Thursday, August 28, 2014

Making Progress

Wow, less than two months between posts from me--shocking, I know!  It's been a great summer with lots of gorgeous days and cool nights.  We have wonderful memories from our trip to Germany and Vienna at the end of June although it took me quite a bit of July to get back into a routine.  I've been doing a little bit of quilting and little bit of stitching most days along with a lot of reading.  In my stitching life, I've been focusing on one project, Carriage House Samplings Alphabet, and here's my progress to date.
 I'm hoping for a finish in the next two weeks so I can show this off at my guild meeting. 


 
On the quilting front, I putting together these blocks for a lap-size quilt.  (They are laid out on my "design floor" as I call the ugly green carpet in my basement and are not outside on the grass!)
The blocks were all made last year and then got put aside for another project.  Toes in the Sand has about half the binding sewn on, and I'm planning to do the rest during the Univ. of Miami/Louisville game on Monday night (Go Canes!).  I also spent some time this week making proJaject bags.  My first one is slightly wonky, so it will be mine.  I learned from my mistakes and managed to make the fabric panel straighter on the second one which will be a gift for a friend.   Also managed not to sew the zipper on the wrong way on the second one and remembered to check to see that it was OK before I top-stitched.  The second one took me less than an hour and cost around $8-9.  Since my LNS sells similar ones for $25-30, I'm glad I took the plunge and learned how to do this.  Thanks again to Jackie for telling me about ZipIt, a good source for lower-priced zippers on Etsy.
 
 
Nothing too earth-shattering here and the kids are all fine.  Hope all of you are doing well, too.
 
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Finishes!

It seems I've been on a bit of a roll with finishes the past month or so, and have one finished quilt as well as two completed needlework pieces to show for my efforts.

Here's the front
 

and back of a baby quilt I sent up to my daughter to give to her boss and his wife who had a baby in June.  The top was done a few years ago and is a Schnibbles pattern made from a charm pack.  I originally made it for my nephew's baby.  When I got it done, I thought it looked more like a "boy" quilt and my nephew and his wife had a little girl.  So the top has been waiting in the wings and after an afternoon sandwiching the quilt and doing simple "stitch in the ditch" quilting, it went off to keep little Charlie warm.  The parents live on a farm so this was the perfect quilt.

Harvest Time by Laura J. Perin was an on-line class in counted canvas work.  A three-week class way back in November, 2012...  I don't know why it took me so long to finish this one as it was fun!  Loved doing the grapes in the center (which look more red that they really are in this photo) as well as the borders.  This will be framed and hung in my kitchen.

And last, I finally finished this small piece done over one.
This was a project done at a sampler guild meeting several years ago and meant to be finished as a pin.  I'm probably going to make it into a scissors fob.

Oh, and I finished the "Toes in the Sand" quilt top and have it back from the longarmer.  When the binding is sewn on, I'll post a picture.  I'm diligently stitching on Carriage House Samplers Alphabet and have finished up to 'P,' so hopefully, there will be one more finish this summer.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Finishes!

I've been silent on my blog for awhile, but good things have been happening during the past few months.

My daughter was seated among these graduates on May 10th in Washington, D.C.  We were so proud to see her walk across the stage and to celebrate a very successful college career.  The boys were with us for the weekend, too, so it was a special family time.  Although, as I told several of my friends, who knew that when I became a mother, I would also become a travel agent.  The boys were flying in from Baton Rouge and from Austin (where the older one had been for work the week before graduation).  I ended up helping them coordinate flight times to arrive in Philadelphia at approximately the same time, and then making sure we got one to the Philadelphia airport on time for the return to Baton Rouge and the other on a train back to New York.  It all worked out and my daughter came home from DC a few days later.  Just enough time to see a couple of friends and repack to move to western Massachusetts.  Which meant another weekend on the road for us, and a chance to explore a part of the country we had never been to.  We can't wait to go back to the Berkshires in the fall to see the foliage.

We were in Ocean City, Maryland the first weekend in June when I took the Edinburgh Etui class from Betsy Morgan.  I'll post more about that later, but I did come away with part of the project finished.  No pictures yet, as I'm not completely satisfied with my work and plan to redo part of it.  My husband enjoyed people-watching from the deck of our unit at the Lankford as well as having a friend come spend the day with him while I was in class. 

In the meantime, I finished one of my challenge pieces for the duClay EGA.  As you may recall, 99 Bottles is a piece that my husband selected for me to stitch and then requested progress updates just about daily.  He was thrilled to see it finished and we took it to the framers the very next day.
It actually was pretty fun to stitch and nice to have lots of small "finishes" as I completed each bottle.

As I write this, it's about 5:30am and I've been up since 2:00 due to jet lag.  We returned yesterday from a fabulous trip to eastern Germany, Prague and Vienna.   I missed stitching during the two weeks that we were away, so today I plan to nap and stitch!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Progress!


Although I've been absent from blogland for awhile, I've been plugging away at a few of my projects.  The picture above shows my progress on Harvest Time, a counted canvas piece by Laura J. Perin.  It was offered as a three week class (ha!) last year, but became a UFO and one of my pieces for the duClay EGA yearly challenge.  I'm skipping around on it a lot because I don't enjoy working with the metallic ribbon.  I do love the grapes as they are a padded stitch and that gives them a bit more texture 
 
I'm now at 73 bottles and  counting on Ink Circles 99 Bottles.  I didn't meet my self-imposed deadline of finishing by March, but the end is in sight.  This is another one of my EGA challenge pieces.  Last year I finished four out of ten pieces for the challenge and one of those was just under the wire.  So I feel I'm a bit farther ahead this year. 
 
Piecing continues on Toes in the Sand and I'm hoping for a finish in early May.  I've been filling a lot of my time with reading as I won several books in giveaways.  Some of my favorite authors have new books out and I have a small backlog of library books to read as well.  Currently, I'm enjoying the new Laura Lippman book, After I'm Gone.
 
We traveled quite a bit during March and I felt as if I was becoming a resident of Washington, DC as I was through there four times.  I went to the needlework exhibit at Woodlawn with a friend--she's always good company and the exhibit was good.  My husband and I went to Asheville, NC to watch my son run a marathon (2nd in his age group behind his college cross country teammate!) and tour the Biltmore estate.  Gorgeous house that is four acres--now there's a lot of space to hang needlework!  On the way back, we were routed through DC and then at the end of the same week, we went back to DC to visit our daughter.  I got lots of background stitching done on a couple of needlepoint pieces while riding in the car, but I'll wait to show them until the pieces are finished.
 
I'll be heading to Ocean City, Maryland on Thursday for my sampler guild's retreat.  I spent some time in the stash over the last month or so, pulling projects and culling a few that I'm no longer interested in.  I came up with twelve possible new starts for retreat.  Twelve!!  Do you think I have too much stash?  Is that even possible?  Three of the projects made the cut and will be in my retreat bag.  Hopefully, I'll have some progress to show you next week on at least one of them. 
 
And in a final bit of news, we have a den of foxes living under our gazebo.  There are five kits who provide us with hours of entertainment.  We consulted the people at a nature center who told us that the foxes would be gone by mid-summer.  We're thinking that once we are out on the deck more and the lawn mowers start that the mother will relocate them sooner.  So we're enjoying their antics while we can, and loving that the squirrels no longer bother our bird feeders. 
 
I hope you're also enjoying spring!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

California Dreamin'


Working on these blocks from Jaybird Quilts' Toes in the Sand is helping me move on from the winter doldrums.  Each block is named for a California beach, and I can only dream about what it would be like to be on one of them right now.  Since the pattern calls for making two of each block, this will be a large quilt.  It's intended to be a wedding gift, but more on that later!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Long Winter's Nap

As you can see, we've been up to our chairs in snow this winter.  This photo was taken after the great ice storm of  '14 when we lost power for 44 hours.  Fortunately, we have a gas fireplace that kept us toasty for the duration, but I discovered that I get quite cranky when I've been without coffee for 72 hours. Not much on an inconvenience, really, when we knew people who were without power for five days.

We've had snow on the ground since December which is quite unusual for us in the Philadelphia area.  As a result, my morale and motivation have taken quite a hit the last month.  I've hardly been at the sewing machine despite needing to keep going on the paper piecing class I'm taking.  I've been working away at those bottles of beer (stitching only--I hardly ever drink the stuff!!) and am up to 62 (of 99) completed.  I didn't make the deadline for the Smalls SAL in February.  In other words, very little to show for my time.  I did, however, watch all the episodes of House of Cards Season 2.

And I didn't even mention the technology h*ll that went on around here for a week or so.  All prompted by my husband wanting a keyboard for his iPad.  Great gadget, except that it wouldn't make the Bluetooth connection in our house.  I took it back to the store and the connection was made in seconds.  Then, I dropped my beloved classic Nook (or as the B&N saleswoman said, the one from 2009) and cracked the screen. I decided to get a Nook Glowlight since I already have a tablet and I really like the e-ink display.  But it was not love at first use with this new e-reader and less so when I couldn't get it to connect to the internet in the house.  Again, it connected in seconds when I used the free wi-fi at the library.  (Yeah, I know, ironic that I took my e-reader to the library to get it to work).  All of which forced me to come to grips with the fact that our wireless router is really outdated and inadequate.  I already knew that since I couldn't get my printer to function wirelessly.   And because when all the kids are home running their laptops and smartphones, somebody (usually me) is always getting kicked off the internet connection.   So another trip was made to the big box electronics store, a purchase was made and now all is right in our little wireless network.  Now, if I can just get my husband to stop asking me questions about how to use the new iPhone he got last week, I should have a lot more time to stitch.


Monday, February 3, 2014

What I Do For Love

Last March, my husband accompanied me to the needlework show at Woodlawn and was very patient while I closely inspected the entries.  Afterward, we went to a nearby needlework store where he spied a stitched model of Ink Circles "99 Bottles" on the wall.  While I would have glanced at it and wandered away, he was quite taken with the design.  As you can see, the chart came home with us.  I put a few stitches in and went back to other projects.  Soon, there were questions about when the bottles were going to be finished, and soon after that, pointed questions about how many bottles were done.  So I am currently stitching one bottle a day with the goal of being finished by the end of March.  This is actually turning out to be quite colorful and it's fun to have a little finish every day.

(And aren't you glad I didn't title this post, 99 Bottles, so you don't have that song stuck in your head?)