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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Temperature Afghan Update

Some of my Blog Buddies have asked how this afghan is going.  I can't believe that May flew by and I didn't post an update. Now here it is the middle of June already and I haven't posted the May progress report.

Here it is.  Six months of stitching a row a day.  I am so excited that the two yellow shades (70 degree weather) and the ORANGE!! (80 degree weather) have been added. I've been adding a lot of orange in  June!!

So far this has been a great summer with lots of sunny days. For Terry and I the sun is empowering.  Getting up on a sunny day gets the juices flowing and we are busy all day outside.  Lots of things are getting done that we neglected last year, which was warm, but cloudy all the time. This year, even though it's been hot, we haven't had a lot of humidity and there is a nice breeze blowing most days.  My youngest grandson who is 19 comes over about 2 days a week to spend the day with us and usually helps doing things that Terry needs help with.

How is YOUR summer (or winter) shaping up? How are you spending your days? Any big projects going on?  Will you go away for a vacation?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Traditional Quilt Class Task #4 Completed

This is the second pattern block (Task #4) that I completed for the on line class that Kathy Shaw is conducting. It looks wonky here but it really isn't.

It is 1/4 inch smaller than it is supposed to be, I looked to see what I did to make it wrong.  This is a great learning experience for me.  I suspect that most of the issue with this block was caused when I "pressed the seams on the three stip piece that was cut into small pieces.  I "ironed" rather than "pressed" the seams.

I gave the first mug rug I made to my sister-in-law Marcella.

I made two of these mug rugs for my other sister-in-law Sharon.  See the cats?  You might think she loves cats.  Well, I guess she probably DOES.  Sharon and her husband live in our neighborhood, as most of the DeLater's do.  For years Sharon has fed feral cats.  She also takes them to the vet to have them neutered.  She has  taken two into her home to be inside cats, though I have never seen them.  NO ONE has, except Glenn and Sharon.  Those cats hide as soon as someone comes to the door.  Sharon always has cute cat stories to tell us. I know she is going to love these mug rugs.

So far, I am loving learning how pieces to create blocks are created.  My slow start on new Tasks is cutting procrastination.  Not that I am scared to cut, I do need quiet time to do it which can be hard to come by in my house!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Denial Is A Dirty Word

If you have followed my blog for a while, you might remember that Terry's niece beat her battle with Cancer.  She went through hell.  I never shared the depth of her story of a doctor that prescribed an incorrect treatment that almost killed her and was destroying her heart.  Luckily she consulted another doctor and she is now cancer free.

So after all that, you would think that when her mother Marcella (Terry's sister) discovered last October a lump under her arm she would have rushed to the doctor to have it checked out.  No.  I guess that is where denial comes in.

Marcella has been through a lot in the last three  years.  Her husband suffered a heart attack and died while shoveling snow three winters ago.  Last year her daughter went through cancer treatment. Last year Terry's father discovered three cancer's and has had treatment.  Even though he was given three months to live he has been fighting and surviving.

The lump under Marcella's arm continued to grow and she finally broke down and saw a doctor.  I'll skip forward in the story to what is currently going on. When they diagnosed the cancer about 5 weeks ago, it was determined to be Stage II.  From then to today it is Stage IV.  Her cancer is fast growing and aggressive. Two lumps in her breast that spread to her lymph nodes.  Now they found the breast cancer has spread to her lungs.  They say it is not lung cancer, but that her cancer is the kind that travels and hides and waits to grow.  The cancer on her lung cannot be killed.  It can only be stopped from growing.  She will have to continually have CT scans to be sure it does not travels to her kidneys, liver or stomach or anywhere else.  She is having chemo to stop it from growing and will then have surgery.

I can't tell you how much I love Marcella.  She became so special to me when she helped me through the worst time of my life when most of Terry's family abandoned or ignored me.

Please don't be in denial.  Don't even get to that point.  BE PROACTIVE.  Get the tests before you suspect.  So many people love you so much.  Maybe even a few care more than you could suspect.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mother Nature Love Me!!

I'm telling you, I am truly blessed!!  What now, you say?  What the heck is that a picture of?

Well, let me tell you!! Many years least 20 I bet, we used to see Orioles flying in the air and wonder where their nest was.  I read that they liked to make a nest high in the trees.  We began seeing them at our pond.  Then we occasionally saw them at our feeders.  I began to put out what I read would attract them.  Got a feeder and syrup.  Put out orange halves.  Nope, occasional sightings but no regular visits.

When I put the Hummer feeder out this year, who do you think was the first visitor?  Yup, a beautiful male Oriole.  He liked the orange flavored suet too. And there he was eating from the sliced oranges.  He brought his wife too.

Then we saw young ones at the feeders and taking baths in the puddles at the pond.

My best view of our pond from the house is from the bathroom window.  I like to look out that window when I wake up and see what is going on.  I saw that male oriole land on a thin branch hanging from the maple tree in the back yard.  He left and came back to the same spot.  What the heck...all I saw was the leaves on the hanging branch.  Out I went to investigate.  I never noticed that brown balloon looking thing in the tree before.  I kept watching and trying to get a picture.  THAT is an Oriole nest.  How cool is that!! Guess I'll be seeing more babies soon.

By the way, we have another brood of Blue Birds ready to leave the nest soon.  I'm telling you, I LOVE that Mother Nature!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

I'm So Excited!!


Can you hear the music in those words?  Well, you know it doesn't take much!!

One of the things that I have always wanted to do is learn to quilt.  When Kathy Shaw posted that she is offering a Traditional Quilt Class I couldn't ask fast enough to be accepted to participate. After all, I HAVE collected a HUGE fabric stash with the thought in mind to spend my retirement stitching one thing or another.

I got off to a terrible start.  Sprained hand and arm that took 1-1/2 weeks to get the brace off.  Then I got "horned" by the catfish.  Family drama hit once again. Then losing Junior was more difficult than I thought it would be.

Remember I posted that as of June 1 I would sew every day?  Well, so far I have held to it.  Oh, I know it's only June 3, but they say that if you do something for 20 days it becomes a habit so that is what I am striving for.

So anyway, the class is all about piecing which means precision cutting and stitching. AND paying close attention to what you are doing and hopefully it all becomes second nature.

So far I learned that when they say to measure twice...they MEAN IT. I'm pretty sure this has already become second nature to me.  Oh, and try not to become distracted by the dog nudging your leg to attend to his needs.  That can lead to laying fabric in the wrong direction...face down instead of face UP!!

If you are a quilter, you are probably laughing snickering right now.  But I have to tell you that I have sewn tons of purses, dolls, and clothes.  Learning how to cut and  piece 2-1/2 inch squares and sew them together so the seams match is intimidating.  I'm pretty sure that I will opt for larger blocks when I do my first quilt.  But I am so proud of the way this mug rug turned out.  I can tell already I am going to be making quilts for a long time.  Watch me grow!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Welcome Back To The Crazy Train

If you know me, you know that I refer to my life as the Crazy Train.  For some reason, the holidays always turn the train loose and it rages out of control.  As an example, when my mother died she was buried on Memorial Day.  My father died on New Year's Day.  I have a whole lot more examples of many incidents and events that occurred in our family on a holiday.

Why should this weekend be any different?!?

We had the usual family drama but this is not about THAT.

Yesterday we went to the vet and Terry had an appointment to be fitted for new orthopedic shoes.  We stopped and brought sandwiches home for lunch.  I thought I would settle into a peaceful day.  I signed up for Kathy Shaw's On Line Traditional Quilting Class.  Time has blown by as I dealt with that dang arm sprain, tending to Junior, and other Crazy Train events.

I need to cut my quilt fabrics in 2-1/2 inch strips.  I can see now why quilters like Jelly Rolls.  No, it's not hard, but just sayin' it saves a step.  Anyway as I was sorting fabric to press I heard Corey yelling from his room "Bamma Come Help Me!!"  He was yelling REALLY loudly. When I got there, he had been adding water to a 150 gallon tank he has that houses a the Killer Fish.

As Corey was pouring a bucket of water into the tank, this stinking foot long catfish decided that he wanted to swim upstream in the water flowing from the bucket and landed on the floor. Now, I have to remind you that Corey is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu cage fighter who takes a hit to the head and kick to the groin in stride.  But if he sees a mouse or that stinking catfish on the floor he yells like a girl! lol.  Bamma...STUPID the rescue.  I grabbed a rag from the laundry room and went to pick up the fish with it.  That dang fish whipped around and jabbed me in my right had middle finger with his barb.  Or maybe his fin got me.  I don't know, but I am telling you that jab hurt more than any other pain I have ever experienced.  I think even more than childbirth or a toothache but those memories may have dulled with time.

While Terry and Corey were trying to get that stinking fish off the floor and into the tank, I was laying on the bathroom floor crying like a baby and squeezing the first knuckle of my middle finger as tight as I could.  Corey was so upset that I got hurt.  Trusty Google told him to put my wound in the hottest water I could stand for 30 minutes.  The pain should subside in 60 minutes.  60 FREAKING MINUTES!!!  I asked him to be sure it wasn't poisonous because I felt hot and cold and wanted to pass out.  No, not poisonous.  There I went again. On the couch for a healing nap.  This is getting old.

So much for cutting fabric.  Yet another setback. Today my finger is swelled from the first knuckle to the tip and kind of numb on the print side.  The very same knuckle that Terry smashed when he raised the window on it (power) 35 years ago.

Today is June 1.  I WILL complete this quilting class.  I will find time to stitch every single day.  EVERY day.  I will log on my daily planner when I do, because I am finding that by documenting things on my planner and using the daily pages as a journal really does work for me.