for them.  We also lost the pond plants.  Last year we went to a nearby lake and dug out a couple of plant to bring home.  This year we added 7 Water Lily.  Most have not reached the top of the water yet, but a few have and have just started to bloom.  I bought all colors at Terry's insistence, but this dark pink is my favorite.  Until the rest start to bloom, of course.

We often see a frog sitting on a Lily Pad.  Also, Terry bought a battery operated alligator a few years ago.  So far I have only found the head, which floats.  It usually hangs out in these Lily Pads and looks so real.  You might also notice a plastic snake I have added to the plants in the rocks.

This has been a really lot of work.  Our weather last year in the summer was pretty much overcast most days.  It always felt like it was going to rain so we didn't really feel like tackling the pond landscape.  My grandson Kyle helped Terry build a deck at the left end of the pond.  We just got a patio table and chairs for it.

This year for Father's Day, Laurie and Kyle bought Terry a light for the pond.  It kind of pulsates creating the effect of glistening water in the moon light.  It relects on the fence and in the trees above.  I'm sure if our neighbors have noticed it they are wondering what the heck we have over here.  I have never seen one before.

Its a beautiful and relaxing spot in the day. It's a wonderland at night.